La Tulipe Rouge rating system

 If you are a regular reader of La Tulipe Rouge, you already know that, in addition to the absence of conflicts of interest (we do not sell advertising, medals or trade fairs to winegrowers), and in addition to the fact that the information is free-to-access, we attach a great deal of importance to the tasting comment, which we feel is more relevant than a numerical score that ends up making two wines that are a priori different identical!

This being said, the note is to wine what the passport is to the tourist: an indispensable document to leave the territory and travel around the world. It is also a means for quick comparison and a formidably effective commercial tool.

La Tulipe Rouge was created to help the wine industry, that is, those who make it and those who buy it. Without denying what makes us unique in the world of wine media, we have decided to introduce a 100-point wine-scoring scale but in our own way. Here are some explanations.

Une note sur 100 pas comme les autres

The scientific illusion

Let's start with a question: what happens when two wines are not in the same category? According to this wine-scoring scale, an excellent Côtes-du-Rhône remains a Côtes-du-Rhône compared to a Grand Cru of Burgundy: these two wines are judged, wrongly, on the same scale of values, the 100-point wine-scoring scale (or the 20-point one according to the obedience) whereas their consumption objectives are totally different, not to say opposed.

It is true that the note has a synthetic character that is very useful for those who do not have the time or the will to go further... We agree and this is a problem, because under the cover of an apparent precision (sometimes to the nearest comma) the note crushes all the nuances that could exist between two tastings of the same wine. The variations between the bottles, the order of tasting, the mood of the wine critic and many other situational factors finish by demonstrating that the figure’s rigor is nothing but an appearance and that it sanctions the winemaker with a crumbly judgement, which is however fixed forever. Some, concerned about the accuracy of their rating, taste the same wine several times, but the average of approximate results does not make an accurate result.

As for the universal criterion that would allow anyone on the planet to know the "level" (note the quotation marks) of a wine, nothing is more inaccurate! However, this is what consumers do when they look for wines by their rating, regardless of the media they consult. When looking at a California Cabernet and a Beaujolais, both rated 90/100 by different media, the consumer may forget that the criteria that led to these results are sometimes very different depending on the critic considered. To put it simply: not all 90/100 wines are of the same quality... Like all critics. But that's for you and the winemaker to judge. Not easy when you don't come from the journalistic world...

Quest and reality

Tasting is plural, it is based, whether we like it or not, on subjective criteria and different sensitivities that cannot be merged into a universalism materialized by a metric system, whether it is out of 20 or 100.  So, how can we do it? You can't please everyone. One must choose one's side. For Charles Baudelaire in his "Salon of 1846", criticism must, "to be fair", be "partial, passionate, political, that is to say, made from an exclusive point of view, but a point of view that opens the most horizons." La Tulipe Rouge has chosen to defend the successful wine because it is the one that seems to us transversal to all generations of wine lovers. As for the objectivity of our judgement, we concede it to a group subjectivity. No star or guru, but a group of tasters, working together, trained, competent and driven by the same passion for wine.

This is our quest, so to speak, for an ideal critic who unfortunately has to face the demands of the outside world, the one in which bottles are sold and consumed, the one in which standards, such as the 100-point wine-scoring scale, have taken over in order to make commerce more efficient. We selfishly regret this, but we must recognize this principle of reality, which is favored by the buyer and the producer.

The 100-point wine-scoring scale by La Tulipe Rouge

85-87 (12.5-13.5): Good wine representative of the generic style of the region 
88-89 (14-14.5): Good wine, consistent, representative of its region 
90-91 (15-15.5): Above-average wine for the region 
92-93 (16-16.5): Significant wine with distinctive origin and/or style 
94-95 (17-17.5): Significant wine with harmonious styling 
96-97 (18-18.5): Profound and refined wine, in style and origin. 
98-99 (19-19.5): A form of evident perfection in style and construction 
100 (20): Not necessarily the wine that appeared greatest to us, but the only great one!

By adopting this rating system, La Tulipe Rouge does not accept its shortcomings and weaknesses. This is why each note out of 100 is associated with:

A detailed comments to personalize the note

We are one of the few international guides to write detailed comments on ALL the wines selected (those not selected are commented on solely for the producer's attention): the reader can therefore get a precise idea of the selected wine.

A pictogram to contextualize the note

We have created three pictograms to specify the style of the wines selected after a blind tasting. Let's say quickly:

  • "Tchin" or “cheers” for easy-to-drink wines for everyone;
  • “Encore" or “One more” for more original and/or substantial wines;
  • "Tulip" for singular wines, with exceptional characteristics.

Here they are:

Logos Tchin, Encore, Tulipe
     TCHIN               ENCORE               TULIPE

With the help of one of these pictograms, the 100-point wine-scoring scale takes on a relative value that enhances the wines in their category. The maximum score that applies, without tasting the wine, to certain appellations or regions disappears! The winegrower sees his wines recognized for what they are and not for what they are not! Finally, the buyer can choose a wine according to his consumption criteria, which an appellation, a name or a grape variety cannot guarantee.

With this three-tiered reading, the 100-point scale, the pictogram and the commentary, it is easy to find what you are looking for, whether you are a simple consumer, an informed wine lover, a producer or a professional buyer. Here is the 100-point scale according to La Tulipe Rouge, a rating that is always imperfect, but certainly more fair and accurate.


La Tulipe Rouge