Parker "rarely incorrect"?

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Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:06 pm

Interesting commentary in a mailing from Antique Wine Co., which not coincidentally sells a lot of expensive, highly-rated wines. Do you agree with their conclusions about RMP?

<i>It is interesting to study the influence of a handful of internationally recognised wine critics on the popularity of the wines we enjoy.
Occasionally there is conflict between them, but usually the consensus is in line with Robert Parker's ranking, who's opinion seems to influence the market more than any other wine critic.
His judgement and analysis is rarely incorrect and below is an offering of complete cases of wines that have universal acclaim and achieve Parker's perfect 100 Point score.</i>
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Gary Barlettano » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:27 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Interesting commentary in a mailing from Antique Wine Co., which not coincidentally sells a lot of expensive, highly-rated wines. Do you agree with their conclusions about RMP?


How can I? Their grammar stinks!

Robin Garr wrote:Occasionally there is conflict between them, but usually the consensus is in line with Robert Parker's ranking, who's (Shouldn't that be "whose?") opinion seems to influence the market more than any other wine critic.

His judgement and analysis is (Shouldn't that read "are?") rarely incorrect and below is an offering of complete cases of wines that have universal acclaim and achieve Parker's perfect 100 Point score.
And now what?
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:38 pm

Truly bad writing.
I'd say Parker is rarely incorrect, at least in Rhone and Bordeaux, if your definition is based on market prices. Wouldn't hold true for other regions (I wish it did, have you seen recent prices on '93 red Burgs?).
I certainly don't think Parker 100 Points equals "universal acclaim."
In a more general view, of course, there is no such thing as being correct or incorrect about tastes.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Paul Winalski » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:04 pm

Parker's made his share of big mistakes over the years. Some examples:

The 1983 Burgundy vintage. Hardly anyone managed to escape the rampant rot that doomed this vintage. Even those producers who did careful sorting to weed out the rotten grapes discovered later that often the rot was hiding where the stem attaches to the grapes, and managed to sneak in undetected. Worst of all, many of the wines didn't exhibit rot taint from barrel or in early bottle tastings, but it came out after a few years of aging. Many wines that Parker pronounced rot-free developed the taint later.

Marc Sorrel. Parker worshiped the ground that the elder Sorrel, Henri, walked on. Apparently he didn't get on too well with Henri's son, Marc, who took over the winemaking at the Rhone domaine in 1982. 1982 was a very difficult vintage in the Northern Rhone. The heat wave at harvest and vinification time led to lots of stuck fermentations and other problems. Domaine Sorrel had the same problems everyone else had. But Parker really excoriated Marc Sorrel in his reviews, saying that he was turning out one mediocre wine after another, and as a consequence the Domaine had fallen far from the high standard of his father's day. This turned out to be too hasty a judgment. Domaine Sorrell made excellent wine in 1983 and subsequent vintages. Those of us (me included) who trusted Parker and avoided buying those wines missed out. Parker eventually publicly retracted his previous assessment of Domaine Marc Sorrel.

1993 Chapoutier Hermitage. This vintage was unsuccessful for everyone, even luminaries such as Chave. But, based on early barrel tastings, Parker announced that Chapoutier had managed to escape the disaster and made great wine. Parker praised the use of Biodynamic farming as responsible for this miracle. It turned out when the wines were released, Chapoutier's offerings were just as bad as everyone else's. Parker got raked over the coals elsewhere in the wine press over this one.

Burgundy and Germany evaluations. IMO, Parker's evaluations of red Burgundy have always been off base. I don't think he understands what the winemakers there are trying to accomplish, and the wines don't fit his model of what red pinot noir ought to be. Nothing wrong with that, per se--we all have our individual tastes, and a critic's evaluations can still be useful once you know what his evaluation criteria are. But the problem for me is that Parker's Burgundy evaluations haven't just been off-base by my own taste. They've been unpredictably all over the map. And his estimates of cellaring potential have been way off. He underestimated the longevity of the 1985s and overestimated the potential of the 1988s. IMO his track record for German wine is even worse.


So in conclusion, I wouldn't say that Parker is "rarely incorrect". He has certain pet winemakers for whom he cuts a lot of slack and pulls punches in reviews, and he has winemakers he doesn't care for who are his whipping boys. He has certain wine regions and styles that he doesn't understand, but he tries to evaluate them anyway.

