David M. Bueker wrote:I've seen a similar voice only a very few times in the Wine Advocate (Mount Mary & some 2003 Germans (Rovani reviews for the Germans) spring to mind), so it seems very much out of place.
A critic who 'believes his own publicity' has a bit of a problem with wines that slip under his radar, for one reason or another. You can wade into an establishment of some kind taking the emperor has no clothes approach (Parker writing about Bdx in the 70s for example) and get a way with it as a newcomer.
It's much trickier if you're the 'establishment', and large groups of wine geeks find and enthuse over wines you either missed altogether or dismissed earlier. That's clearly the case with Parker and ESJ. California's supposed to be his backyard - people pay him money as the guru - "how come he didn't tell me that I should have bought these wines"?
If the wines in question don't really conform to your ideal, it's much simpler just to write them off as nothing special rather than admit you might have missed the boat.
The Mount Mary situation is slightly different, but another facet of the same phenomenon. Grange and Hill of Grace were established icons by the time Parker got around to writing about Australia. Nearly everything he's acclaimed since has been "his" discovery. Wines known or appreciated by others (locals) get short shrift. So, the wines acclaimed by Australian collectors and critics - Mount Mary, Bass Phillip, Hunter Semillons, Grossets rieslings, Cabernets from Cullen, Moss Wood, shiraz from Rockford, Wendouree, Leeuwin's chardonnay, Coonawarra as a region, and so on, get pretty short shrift from the great guru. If you've got such a great personal following as Parker, there's nothing to gain by jumping on the bandwagon of wines that others have praised before you.
I don't know what Parker / WA have written about NZ, but if they've ever acclaimed any wine, you can bet it won't be the ones that the Kiwi's think are their nations best wines.
(I'd like to be proved wrong on this - looking at an old Parker's Buyers Guide 5th edn 1999? - they suggest the only even vaguely drinkable reds are Felton Rd, Stoneyridge and Te Mata - the NZ versions of Grange / HoG, the rest are written off entirely).
When you have a certain weight in the 'market' (if there is such a thing for critics - and it speaks volumes about consumers that it seems to be the case) you can 'make you own champions' at least for a while. Langtons' classification of Oz wine (based on auction results, and thus some measure of demand) has a few wines whose place is clearly a result of the demand generated by Parker's reviews, but there are plenty of others that he dismisses frequently - Mount Mary the most egregious example, but if he ever gets to taste Wendouree, I reckon it'd get the same treatment. (Although I reckon it's a far more idiosyncratic wine than Mount Mary).
The great irony is that Parker's contemporary preferred style would once have been regarded as iconoclastic in itself - it speaks volumes about the changes he has wrought that the wines he now dismisses are seen as 'outside the mainstream', whereas they would quite likely have met with his approval twenty years ago.