What do scores mean? For me, little more than an indication of how much I liked the wine. A sort of shorthand. I know what my scores mean to me, and I hope readers quickly get the hang of them.
They are clearly absurd, though. For example, most are within the band of 85 to 95, and there's a tight clustering around 90. In part this reflects that I'm drinking relatively consistent wine. But for me, there's quite a big difference between a wine that gets 88 and one that gets 92. It might be more sensible to give the former 55 and the latter 79 (in the UK a first-class degree is awarded to someone with an average score of 70 or above), but Robert Parker, who popularized the 100 point scale, clusters his marks at the high end, and so do I because fine wine lovers are familiar with this system.
I mention scores, because tonight I'm tempted to deviate from them. Sometimes a binary system of like/don't like is more appropriate, and tonight - a hot night after a hot game of football followed by chasing some deadlines - is one of those nights.
Tonight's post-football wine is Portuguese. Fitting, really, after the weekend I had. And it's a very good one. It goes firmly into the 'like' category, and at just 8 Euros from a shop at Porto airport last night (shock: journalist actually buys wine rather than blagging and sponging - hold the front page), it must be one of Portugal's great wine values.
Quinta de Cabriz Reserva 2003 Dao
From the impressive Dao Sul operation, an inexpensive Dao red that really delivers. Served a little warm (inevitable on a night where the temperature, just after midnight, is 26 centigrade), it is open, ripe and supple, with mouth-filling sweet red and black fruits backed up by a subtly tarry, minerally sappiness. It tastes like a traditional Dao that has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, with its greenness tamed, its fruit boosted, but all the while it retains some regional character. A hippy wearing a nicely-fitting suit. Thoroughly drinkable. Very good+ 88/100