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Suddenly, the 100-point scale looms before him, terrible and absolute. What is he to do? If he diminishes his rating on a mondo Cabernet that once received 96 points, people will wonder: what went wrong with it this year? If he raises his rating on a Pinot that used to seem delicate to the point of timidity, people will wonder: how have they changed for the better? Because, clearly, it's the wines that have changed, not the critic. The critic is objective. The critic is an absolute. It's just that the Pinot is better now, and the Cab is flawed. Right?

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