The other day, I came across a press release about a fancy-schmancy local restaurant's plans to throw a fancy-schmancy dinner featuring a bunch of fancy-schmancy wines. While the info didn't supply an appropriate context for “schmancy” (a very important term of art in the wine industry), it gave the idea that the fare was top-of-the-line stuff—no wine, it read, was rated below 90 points.
I (and possibly you) have heard many times that 90 is, like, this benchmark between wine excellence and mediocrity, so I decided to launch a fact-finding mission about that particular figure and why the wine critics (and possibly you) find it so intriguing. Turns out there's no magic to it—you simply assign every wine a base of 50 by default and build on that number based on appearance (5 to 10 points), bouquet (15 to 20 points) and a few other vital criteria. In fact, many connoisseurs have started to up the magic number to 100—such is the size of the quality stockpile these days.
The upshot is that you really oughta try the 2005 Petite Sirah from the 39 Degrees winery out of Lake County, Calif. It's as fruity and as pure as they come, and it's a monster accompaniment to grape leaves, cheeses and lighter meats, like lamb. It'll lighten your load by $14.99, as will the many other 90-plus entries on sale for less than $20 at Bev-Mo. With this one, 90 is more than just a number.