Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

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John Morris
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Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#1 Post by John Morris » June 30th, 2020, 3:05 pm

I'm surprised no one has posted on the long piece Decanter posted yesterday by Andrew Jefford -- part interview, part profile -- on Parker. The magazine is inducting him into its hall of fame (a little late, I'd say).

There is little new to those who have followed Parker's career, but it's still worth a read. It's interesting that Jefford leads with a rather long litany of the sins of which Parker has been accused. That's a big odd given that he's being commended for his contributions to wine.

It was also interesting to read Parker saying that he sees now that he didn't appreciate some aspects of Burgundy (which Burgundy lovers could have told you):
His only regret, he says, concerns Burgundy. ‘I’ve never been that much in love with Pinot Noir, even though that sounds like heresy to many wine lovers. I do think, if there was one category I never really could fully grasp or comprehend, in terms of evaluating, it had to be Burgundy. I’ve thought a lot about that. I certainly have Burgundies in my cellar that I pull out. I’ve tended to buy the riper vintages, such as 1985, 1989, and 1990, and I’m pleased with how the wines have evolved, but it’s often the lighter vintages in Burgundy that actually have a staying power and longevity that I could never fully grasp or appreciate when I was tasting them young.
Pretty funny that the co-founder of pinot-producer Beaux Freres isn't that keen on the grape!

His spine, hip and knee ailments sound very painful, and he confirms that those were what forced him to retire.

Anyway, definitely something that WBers may be interested in.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#2 Post by Tomás Costa » June 30th, 2020, 5:18 pm

I doubt Parker, as a wine lover, is as limited as many make him out to be. He has his tendencies, as we all do, but he has tasted far and wide (some say too much, actually).

He's also now part of a paradigm we've overcome, and people who are yesterday's news are rarely kind to the new kids on the block. I think that's especially obvious in the arts. I once met the violinist Pinchas Zukerman, who has been a very vocal opponent of so called historical informed performance (perfomance of music from older periods with the exact instruments of the time, and an attempt to understand the performance paradigm of those eras). Zukerman is a strict modernist and has said very nasty things about the people that play HIP - worse than anything Parker has ever said about Burgundy, natural wines or what you will. Nevertheless, by talking to him I could understand that even his viewpoint wasn't as dogmatic as I thought.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#3 Post by maureen nelson » June 30th, 2020, 6:26 pm

Parker shows remarkable insight in the quoted section of the article. He never appreciated that burgundy can shut down, like bordeaux and cabernet, and so when he tasted them in bottle while they were shut down and only grasped the acidity and sometimes tannin he thought he’d misjudged them from barrel or been served different wine when tasting from barrel. If you compare his barrel notes on the 1988 vintage (published only in his burgundy book - very positive) to his notes 2-3 years later (not positive) you will see what I mean. He put a mea culpa in TWA apologizing for his rave of the ‘88s, which killed the US market for them (to the great consternation of Addy Bassin, who’d gone long on them). But I tasted many ‘88s when they first came in and loved them and bought as many as i could afford. (Later when macarthurs was dumping them I bought a bunch more.) When i first discovered gilman’s burgundy notes (years before view from the cellar he worked for a swiss (?) wine merchant and published lots of notes on older burgs online - wish I had saved copies), I finally found another fan of the 1988s.

Parker preferred low acid reds and never understood that burg can have tannins but be balanced but not show it when the fruit shuts down. This is a mistake newbies sometimes make - thinking the fruit is gone or insufficient when it has merely gone to sleep - and Parker made it in spades when evaluating burgundy. He now realizes it.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#4 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » June 30th, 2020, 6:51 pm

Nice article. Kudos from me, someone who left the Squires board due to their high-handedness.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#5 Post by Kris Patten » June 30th, 2020, 6:59 pm

Like him or hate him Parker changed the wine industry for the better, in that more people drink wine because of Robert Parker, and better wines are made. Whether that wine is your style or not, doesn't matter, as more wines became accessible due to him.

