Scoring Wine, The Lost Method

Wine Wine Industry Wine Tasting

Have you ever felt lost trying to "score" wine? Ever get lost in all of those graphs and charts? Us Too! So we created something easy to remember and easy to use.

Here's how it works, just think I'm lost. LOST. That stands for Look, overall, smell, and taste. Each of these is scored on a scale of 0 to 5. (3 is average) you can do this in your head, with a plus sign on paper, or our fancy sheet you can download.

Let's do an example. I'm tasting a wine right now, feel free to go open one too, I'll wait...

I use two specific rules. If I think or say wow, that is worth a minimum of 4 points. If I wrinkle my nose, it is 2 points or lower.
I just opened a nice 2012 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon from Kenwood Vineyards.

LOST Scoring Method


I'll pour some into a glass. Now I'll LOOK at the wine. Does it look like I expect? Deep dark Red? Yes it does. As it is actually better looking than I expected I'm giving it a 4 out of 5 for the Look. Don’t know how it is supposed to look? That’s ok, everyone’s opinion is valid here. How does it look to you?

I skip the O for now and go to S for Smell.


I’m swirling now. I want to release all of the great aromas this wine has to give. Now with my nose all the way in the glass I breathe in all the goodness I can. It wasn’t wow, but I didn’t nose wrinkle, makes it a 3, or average in my book.


They don’t call it wine sniffing now do they? I won’t tell you how to taste here, but I’m a little noisy. Slurping air and wine together helps expose the flavors. I also taste at least twice, normally three times before I decide. Nice, very nice, but not a wow, again, a 3.


Sometimes the sum is more than the parts. I have had wines that I just adore. The numbers didn’t always show it, but for whatever reason everything worked together. Maybe a great smelling wine, made up for an average taste and made the wine better than average. In this case, I’m calling this wine overall a 3, or again, average.


Basic math required although with the LOST system I already know what I think, this wine is a very good average wine. But to show our work, 4 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 13 out of 20 possible. So you can see how easy it is to use the LOST system really knowing nothing about wine.


Would you like to look for a value with a number? There are several systems that have you take the score and divide it by the price to come up with a number. I like to do that too, but the other way around. In this case, our wine price, divided by the score. This Kenwood Cab was $15. Divided by 13 gives us 1.15. (I round to 2 decimal places) Had this been a $30 dollar bottle, the value score would have been 2.3, and if we scored at Trader Joes or Bevmo on a .5c sale and the bottle cost $8 dollars, .61.

When you are at a winery and they offer you a discount on what you just tasted, is it a deal? Better stated, is it a deal for you and what you like to drink? If you score your go-to wine at home a 15, and it costs $20 dollars a box, I mean bottle, then the value score is 1.33. If you are tasting a bottle at a winery that you scored a 15 and it is $25 dollars a bottle, you know you can get a wine you like as much for less money. If you want the wine for whatever reason, great buy it, but now you can make sure you don’t buy something you don’t like that well, for more than you want to.


Steve spends his days living in the software world of Silicon Valley, dreaming of a day when he can live as a wino hobo riding a wine train.