How I Rate Wine

Update: Since late November of 2011, I've made an effort to move away from grading wines on a scale. The more I've thought about my relationship with wine, the less I feel that a letter grade is a worthwhile "label". While my blog has always included more than just a sentence or two about the wines reviewed, I'm now making a conscious effort to be more clear about my like or dislike for the wines I feature here. As such, you'll note that I do still recommend a wine, or not, but I rarely use a grading scale. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
I like to use a simple A/B/C/D/F scale, like we all got graded on in school. An A is obviously an exceptional wine, something I give my highest recommendation. A rating of B is very good, well made, is varietally honest and is something I may buy again. When a wine gets a C, it's an average wine without discernible flaws but also one that didn't excite me very much, yet I didn't mind drinking it. If you see a D rated wine, it's something I didn't like because it may have been varietally dishonest, lacked structure or definition, something like that. F rated wines are flawed and I do my best to identify the flaw. Also I will always try to retaste a wine rated with an F.

To fit my ratings to a numerical scale like the commonly used 100 point system, please use the chart below as a guide:
A+ = 98-100
A = 94-97
A- = 90-93
B+ = 87-89
B = 84-86
B- = 80-83
C+ = 76-79
C = 73-75
C- = 70-74
D+ = 67-69
D = 64-66
D- = 60-63

The pluses and minuses indicate how strongly I'm leaning towards that particular letter grade. For example, a B+ wine is one that is maybe right on the cusp of being truly exceptional but my lack one small element that would push it over the edge. Similarly, a C- wine is decent, average but barely so, it could very well be missing something but it didn't make enough of an impact to merit a D.