As far as Burgundy goes, one person can only cover so much, look at Vinous, it takes an army, and it probably kept the secret value in Burgundy longer than Bordeaux due to his 1982 reviews, so count yourself lucky if you were old enough to buy those pre-1994 vintages.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#6 Post by maureen nelson » June 30th, 2020, 7:22 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 6:59 pm

it probably kept the secret value in Burgundy longer than Bordeaux due to his 1982 reviews, so count yourself lucky if you were old enough to buy those pre-1994 vintages.
Absolutely! Before the advent of wine boards and Allen Meadows “Burghound” Burgundy was an arcane secret, known to a much smaller circle of wine geeks. I used to score great deals on older burgs at auctions because only DRC, Leroy, and Rousseau commanded a lot of coin.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#7 Post by alan weinberg » June 30th, 2020, 9:18 pm

maureen nelson wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 7:22 pm
Kris Patten wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 6:59 pm

it probably kept the secret value in Burgundy longer than Bordeaux due to his 1982 reviews, so count yourself lucky if you were old enough to buy those pre-1994 vintages.
Absolutely! Before the advent of wine boards and Allen Meadows “Burghound” Burgundy was an arcane secret, known to a much smaller circle of wine geeks. I used to score great deals on older burgs at auctions because only DRC, Leroy, and Rousseau commanded a lot of coin.
and even earlier, DRC, Leroy, and Rousseau sat on shelves at low prices. You could buy one bottle, wait a week to try, and go back the next week to buy—at great prices. 90 Leroy Clos de la Roche was $100, 90 La Tâche $233, 90 Rousseau Chambertin $100. 90 Rousseau Beze
was a bit more at $110.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#8 Post by Jürgen Steinke » June 30th, 2020, 10:06 pm

Yes, and now the question: Is wine critic in the days of the internet really an advantage for consumers?

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#9 Post by Andy Sc » June 30th, 2020, 11:39 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 10:06 pm
Yes, and now the question: Is wine critic in the days of the internet really an advantage for consumers?
200%! How else should the consumer know what young, freshly released wine to buy (from a region he hasn't travelled to and tasted it himself)?

While one critic might often/sometimes/hardly ever be wrong and not always a good guide, your trusted critic (which scored you a lot of good buys in the past, whose palate is aligned with yours) might be a good guide, and if that positive review of a young wine by your trusted wine critic is supported by a very good average rating of all the other critics out there, it gives you a) a great chance that you indeed buy something good and b) provides you with a strong downside protection, in case you don't like it (a wine with many 97-100 scores will usually has a sound price performance and at least hardly any downside).

Ignoring these facts for me is like ignoring the reality.

For older wines, however, it is clearly less important and Cellartracker is usually the best guide (and not a 15 year old rating of one or the other critic).
Last edited by Andy Sc on July 1st, 2020, 1:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#10 Post by Jürgen Steinke » June 30th, 2020, 11:58 pm

I began as a wine lover in days when there was no internet and little wine press. I traveled and tasted. And bought what I thought is good. And I tell you something. I had a lot of fun and found a lot of superb wines. To affordable prices. I met a lot of interested people over the years and we changed opinions and wines and tasted together. That is my take of being a wine lover.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#11 Post by Julian Marshall » July 1st, 2020, 12:05 am

It's an excellent article, I agree. Fair, balanced and well-written. I liked this bit:
He made the tasting, drinking and collection of wine a sexy, aspirational and culturally rewarding activity for many around the world who had formerly considered it locked beyond their reach, the preserve of a wealthy European bourgeois elite or of snooty intellectuals.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#12 Post by Andy Sc » July 1st, 2020, 1:05 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 11:58 pm
I began as a wine lover in days when there was no internet and little wine press. I traveled and tasted. And bought what I thought is good. And I tell you something. I had a lot of fun and found a lot of superb wines. To affordable prices. I met a lot of interested people over the years and we changed opinions and wines and tasted together. That is my take of being a wine lover.
I see and that's a wonderful story and most of us experienced it like that. But that was not your question (you asked whether or not critics are still of value in the age of the internet).
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#13 Post by Jürgen Steinke » July 1st, 2020, 2:17 am

