A guide to JancisRobinson.com – part 3, searching for tasting notes

Guide to JR.com - Getty Image cork question

Our third guide to getting the most out of JancisRobinson.com. See Part 1 for an overview and Part 2 for how to search for articles; this part is focused on navigating our 227K tasting notes.

JancisRobinson.com has a database of more than 227,000 tasting notes carefully taken by our stable of seasoned, trusted writers, and it grows larger every day. What you see on a daily basis in our articles is only a tiny sliver of what we taste. If theres a wine youre curious about, chances are good that weve tasted it. So heres a guide on how to navigate the tasting-note database.

Looking for particular wine reviews

General tips

If you’re in a hurry, you can find tasting notes using the magnifying glass at the top right of the main menu bar, but the best place to start is on the Tasting notes search page.

The landing page of the Tasting notes search page shows the most recently added notes at the top.

The quickest way to search is via the free-text keyword field in the left sidebar, labelled Any word, names. It is not caps sensitive, and you do not need to include accents or hyphens. It also interprets ‘ch’ and ‘château’ as the same thing, and ‘dom’ and ‘domaine’ as the same thing.

free-text TN search

However, there are things to be aware of:

  • It’s not Google search. If you misspell a word, our search algorithm is not sophisticated enough to correct it or suggest a different version, so you may not get the results you are looking for. Check your spellings.
  • Be prepared to use alternative spellings for transliterated words or words which are spelled in different ways depending on the language used.
    Example: the Greek grape variety Mavrodaphne can also be spelled Mavrodaphni or Mavrodafni. We use Mavrodaphne, so searching for Mavrodaphni or Mavrodafni will return zero results.
  • We may have stored the name in the database in a different way to the way you are expecting. For example, Terra Costantino’s wine DeAetna is sometimes spelt De Aetna. A search for ‘de aetna’ returns zero results; a search for ‘deaetna’ returns more than a dozen results. So, if you don’t get any results, try searching in a slightly different way.
  • The more generic the search term, the more results you will get.
    Example 1: if you type in ‘bordeaux’, you will get nearly 30,000 results for all the wines from Bordeaux. If you search for ‘haut medoc’, the results come down to a more manageable 2,000.
    Example 2: if you search for ‘Santa Lucia’, the results will include producers whose names include Santa Lucia, wines with cuvée names that include Santa Lucia and wines from Santa Lucia Highlands. You can narrow the results, either by adding more search terms (eg ‘Santa Lucia Highlands’ or ‘Santa Lucia Italy’ or ‘Santa Lucia Tannat’) or by using the search filter options in the left sidebar.

The most effective way to search is by using the search filters in the left sidebar. This gives you the option of being granular with your search, narrowing it down to specific country, region, appellation (or the country equivalent), colour, vintage, variety, classification (eg premier cru, grand cru, VORS, Riserva) or cuvée (brand) name. You can also search by taster (author), suggested drinking dates, minimum score and when the wine was tasted.

The first field below the keyword field is labelled Search wine descriptions as well as wine names. If you tick this box, you can find tasting notes that might have certain characteristics you are looking for, eg minerality, or GV (good value), or VGV (very good value), or floral.

search descriptions as well as names

Four fields down the sidebar is a box labelled Standalone. Many of our tasting notes are included in Tasting articles. You can read these wine reviews within the articles and you can also find them using the Tasting notes search. However, the JancisRobinson.com team is tasting wine all the time, and many of the tasting notes do not make it into articles – instead we just publish them straight into the tasting-note database. We call these ‘standalones’. Sometimes there are real gems to be found there, so we’ve given you the option to go looking specifically for them.

standalone search

Most of the fields offer the option to select and filter on more than one thing.

  • Example 1: you can choose to narrow your ‘bordeaux’ results to tasting notes from Jancis and Julia (select from the All authors dropdown menu).
  • Example 2: you can choose to narrow your search for Albariño to wines from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia (select from the All countries dropdown menu).
  • Example 3: you can narrow down a search for Pauillac wine to vintages 2005, 2010 and 2015 (select from the All vintages dropdown menu).
multiple search filters

The Classification field is strictly for terms regulated by law, such as grand cru and premier cru as used in Burgundy; Reserva as used in Spain and Portugal; or terms defining residual sugar levels such as demi-sec, moelleux and vendanges tardives. Note, however, that this will not return wines that use these terms in places where they are not official, regulated terms, such as Australia, the US or South Africa.

The All cuvées filter is for the wine name (ie not the producer name). This might be the name of a burgundy premier cru vineyard, a brand belonging to a big company, or a special name of a particular bottling such as Monte Bello (ie a cuvée from Ridge Vineyards).

You can reorder and sort the results by clicking on the little arrows by the side of each heading:

reorder using arrows

You may have noticed the button labelled, How we score. If you’re new to JancisRobinson.com and/or more used to the 100-point system, this is a very useful read, but it might also serve as a valuable reminder for loyal Purple Pages because:

  • it includes a link to Steve de Long’s score chart comparing the different scoring systems of the major wine publications and how they relate to each other
  • it explains the initials at the end of the tasting notes
  • it explains the mysterious abbreviations we sometimes use.
how we score

How to find wines from producers which have the same name as an appellation, region or another producer

If you want to find, for example, Ch Margaux tasting notes, putting ‘Ch Margaux’ in the free-text keyword search field will not be useful, as the results will include hundreds of reviews for other wines from the Margaux appellation. This is where using the search filters in the left sidebar is essential.

Look for a field in the sidebar called All producers. Type ‘ch margaux’ in that field and hit enter.

ch margaux search

You may then filter the results further by colour, vintage, author, score etc.

If, for example, you’re looking for wines from Ridge in Santa Cruz, you’ll need search for ‘Ridge’ in the All producers field, and then filter by county (US) because Danbury Ridge, a producer in England, will also appear in the results.

How to dig deeper into a tasting note

When you click on a wine review in the table of search results it will expand so you can read it. Beneath the tasting note there is a yellow button labelled View more detail (see below). 

view more detail

Clicking on that takes you into a downloadable and printable view of the review, links to share the review on social media, and more details on the wine including region, country, alcohol percentage, the date the tasting note was published (which may be different from the date it was tasted) and, importantly, prices and stockists. We may not know the prices and stockists at the time of publishing the review, but there is a link to Wine-Searcher.com which pulls in (some) of the prices and stockists of the wine from around the world. Just scroll down and click on See prices and stockists.

full-text view of Ironclad TN

This view will also tell you if the wine is a part of an article (and links to that article). In addition, it gives you the top three wines from the producer and the average score of all the producer’s tasting notes on JancisRobinson.com.

Image credit: Larry Washburn/fStop via Getty Images.