A wine buyer is faced with a multitude of often diverging expert reviews and ratings of one and the same wine. In this article we attempt to shed light on the question to whose rating a regular buyer should pay attention. We do so by comparing the taste of regular consumers, captured by community tasting notes to the expert ratings of Robert Parker, the Wine Spectator and Stephen Tanzer. We find that for a randomly selected sample of 120 2005 Bordeaux wines Stephen Tanzer’s scores are most closely associated with the community ratings; and more interestingly, compared to expert ratings, average price paid for a bottle of wine is more highly correlated with median community score. The latter finding possibly confirms the “acquired taste” of experts, but may also be explained by cognitive dissonance.
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