Andy,

the dark side is price escalation and speculation. Wineries and merchants use the scores for marketing purposes. And many of the top wines are not for drinking any more. They rest in cellars in hope of a profit. All that has a lot to do with scores, the internet and so forth.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#14 Post by Andy Sc » July 1st, 2020, 7:01 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 1st, 2020, 2:17 am
Andy,

the dark side is price escalation and speculation. Wineries and merchants use the scores for marketing purposes. And many of the top wines are not for drinking any more. They rest in cellars in hope of a profit. All that has a lot to do with scores, the internet and so forth.
True, price escalation is the dark side (however, with one positive consequence being the improved quality around the world, as Jeffords writes). But that would be the topic of another discussion (you asked whether or not critics are still of value in the age of the internet).
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#15 Post by John Morris » July 1st, 2020, 7:16 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 11:58 pm
I began as a wine lover in days when there was no internet and little wine press. I traveled and tasted. And bought what I thought is good. And I tell you something. I had a lot of fun and found a lot of superb wines. To affordable prices. I met a lot of interested people over the years and we changed opinions and wines and tasted together. That is my take of being a wine lover.
Much easier if you’re in Germany, Austria or Switzerland!
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#16 Post by larry schaffer » July 1st, 2020, 7:58 am

I've said it before - without Parker and his love of Rhones, we would not have had the explosion of quality rhone varietal producers here in US, unless not as we've seen it thus far. Love him or hate him, he is almost solely responsible for this . . .

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#17 Post by Jürgen Steinke » July 1st, 2020, 8:03 am

I know a lot of your fellow citizens who travel a lot in Europe. I was often astounded that people of your country are very familiar with even the landscape I was born and raised (Baden/Germany). It is all a question of interest. If you have no money to travel you have no money to buy wines to the prices they cost today. And by the way: California, Oregon and Washington do produce world class wines. Pinot, Cab, Chardonnay. There is no shortage of fine wine in the US and the country is definitely worth to travel, to taste and learn. I would say the US is one of the major quality wine producing countries in the world.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#18 Post by Jürgen Steinke » July 1st, 2020, 8:07 am

Larry,
that is true. CdP experienced a renaissance due to Parker. He had this power in his days. I am not a Parker hater btw. Every medal has two sides.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#19 Post by Markus S » July 1st, 2020, 8:35 am

Well better late recognition than never. Funny, but the one and only time I met him was at a Burgundy tasting he was heading at the time his book of that subject came out.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#20 Post by William Kelley » July 9th, 2020, 9:58 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 1st, 2020, 2:17 am
Andy,

the dark side is price escalation and speculation. Wineries and merchants use the scores for marketing purposes. And many of the top wines are not for drinking any more. They rest in cellars in hope of a profit. All that has a lot to do with scores, the internet and so forth.
We have gotten into this before, and while I do not deny that scores influence pricing, I continue to think that your account of what is going on is a little limited. There are plenty of wines, to take a few examples, that carry huge price tags that have never received especially high scores from the press, e.g. Arnaud Ente; who are very seldom reviewed, e.g. JY Bizot; or who are never reviewed at all, e.g. Priuré Roch.

And if you're going to make this argument about critics' negative impact for consumers, I guess you'd say the same about the appellation system, Bordeaux's 1855 classification, etc etc? Any kind of classification or delimitation tends to make for higher prices, after all.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#21 Post by dsimmons » July 9th, 2020, 11:02 am

Kris Patten wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 6:59 pm
Like him or hate him Parker changed the wine industry for the better, in that more people drink wine because of Robert Parker, and better wines are made. Whether that wine is your style or not, doesn't matter, as more wines became accessible due to him.
This is indisputable. For me Parker was instrumental in fostering my interest in wine and as a bonus my tastes in wine aligned pretty well with his. Were his reviews without fault, of course not. But for me they were the best guiding light of the day.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#22 Post by David Glasser » July 9th, 2020, 1:49 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 1st, 2020, 8:03 am
I know a lot of your fellow citizens who travel a lot in Europe. I was often astounded that people of your country are very familiar with even the landscape I was born and raised (Baden/Germany). It is all a question of interest. If you have no money to travel you have no money to buy wines to the prices they cost today. And by the way: California, Oregon and Washington do produce world class wines. Pinot, Cab, Chardonnay. There is no shortage of fine wine in the US and the country is definitely worth to travel, to taste and learn. I would say the US is one of the major quality wine producing countries in the world.
While the quality of the education obtainable by traveling the discovery route yourself and learning first hand from the producers may be unmatched and the experience valuable in its own right, it’s not practical or possible for many. Especially when there’s an intervening ocean.

