Our Buying Guide and
Blind Tasting Process

Photo by Tom Arena

All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5–8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide context—vintage, variety or appellation—but never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

About the Scores

Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular product. Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying tasting note to learn about a product’s special characteristics.

Classic The pinnacle of quality
Superb A great achievement
Excellent Highly recommended
Very Good Often good value; well recommended
Good Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value
Acceptable Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances

Products deemed unacceptable (receiving a rating below 80 points) are not reviewed.

Special Designations

Best Buy—products that offer a high level of quality in relation to price. Wines meriting this award are generally priced at $20 or less, and are designated Best Buys after surpassing a specific quality-to-price ratio benchmark.

Hidden Gem—This qualifier signifies a bottle that’s a fun, esoteric pour. They’re not your typical regional finds, but they should not be missed. Wines priced above $20 with a score of 87 points or higher are eligible.

Editors’ Choice—products that offer excellent quality at a price above our Best Buy range, or a product at any price with unique qualities that merit special attention.

Cellar Selections—products deemed highly collectible and/or requiring time in a temperature-controlled wine cellar to reach their maximum potential. A Cellar Selection designation does not mean that a product must be stored to be enjoyed, but that cellaring will probably result in a more enjoyable bottle. In general, an optimum time for cellaring will be indicated.

Tasting the World

We taste more than 25,000 wines annually from across the globe, covering classic regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Piedmont, Napa and Sonoma. We also understand that the wine world is vast—and that every region is worthy of discovery. To that end, we leave no stone unturned in our pursuit to provide readers with reviews on wines from lesser-known or undersung regions of the world.

Regions our Tasters Cover

United States

Other North America

South America: Jesica Vargas



Australia/New Zealand



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