Most people have heard of the wine reviewers of Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, etc., etc., etc. The job of the wine reviewer is to obtain samples of wines from each region in the world. And determine how each of those wine rates on a 100 point scale. Obviously, a thorough knowledge of each wine produced is required, as is knowledge of what the characteristics of a perfect 100 point sample of that specific wine would have to possess. It's one of those jobs that sounds a lot easier than I think it really is.
We've been asked many times about the process for getting wine ratings. Easy right? You send in sample bottles, they taste and review, and the scores are published. Theoretically, it should be that easy. But in reality, it's a little different. Reviewers like to taste wines before they are released. The question is, are the wines showing their best at that time? Generally, they aren't. So, we submit wines after they've been released, while making sure that we are submitting the same vintage that they are reviewing (for example: we wouldn't wnat to ship an '11 vintage if they are reviewing '12s).
The samples are sent. The rest should follow accordingly. Not necessarily. There are vintages that the reviewers choose not to score. And others that they choose to score. Within vintages, there are wines they choose to score and other wines they choose not to.
To sum it all up: you take what you get and hope for the best.
The important thing to keep in mind when looking at wine scores. They don't tell the whole story. They don't remind you of the experience you had while drinking the wine, or the people you were with, or the views you were enjoying, or the special memories you were making. A number is just a number. There's more to wine than that.
But great scores always help.