I disagree with the bolded above. The argument that no money for travel means no money for wine is reductive. I can try a lot of critic- or friend- or berserker-recommended wines with the thousands I would have to spend visiting just a few producers in Europe. If I’m part of a tasting group, the cost sharing expands the tasting and opinion sharing opportunities immensely. I may lack some of the depth of knowledge gained from tasting with the producers. Some of that can still be learned second hand from others who have or by reading.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#23 Post by Tomás Costa » July 9th, 2020, 3:15 pm

https://www.decanter.com/premium/robert ... ow-440353/

As a bonus, apparently RMP has re-reviewed some of his 100 point wines. Has anyone with a Decanter subscription checked it out?

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#24 Post by GregT » July 9th, 2020, 7:18 pm

It's a pretty nice article I would say. And Jefford did a fair job.

This explanation of his scoring system is actually logical and defensible. What the article did not mention was that Parker insisted that he was tasting wines blind for many years after he had stopped doing so. That harmed his reputation and called into question his general honesty, which was a shame.
‘I was dissatisfied with the 20-point system,’ he told me in March 1995, ‘because it didn’t give me enough latitude, and the 20-point system as formulated by the University of California Davis just takes points off for faults and defects, and I just didn’t like that kind of system. I felt that wine criticism had to be both analytical and hedonistic, and I would lean more to the hedonistic. It is a beverage of pleasure, let’s never forget that.’ Scores may be philosophically untenable but they are, in the practice of wine assessment, inevitable; Parker just used them more successfully, consistently and systematically than anyone else. He turned them into a universal short-hand for wine quality, though he always emphasized that the words were more important than the scores.
And interesting was the comment on oak - he's accused of loving oak but actually loved the wines from CdP because they had less overt oak and more overt fruit.

All in all it's a fair piece.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#25 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » July 9th, 2020, 7:46 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
June 30th, 2020, 9:18 pm
and even earlier, DRC, Leroy, and Rousseau sat on shelves at low prices. You could buy one bottle, wait a week to try, and go back the next week to buy—at great prices. 90 Leroy Clos de la Roche was $100, 90 La Tâche $233, 90 Rousseau Chambertin $100. 90 Rousseau Beze
was a bit more at $110.
I never played in those leagues, but '90 Leroy Bourgogne was one of the legendary QPR buys of all times. $10 maybe? It had a lot of buzz on the wine boards back in the day and I bought my share of it. All long gone by now, of course.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#26 Post by Br1an Th0rne » July 9th, 2020, 8:33 pm

Tomás Costa wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 3:15 pm
https://www.decanter.com/premium/robert ... ow-440353/

As a bonus, apparently RMP has re-reviewed some of his 100 point wines. Has anyone with a Decanter subscription checked it out?
He bashed the 82 Petrus, calling it a tragedy. Robert Parker's view today: As perfect as a young Bordeaux could be from five-to-six barrel tastings in 1983 and 1984. From bottles, a diminished product: thinner, and seemingly stripped by aggressive filtration. A tragedy.

Still loved the 82 Mouton, 82 Pichon Lalande, 90 Duffau-Lagarrosse, 89 Haut Brion, 90 La Chapelle et al

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#27 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 9th, 2020, 8:42 pm

Fantastic thread, and I agree with the OP that putting Parker in Decanter's Hall of Fame is LONG overdue - must have been an oversight, really. Perhaps they themselves assumed he was in it already :)
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#28 Post by Jan Janas » July 9th, 2020, 9:07 pm

I know this might sound a bit crazy, but I have the felling that part of Parker's notoriety and widespread acceptance - even beyond the borders of the insular wine 'clos' - is due to his great name: Robert Parker. I remember being a poor student and buying wine from supermarket shelves every now and then. I didn't know Parker and had no idea who he was, but seeing a wine with "90 points Parker" on the label gave me some kind of subliminal reassurance; his name too good-sounding and authoritative to be doubted. It is the kind of name that is common and easy to say. Makes for a catchy brand. Think about Tim Atkins, Jancis Robinson, Lisa Perrotti-Brown. Try saying "Lisa Perrotti-Brown gave this wine a 90" to someone, and I bet you'll hear back: "who?"
Now say Robert Parker. I bet the person in front of you, even without having no clue about him, will nod his head, "ah, Parker, yeah".

