The Food and Wine Ombudsman (FWO) together with his trusty and dedicated team of investigators will search out and report on the best of the WA food scene – Perth Cafe Culture will highlight food, restaurants and cafes, wine and wineries across the State and, when the opportunity arises, from the far away reaches of those Eastern States.

Brought up in Margaret River – but sadly leaving home for university just as the fledgling wine industry was taking its first faltering but successful steps the Ombudsman made it his life’s work to regularly return home and sustain the industry through his consumption of the marvellous product that began to flow from the region.

A particular affection for the wines of Moss Wood developed from this decision and the cabernet sauvignon from Moss Wood remains, in his view, the epitome of the King of Grapes. Of course others follow closely behind, not least of which is the wonderful Woodlands, a near neighbour of Moss Wood in Willyabrup.

In between investigating complaints against people and organizations, the FWO can be found enjoying the wining and culinary delights of our City and State, and reporting back on places to visit, wines to try, food to enjoy and lots of other things beside.

Wine rating system

The wines are rated using a 100 point scale – pioneered by US wine critic, Robert Parker, and used by such luminaries as WA’s most noted wine writer, Ray Jordan, and by others such as national wine critic, James Halliday.

In essence, 96-100 means the wine is exceptional, with all the characteristics that is expected of a classic wine of the particular variety; 90-95 are outstanding wines with great complexity and character; 85-89 are very, very good wines with no noticeable flaws and represent great value; 80-84 above average wines and of good quality; 70-79 are average wines of little distinction, other than being well made, but would be generally pleasant quaffing wines. Below 70 points, wines would have some obvious flaw, be unbalanced and be of little interest to a serious wine drinker. It should also be noted that there is significant difference within the range – for example between a wine rated 95 and one rated 90; of one rated 70 and one rated 79.

Twenty point scale

This chart was designed by Wine State magazine a few years ago and has been useful in converting 20 point rating scales to the 100 point scale I have adopted in line with international and national trends.

Conversion Chart

20 point system 100 point system Wine show Comment
18.5-20 93-100 Gold Outstanding
18-18.4 90-92 High silver Excellent
17-17.9 85-89 Silver Very good
16.5-16.9 83-84 High bronze Good/very good
15.5-16.4 80-82 Bronze Good

How the wines are selected

Firstly, all wines reviewed have been purchased – usually from the vineyard – except when we have attended a wine show (for example, Raising Riesling) where we have paid an entry fee to taste a selection of wines.

In the case of the purchased wines, we will usually go to the winery and taste those available for tasting to the public – then purchase ones we want to look at further, or any that are not for day to day tasting that appear to be worth a look.

When reviewing the wines, I will usually do it one vineyard at a time – looking at their range – and write about those wines. I may sometimes look at the same variety but from different wineries to see the influence of different regions.

Almost all of the wines I intend to review will be from Western Australian wineries – but on occasion I may review some from other regions, and perhaps international wines where appropriate. In the latter two cases this may be where, for example, we have bought them at a restaurant.

Ratings on Zomato

As well as placing our reviews on our own dedicated website, Perth Café Culture, we upload to Zomato (the successor to Urban Spoon). Our reviews are listed under their “Blogger” sub heading and we are currently ranked as the Number One Food Blogger in Perth.

When we put the reviews on Zomato we are required to give a numeric rating – out of 5. There are no particular guidelines as to what each rating means –but we try for some internal consistency in our ratings so that anyone reading them would have a good idea of exactly what we think about the places we visit and review.

Thus, our ratings are summarised below, for those who are interested:

5.0 – Exceptional food; brilliant wine selection; great ambience; outstanding service; at the top of the tree; faultless.

4.5 – Outstanding; in the top echelon of restaurants; food of the highest quality; absolutely recommended.

4.0 – Excellent; innovative and interesting menu; top drinks selection; great service and atmosphere.

3.5 – Very good food, well cooked and presented; very good service and wines. Good ambience.

3.0 – Solid food; good drinks selection, if licensed; professional and knowledgeable waiters. Good value. The average restaurant.

2.5 – Satisfactory food; simple, pretty well cooked, good value. Few faults.

2.0 – Basically average food; some faults; room for improvement.

1.5  and below – Many faults, below expectations; not recommended.