Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

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Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Neil Courtney » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:07 pm

OK, so I didn't vote. It does not concern me too much what RP's influence on wine is. But it occurs to me to ask the following questions.

1. As RP is now aged 59, when does your wine palate start to fail? This worries me, as I am a year older than RP, and may be over the hill already. :?

2. Do you think RP will retire before he is past his prime? When?

3. Who do you think will replace RP when the time comes?

4. Whoever it is, will they ever have as much impact as RP does (whether you like RP's impact or not)?

:wink:
Cheers,
Neil Courtney

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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Randy Buckner » Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:55 pm

Actually, it is my feeling no one will ever have that influence again, hopefully. The field has really become diluted. The audience has become more sophisticated. I'm already hearing from many vintners they could care less what Parker says about their wines. A good many refuse sample requests, etc.

Interesting questions, though.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby JoePerry » Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:13 pm

Neil Courtney wrote:OK, so I didn't vote. It does not concern me too much what RP's influence on wine is. But it occurs to me to ask the following questions.

1. As RP is now aged 59, when does your wine palate start to fail? This worries me, as I am a year older than RP, and may be over the hill already. :?


I think Broadbent has proved that the degrading of one's palate isn't absolute.

If you aren't convinced, drink with the WLDG's own Lou Kessler who is around 60, but still has the palate of a 12 year old school girl.

As for who will take over for Parker? I'll bet we've got at least another 10 years to find out. Personally, despite being a points person, my respect for Tanzer has grown over the past few years. He's also far more internet savvy than Parker.

Best,
Joe
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Covert » Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:24 pm

Neil, I think you are looking at a marketing phenomenon here. I don’t mean that RP was so successfully marketed, by himself or by anybody else; he just happened to fall into a perfect positioning for an unfulfilled broad demand. Perfect or “first positioning” can never be followed. It automatically becomes the first rung on the ladder of the new category it creates (to use Reis and Trout’s cant). There will never be a second Elvis, Marilyn or Ali. Parker is in that category. When he stops functioning, the category will disburse among niche players that appeal to various spin-off segments. The Wall Street Journal will guide the newbie and young professional; Wine Spectator will handle a lot of people some of the time. Lots and lots of people got educated by Parker so that nearly everyone who currently seeks advice knows an “expert.”
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Lou Kessler » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:13 pm

If you aren't convinced, drink with the WLDG's own Lou Kessler who is around 60, but still has the palate of a 12 year old school girl.


Never met a 12 year old who had a palate that liked anything besides milk, coca cola, or pepsi. Of course I'm not up on the likes and dislikes of the very young generation. At what age do they graduate from grass to booze or is it the other way around. I still don't know whether I've been complimented or insulted but at my age if you spelled my name correctly I can't bitch.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby JoePerry » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:20 pm

Lou Kessler wrote:I still don't know whether I've been complimented or insulted



Can't it be both? :D
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Paul B. » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:28 pm

Covert wrote:Perfect or “first positioning” can never be followed. It automatically becomes the first rung on the ladder of the new category it creates (to use Reis and Trout’s cant). There will never be a second Elvis, Marilyn or Ali. Parker is in that category. When he stops functioning, the category will disburse among niche players that appeal to various spin-off segments.

Covert, I agree with you and with Bucko where he alludes to nobody ever having the same influence. I really think that you guys are on the right track, and you have expressed it very precisely. There simply are some people whose achievements are never completely replicable - largely because the milieu in which they began their work has "evolved away" and no longer exists. That's not to say that new, wholly different fields aren't coming into formation all the time, just waiting for new personalities to champion them ... though whether a single "expert" type is what works in all cases isn't necessarily clear.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby MtBakerDave » Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:56 pm

Covert wrote:Wine Spectator will handle a lot of people some of the time.


Hey, I agree with a lot of what you said, but The Wine Spectator outliving Parker? Hm. I'd guess it would be the other way around actually. WS seems to be in steep decline right now, at least it does to me.

Here's an article from Craig Camp's blog. Craig certainly has an axe to grind - he refers to his blog as being a "points free zone." The article is pretty sarcastic, but it certainly highlights one of the reasons I think WS is going down:
http://tinyurl.com/fplr9

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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Randy Buckner » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:24 am

The Wine Spectator outliving Parker? Hm. I'd guess it would be the other way around actually.


Just curious -- I wonder what the subscription rates of the two pubs were two years ago, and what the subscription rates are now?
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Ed Draves » Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:56 am

With the WA having employees doing a good % of the reviews now, perhaps "Parker" will live on long after his retirement. As long as the tasters the WA hires are of a consistant nature, there might be "Parker" scores 200 years from now and a 90 might still sell a bucketload of wine.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby wrcstl » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:17 am

Neil Courtney wrote:3. Who do you think will replace RP when the time comes?


Again and again I am convinced that the first answer that pops in my mind is usually correct one, that is what makes me such a loveable person. I think God will replace RP.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Jenise » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:58 am

When he stops functioning, the category will disburse among niche players that appeal to various spin-off segments.


That started the day he hired Pierre Rovani.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Randy Buckner » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:42 pm

That started the day he hired Pierre Rovani.


I agree. I imagine more people look to Meadows for Burgundy than they do to the Spec or WA.

It will be a niche market IMO.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:40 pm

Neil Courtney wrote:OK, so I didn't vote. It does not concern me too much what RP's influence on wine is. But it occurs to me to ask the following questions.