Quite a crazy musing, I know, but one wonders what is in a name.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#29 Post by Chris H. » July 9th, 2020, 9:41 pm

Jan Janas wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 9:07 pm
I know this might sound a bit crazy, but I have the felling that part of Parker's notoriety and widespread acceptance - even beyond the borders of the insular wine 'clos' - is due to his great name: Robert Parker. I remember being a poor student and buying wine from supermarket shelves every now and then. I didn't know Parker and had no idea who he was, but seeing a wine with "90 points Parker" on the label gave me some kind of subliminal reassurance; his name too good-sounding and authoritative to be doubted. It is the kind of name that is common and easy to say. Makes for a catchy brand. Think about Tim Atkins, Jancis Robinson, Lisa Perrotti-Brown. Try saying "Lisa Perrotti-Brown gave this wine a 90" to someone, and I bet you'll hear back: "who?"
Now say Robert Parker. I bet the person in front of you, even without having no clue about him, will nod his head, "ah, Parker, yeah".

Quite a crazy musing, I know, but one wonders what is in a name.
I agree! When I was learning about wine in the mid 2000s, 90 points Parker was an important "shelf talker", and influenced many buys, especially in French GSM. Napa came later, because at that point I could not afford the best of Napa. I do miss his reviews, no matter the "hindsight is 20/20", with that said I think my tastes align with Antonio Gallioni. Additionally, if anything, I rely on Wine Berserkers and Cellar Tracker to help me make buying decisions.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#30 Post by Jürgen Steinke » July 9th, 2020, 11:04 pm

William,

you talk about Burgundy and in Burgundy almost anything has gotten expensive lately. Burgundy is special because the wines are produced in such tiny quantities. But Burgundy is only a pretty small wine producing area. Every experienced retailer will tell that wines without scores are hard to sell these days so the scores may be an information for consumers but they are the most important marketing tool for producers and merchants also. Sure – you can put your focus on the information aspect alone. But that is not even half of the truth. I am aware that we can not be in the same boat because you make a living being a wine critic and I am a rather old wine lover who "is into wine" for almost 40 years now. I have seen and experienced what happened in the industry. Some of my relatives are or were wine producers and merchants.

David,

there were times before the internet and beside traveling people could look for a good and trustworthy retailer. Due to the internet and wine critics many producers get into the focus of buyers worldwide. With the effect that these wines explode in price. That is how the market works. A lot of wine lovers are not able to afford the wines any more. I do not consider this effect as an advantage for wine lovers. The people with very deep pockets do not care. That is clear. The advise for people with average income is: look elsewhere. That is social Darwinism as its finest and even cynical IMO.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#31 Post by Andy Sc » July 9th, 2020, 11:44 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 11:04 pm
William,
you talk about Burgundy and in Burgundy almost anything has gotten expensive lately. Burgundy is special because the wines are produced in such tiny quantities. But Burgundy is only a pretty small wine producing area. Every experienced retailer will tell that wines without scores are hard to sell these days so the scores may be an information for consumers but they are the most important marketing tool for producers and merchants also. Sure – you can put your focus on the information aspect alone. But that is not even half of the truth. I am aware that we can not be in the same boat because you make a living being a wine critic and I am a rather old wine lover who "is into wine" for almost 40 years now. I have seen and experienced what happened in the industry. Some of my relatives are or were wine producers and merchants.
It beside the point that Burgundy is small. You said that critics are responsible for the price escalation. William said that this might indeed be a factor but might not explain the entirety of the price increases, proof being wines with escalated prices which didn't get good scores or got no scores at all.

