Points are a useless guide to lesser wines

Lively, enjoyable, and affordable Burgundies: Is this too good to be true? Not really, as the right focus can ensure you many delightful Burgundy moments without breaking the bank.

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It is, however, important to note that many of these wines may be found in the sub-88-point bracket, hence rendering the traditional points system more or less useless for identifying these standouts.

Would you buy a 78-point Burgundy?

Presumably not, as most consumers look at ratings focused in the upper part of the points scale rather than at the essential likability and joy of the wine.

Lesser wines (and by that I mean lower-level appellations) can be made either to impress or to delight. Delight comes from a light hand vis-a-vis oak, SO2, and extraction. They are conceived to reveal the joy and lively pleasure we look for.

Too many wines from lesser terroirs or lesser appellations (Bourgogne rouge, for example) are vinified into intense, powerful wines with little to no energy and liveliness – a big mistake if you ask me.

We need and want vivid wines, as well as the tools with which to find them.

The top end is in place

The points scale can (or should) create some kind of meaning and consistency when examining the range from 88 to 100 points. A 93-point rating has a nice, familiar ring to it.

The resonance of 83 points is, however, not very clear!!!

Recommending the lesser wines – pointless?

There are many enjoyable wines I want to recommend – wines that are below 88 points, sometimes well below.

Let’s face it: People don’t chase wines below 88 points. The meaning or clarity of lower ratings becomes relatively opaque, to say the least, as we move down the points ladder. Not many consumers have a clear idea how an 83-pointer should taste relative to an 80-point wine.

Do you believe that a 83-point wine could be drinkable?

Only a few care, to be honest, in a world where a wine apparently should be above 90 points to impress the public.

Vins d’émotion – wines that offer joy, hedonistic thrills, and pleasure

In recommending lesser Burgundies, therefore, we need to be more specific: What do we like – or not? While most of these wines are not flawless, they could still have a lot of charm and joyousness.

The principle of vins d’émotion is that they bring you extraordinary joy and hedonistic thrills.  A wine can be great, and at the same time not a vin d’émotion.

All wines that evoke these emotional responses deserve a recommendation, and I have created three levels of emotional recommendation, from the true – and rare – vin d’émotion to wines with some emotional potential.

And to go a bit further, I have instituted an additional recommendation – or rating if you like – that suits the informal, yet lively and energetic everyday wine that creates joy and simple pleasure. Vin de soif if you like!

A true vin d’émotion – a Burgundy of passion


A truly hedonistic wine – lively and enjoyable


A vivacious wine for pure indulgance


A wine that creates joy and a smile … perhaps even a big smile

😁, 😁😁 or 😁😁😁

The new category is clearly lighter on the emotional side – a more relaxed and informal feeling, a casual fling. Yet it does show an overall positive feeling from the wine.

The extra category is also for the everyday Burgundies that offer joy and energy. And by everyday, I mean wines below 40 € or even 20 € – informal wines in the best sense. True vin de soif!

See the full rating system

Read the original Vin d’émotion article here.

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