How to earn a “Classic” score from the Wine Spectator

Residual Sugar
Residual Sugar
Pictured on the right are four acuvin test strips for residual sugar.  

The top strip is Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2010, a wine of some repute. (15.5 by Jancis Robinson)  This particular version is low on Syrah, only 20%, which probably accounts for the slightly lowish score.  Robinson gave the ’11 a 16.

Ogier Heritages [corrected after comment see below], an inexpensive wine from a competent producer is next. 

Perrin Reserve another inexpensive and reliable Rhone is third. 

St. Hallet Gamekeeper’s is the bottom.

The color indicates the residual sugar levels.  Coudoulet had under 200 mg/L. Ogier maybe 600 to 700 mg/L.  Perrin Reserve about 500.  St. Hallet had between 1000 and 2000 mg. Three guesses which one scored a 91 from the ever so wise and sensitive palate of the International Wine Challenge Oct. 2013 [Corrected. See Below] …

If you want to be promoted by the WS better pick around 26 Brix and make sure your “dry red table wine” has as close as possible to half a teaspoon per bottle of sugar in it.  That way the typicity, terroir and finesse of the wine will be noticed by the blind tasting panel of the Spectator.


  1. I’d like to point out a few things about this post:

    St. Hallett Gamekeeper’s Reserve has never scored 91 points from Wine Spectator in any vintage.
    The Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2010 scored 90 points from Wine Spectator
    To my knowledge, Ogier does not make a wine called “Heritage”.
    To earn a “classic” score from Wine Spectator requires 95 points.

    I would say you should do better research before you make an argument about Wine Spectator’s tastings.

    Thomas Matthews
    Executive editor
    Wine Spectator

  2. The original posting of this article attributed a score to the Wine Spectator which was should have been attributed to the International Wine Challenge. Corrected version posted above.

    Also as Mr. Matthews notes Ogier Heritages [Note ‘S’ at end] was misspelt originally.

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