What you, Jürgen, forget is that in the past 30 year, the world middle class increased by more than 500 million people and in addition, the number of millionaires increased threefold in the past 20 years. Supply and demand. There you have your REAL reason for the increased prices of wine. Btw, you can see similar price increases in most other luxury goods too.


Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 9th, 2020, 11:04 pm
David,

there were times before the internet and beside traveling people could look for a good and trustworthy retailer. Due to the internet and wine critics many producers get into the focus of buyers worldwide. With the effect that these wines explode in price. That is how the market works. A lot of wine lovers are not able to afford the wines any more. I do not consider this effect as an advantage for wine lovers. The people with very deep pockets do not care. That is clear. The advise for people with average income is: look elsewhere. That is social Darwinism as its finest and even cynical IMO.
Isn't it an "advantage for wine lovers" when thanks to the internet, critics and information no longer just a small group who travels to all the regions, a small group of insiders or locals can drink these wines? Today, you can buy and drink these wines all around the world. As with everything else, the internet and vast information it contains (incl. all the content of the critics) democratised the wine world, levelled the playing field. So I would disagree with your point that internet/critics made wines less available for anybody. To the contrary, they made it more available.

Of course the prices increased for many wines, making these highly priced wines impossible to reach for many (the reason being the growing wealth and middle class, not the critics/internet). But is it again the critics and the internet which show those who cannot afford the most highly priced wines the next big brands and less pricey alternatives.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#32 Post by David Glasser » July 10th, 2020, 7:17 am

I liked the article, thought it fair and revealing. I liked that he acknowledged his Burgundy blind spot. The picture it painted of Parker more closely matched his real-life persona (from the few occasions I had to spend time with him) than his on-line character on eRP.

Parker did a lot of good for the industry and for my personal appreciation of wine during the first half of his career. Promoting cleanliness without sterility, greater ripeness (to a point), and democratization of wine enjoyment.

He had more negative effects later on: notably increased prices and Parkerization. Neither of which were attributable solely to his influence. He did drive greater interest in wine and greater demand, but without consumers buying his recommendations, and re-buying them once they found they liked them, neither would have taken hold the way they did. He'll deny Parkerization until the day he dies, but there’s no question he was a significant factor in the shift to ever bigger, riper, more extracted wines.

Overall I’d say he was a major net positive for the industry and for wine lovers. Most of his positive influences are sticking, while at least some of the winemaking excesses are being dialed back. Unfortunately, it looks like increased pricing is one that’s here to stay.

To Jurgen, I think you paint with an over-broad brush when you say that those with deep pockets don’t care. Some do. They love the wines for what they are as wines, not status symbols, and are happy to share with less well-heeled enthusiasts. But I doubt I’ll ever again be able to afford many of the great wines that were easily accessible when I was starting out. From that perspective, I share your disappointment with pricing.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#33 Post by Jürgen Steinke » July 10th, 2020, 8:49 am

Andy,

let´s play a game. Vinous, WA, Decanter, Jancis all rate Lafite 2019 below 90 points. Do you think this will have no effect on the price of this First Growth Bordeaux? This scoring should not play a role if the influence of the critics is as little as you suggest.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#34 Post by GregT » July 10th, 2020, 12:42 pm

Maybe that's not a good example. The 2019s are going to be hurt by the virus.

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2020/ ... than-2018/

As to the influence of critics, there isn't one like Parker was. So it would be a really interesting study to see how it works today when you can find one of many many critics to support your wine. Overall I don't think any of the critics writing today have the influence that Parker did, partly because there are so many more people who enjoy wine today, and more importantly, there are so many people who know wine and don't rely so much on a single voice. The US wine industry exploded during Parker's tenure and towards the end of it the Chinese market exploded.

The British critics never had much traction in the US market, at least insofar as they drove sales.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#35 Post by John Morris » July 10th, 2020, 1:27 pm

GregT wrote:
July 10th, 2020, 12:42 pm

As to the influence of critics, there isn't one like Parker was. So it would be a really interesting study to see how it works today when you can find one of many many critics to support your wine. Overall I don't think any of the critics writing today have the influence that Parker did, partly because there are so many more people who enjoy wine today, and more importantly, there are so many people who know wine and don't rely so much on a single voice. The US wine industry exploded during Parker's tenure and towards the end of it the Chinese market exploded.

