Now that I've dazzled you with my knowledge of mathematics, I can get down to business.
Actually, I had a great fondness for numbers and math while going through school. There was even a time when I thought maybe I'd become an accountant or something. Now, no offense to you accountants out there, but I'm glad I didn't.
What I did like about math was the logic and certainty of it. Certain things were always the same, i.e. 2+2=4. Of course when things started getting a little less specific and more theoretical, I still was intrigued. I also started thinking about how people and groups use number to try and explain things or tell us how long we're going to live if we eat this or stay away from that. All based on studies that use "The Law of Large Numbers." Do something enough times and you should be able to identify or forecast things better based on historical values
Now I'm all for some of these, but it hit home recently as I was reading my favorite publications, Wine Spectator magazine. They published their annual "The Year in Wine: 2016 in Perspective." It was a breakdown of a number of issues; how many wines were rated, percentages of wines rated within various score ranges and average prices.
Like I said, I like numbers, and this report has plenty of them. Drawn first to California Cabernet, they rated 694 wines, of those, about 47% were rated 90 points or higher. It was only about 2% for wines rated 95 to 100! Talk about exclusivity. What was even more interesting to me was that to get those 90 points or more the AVERAGE price paid for those wines came out to be a whopping $155!!
Okay, here is why this is a bunch of interesting but pretty much useless information for me. I've purchased a lot of wine in my day. I can tell you that to get that upper 2%, yeah, it's going to take a better part, if not even North, of a hundred dollar bill to pick up one of those wines. Now, since we don't know the actual prices of each wine scored, it's really difficult to make any firm determinations as to where is the best bang for your buck. The only place you get that from is with the individual ratings, or better yet, tasting of the wines.
It's even a little interesting to note that to compare all wines from say California scoring over 90 points, the average price was $84. Compare that with say Italy, where that same average was $73. You think Chilean wine are a steal? Right at $73 as well. Maybe they just rate more expensive wines?? No, I just think that the great wines are so much more expensive it throws the numbers askew. An interesting factoid. Their average price for all wines rated 90 points and above was $77. As a source of reference, I took a look at my cellar. Every wine I own has been rated 90 points or above somewhere. At cost, my average bottle price is right around $65. Hey, maybe they are on to something Use enough wines (numbers) the thing works. Too few and it's much harder to discern.
One number I did get a kick out of was for Champagne. For the 90 pointers and above, $103. BUT, a whopping 87% of the wines were rated in that 90 to 100 point category. See I told you you should drink more Champagne!
Now to be fair to Wine Spectator, there are ways to use these numbers that might give you information, albeit information most of use have already found out. Like if the average price of a wine rises or falls, it could be telling us wines have gotten more expensive or cheaper. Okay, most of us already know wine rarely gets cheaper. Or if the wines that year were of better quality (more wines at higher scores).
Now, I'm all for information, and I love to go through surveys like this one, basically so I can breakdown the information to see if it's of any value. This one I'll just put in the "very interesting" column for now. Maybe I'll put this in my "To Do" box to compare next year to see if I feel any different. Otherwise I'm sticking with the E=mc2