1. As RP is now aged 59, when does your wine palate start to fail? This worries me, as I am a year older than RP, and may be over the hill already. :?


Anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that palates don't really "fail" even at advanced age. True, one's sense of smell gets less acute with age (Damn! Why didn't I try more La Tâche at age 6?) but that may be offset by increased experience and olfactory memory. The poster child for that phenomenon might be Broadbent, or perhaps Harry Waugh.

2. Do you think RP will retire before he is past his prime? When?


I think that he'll just gradually withdraw from the WA. Indeed, it's arguable that he's already begun to do so. The more pertinent question might be which region he hangs on to the longest? My bet would be Bordeaux.

3. Who do you think will replace RP when the time comes?


I'd guess Rahsaan Maxwell, Joe Perry or perhaps Otto Nieminen. 8)

4. Whoever it is, will they ever have as much impact as RP does (whether you like RP's impact or not)?


No. Parker's notoriety is a result of "a perfect storm": he's by all accounts a freakishly talented taster, he came along at a time when interest in wine in the US was on a strong upswing and at a time when the Internet provided no competition. My guess is that a post-Parker wine world looks a good deal more fractured, with Rovani playing the role of Cassander.

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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:45 pm

Not Joe Perry - for obvious reasons.

Not Rashaan - too smart.

Not Otto - ditto.

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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Otto » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:24 pm

I'd guess Rahsaan Maxwell, Joe Perry or perhaps Otto Nieminen.


Dear God, I hope not! We drink too nice wines and if one of us takes P's place the wines we like will increase in price - which of course is a dashed shame. Muscadet costing 30 euros / bottle - yikes! German Riesling all priced like Robert Weil - yikes! Musar costing such amounts as other wines which develop for a half a century - noooooooooooooo!

James, you're mistaking me being smart for opinionated. No one should accuse me of being smart. And just to be clear, what is the obvious reason why Joe Perry wouldn't work? He likes oak.... :roll:
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Bob Cohen » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:32 pm

Lou, at least he didn't say you had other attributes of a 12-year-old school girl! :lol:
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Bill Spohn » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:35 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Anecdotal evidence would seem to suggest that palates don't really "fail" even at advanced age. True, one's sense of smell gets less acute with age (Damn! Why didn't I try more La Tâche at age 6?) but that may be offset by increased experience and olfactory memory. The poster child for that phenomenon might be Broadbent, or perhaps Harry Waugh.



Don't entirely agree Mark.

I believe that the palate DOES start to betray one some time after 60, obviously in varying degrees and at different rates of failure.

Broadbent refuses to taste blind - no confidence in not making a mess of things and little percentage even if he did get it right. You have to give Parker that - he still goes where even the giants no longer are willing to tread.

I suspect that Parker will not hang it up until well past the time he should - it won't be his palate but his fondness for the position in the wine world that may keep him at it even after his (incredible) faculties have begun to fail him. I frankly hope I am wrong.
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:36 pm

Unfortunately, Joe is a devotee of Pagan rituals and has been known to follow in the footsteps of certain Norse gods. I will leave it at that. Otto, we could never read all those Assyrian discriptors. It just wouldn't work. Who wants Musar at $250 anyway? Rashaan or Patchan might work, but they would need to leave their ivory towers and they're nice and cozy at the present. I ask again, where's Coad?
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Ian Sutton » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:44 pm

Covert and Mark
The timing you talk about seems indeed to have been important, but one factor hasn't been mentioned - his nationality. I'd argue that if he had been French, Australian, English or Finnish, then he wouldn't have reached the same prominence.
Could it be that Americans warmed to the idea that an American was now the "defining voice" of wine? In particular his timing coinciding with (or even driving) an upturn in interest in fine wine in such a massive country.

Perhaps the "next Parker" will be Chinese?

regards

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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:02 pm

Ian, You make a good point, Perhaps The next "Parker" will be an Asian or just not an American. As other pots suggest, perhaps we shouldn't look for the next "Parker" as he is a one-of-a-kind phenomena. Maybe we should look for the next "Robin" only much more famous (or infamous?).
Cheers!
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Paul B. » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:25 pm

I have a curve ball to add to this one.

Any chance that the next most prominent wine personality could be someone from a Mediterranean country? I wonder what that would do to global perspectives on wine ... I've hesitated to say that such a person would be the next "Parker", because I think that Parker can't be replicated. That said, if the defining voice suddenly shifted to a long-standing wine-producing nation, it could have some interesting ramifications, don't ya think?
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby Sam Platt » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:25 pm

I think that Robert Parker was very much of his time and place. Had he come on the scene a little earlier, or a little later he may have escaped much notice. He seems to be quite talented and I often put some weight on his advice. From what I have read were it not for 'calling his shot' on the '82 vintage he may have returned to his law practice some time ago.

Who do you think will replace RP when the time comes?


Zuke!

I would even do it if I only had to write reviews such as "Tastes pretty good - 92". :)
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Re: Who will replace Robert Parker, and when?

Postby JoePerry » Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:42 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:
I'd guess Rahsaan Maxwell, Joe Perry or perhaps Otto Nieminen.


And just to be clear, what is the obvious reason why Joe Perry wouldn't work? He likes oak.... :roll:




"Like" oak?!? :shock:

I love oak!!! I've even taken to drinking my water out of homemade 1 liter toasted French oak barriques with American oak woodchips mixed in. Drinking that stuff'll make you a goddamn sexual Tyrannosaurus... just like me.
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