The British critics never had much traction in the US market, at least insofar as they drove sales.
I would just add that I think the sheer number of critics, most using the 100-point scale, has eroded the influence of all critics. There is no single, trusted voice as there was with Parker for two decades. Most consumers have no idea who these critics are now.

Plus, every wine is above average, which is about 93 points today. Twenty years ago, when Parker handed out 94 or 95 points, it meant something. Today that's the baseline. That undercuts the impact of writers, I think.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#36 Post by Neal.Mollen » July 10th, 2020, 1:31 pm

I agree with John and Maureen. Bob's willingness to reflect on his prior mistakes, and confess error, is refreshing and admirable. His place in the wine world is almost unequaled; if he isn't in your Wine Hall of Fame, why have one?

I hope he is feeling well and enjoying his richly deserved retirement.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#37 Post by dchu » July 10th, 2020, 6:08 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 10th, 2020, 8:49 am
Andy,

let´s play a game. Vinous, WA, Decanter, Jancis all rate Lafite 2019 below 90 points. Do you think this will have no effect on the price of this First Growth Bordeaux? This scoring should not play a role if the influence of the critics is as little as you suggest.
Jürgen, I find the "influence of the critics" to be more significant when it's universally positive rather than negative as in the scenario you proposed.

I don't think negative reviews these days affect the desirability or pricing of wines nearly as much as they did in the past, especially for longstanding well-regarded brand names like Lafite. I mean suppose a future vintage of Lafite scored sub-90 across the board, it's not like it's going to be priced at the level of a similarly rated Crus Bourgeois chateau.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#38 Post by Andy Sc » July 10th, 2020, 10:04 pm

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 10th, 2020, 8:49 am
Andy,

let´s play a game. Vinous, WA, Decanter, Jancis all rate Lafite 2019 below 90 points. Do you think this will have no effect on the price of this First Growth Bordeaux? This scoring should not play a role if the influence of the critics is as little as you suggest.
Don’t quote me wrong. I’ve never said that critics don’t influence prices of a single wine. They do upon release and later the average score every wine drinker gives the wine (as mirrored on Cellartracker) is a further influence for Continous price development.

But you complained about the high price level for wines in general vs the much lower levels 20, 30 years ago. And the main reason here clearly is the growing wealth and wealth concentration and certainly not some critics and their scores. As said before, you can see these similar price increases with basically all luxury goods out there (and they never had critics with scores to rate them)... it’s just limited supply vs increasing demand. Simple economics.

Your mistake is that you mix up the influence a critic and score can have on the price/performance of a single wine in a single vintage with the fact that general price level of fine wines/luxury goods increased due to the wealth effect.
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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#39 Post by Jürgen Steinke » July 10th, 2020, 11:42 pm

I do not deny that the world has changed the last 30 years and that globalism has and had an economical impact. And it is true that nobody can blame critics alone for rising prices. That would be way too simple. But as I said – some of my relatives work(ed) in the wine business. And for them the influence of scores on demand and price is very relevant. Ask people ITB und you will get a picture.

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Re: Decanter award for Parker and interview/profile

#40 Post by William Kelley » July 11th, 2020, 8:54 am

Jürgen Steinke wrote:
July 10th, 2020, 8:49 am
Andy,

let´s play a game. Vinous, WA, Decanter, Jancis all rate Lafite 2019 below 90 points. Do you think this will have no effect on the price of this First Growth Bordeaux? This scoring should not play a role if the influence of the critics is as little as you suggest.
I think that if we play this game, we also have to entertain another counterfactual—one that I evoked above—whereby Lafite release the 2019 "Grand Vin" not as Pauillac but as a red Vin de France. And if you concede that that this, just like a negative critical consensus, would lower the price; then presumably from your perspective, in the interests of consumers, we should also abolish any kind of hierarchical AOC system in France? Because it is clear that appellations have definitely augmented prices for many French wines, and arguably much more appreciably and for longer than professional wine criticism.
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