In other words, he's human, like the rest of the wine writers.

-Paul W.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Thomas » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:30 pm

Yes, sure, and I am always right about everything.

Hey Gary, do we use that e following the g on this side of the pond to spell "judgment?" That would make it bad spelling as well.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Nathan Smyth » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:53 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:IMO his track record for German wine is even worse.

I've heard a story about Parker & Germany, but I don't know whether I'm at liberty to repeat it.

Anyway, if you've ever heard the story, then, well, let's just say that the current situation at TWA vis-a-vis Germany is more than a little ironic.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:55 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Interesting commentary in a mailing from Antique Wine Co., which not coincidentally sells a lot of expensive, highly-rated wines. Do you agree with their conclusions about RMP?

<i>It is interesting to study the influence of a handful of internationally recognised wine critics on the popularity of the wines we enjoy.
Occasionally there is conflict between them, but usually the consensus is in line with Robert Parker's ranking, who's opinion seems to influence the market more than any other wine critic.
His judgement and analysis is rarely incorrect and below is an offering of complete cases of wines that have universal acclaim and achieve Parker's perfect 100 Point score.</i>

ROFL :lol:

What some people say to sell wine. Obviously they don't value intelligence in customers, the way they insult it :wink:

On a similar note Strauss was rarely incorrect, but Handel and Liszt were often off the mark and shouldn't be trusted.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby wrcstl » Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:59 pm

Here we go again, the favorite pastime, Parker bashing. It is probably worth nothing but here is my take. "Rarely incorrect" is a stupid commnet. Incorrect according to who?? I will support Parker as the reviewer with the best ability to identify and describe wines. I believe that he is heads above the other people in this respect. Having said that I could not have a palate preference more opposite than his. I do not subscribe to the WA although do read his reviews, but pay no attention to his rating. I just got back from my local wine store and was looking for a Spanish wine that would show well at an organized tasting, you know, where you have to bring a big wine not necessarily a complex wine. There was a Parker 94 pointer for $35 that used the words "toasty", "12 mo in new American and French oak" and "needs 1-2 more years". The wine merchant recommended the wine but I knew it would have too much oak for me and that it was just not ready. I think Parker tends to get it right when describing wines, and that may be what the article meant but nobody can get it right for everyone.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Nathan Smyth » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:08 pm

My biggest divergence from Parker himself [as opposed to the rest of the staff at TWA] is that he's settled into a routine where he's only reviewing regions [Bordeaux, California, and the Rhone] which just don't interest me all that much anymore.

By and large, most of what he's reviewing now [particularly in Bordeaux & California] is Cabernet, and the more I drink the stuff, the more I find Cabernet to be bland [even tasteless] and largely without aroma.

If people want to throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars at these Cab-based wines, then more power to them, but I don't get it.

Which is not to say that there aren't wines from California or Bordeaux, which don't fascinate me, it's just that, by and large, they aren't going to be Cabernet [with a handful of exceptions, like that 1995 Mondavi Reserve].
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:14 pm

Ah yes, Robin's favorite strawman...

A few issues ago Steve Tanzer used some key words when describing a wine he had rated highly: "fans of this style..."

The biggest issue with Parker is that people lost the idea that he has no choice but to rate wines as he tastes them. His nose/palate/brain find certain things pleasurable in a wine. A different person's nose/palate/brain will appreciate different things. Of course Parker is rarely incorrect. He likes what he likes (and that's a broader range of styles than he is given credit for).

Parker is not at fault for the influence his ratings have on the fine wine market.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Hoke » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:19 pm

One of my old bosses was like that.

He often said, "Rarely incorrect; but never in doubt."
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:22 pm

Robin, is this the UK Antique Wine Company at http://www.antique-wine.com ?

I'm startled at the grammar, frankly -- the site has always seemed so proper and careful in the past.

I think the writer is correct about Parker 100 point wines. People have rarely criticized his rating of those lofty numbers -- as Paul points out, his weaknesses are generally in lower ratings, his preferences for various styles, and in particular his strengths and weaknesses in various regions -- where his stable of new reviewers have done a great deal to improve the value of his ratings.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:38 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Robin, is this the UK Antique Wine Company at http://www.antique-wine.com ?


Apparently so, Bob. I don't recall signing up for their E-letter, but I get a lot of this kind of thing presumably as a Professional Wine Writer 8) and don't consider it spam, even though I'm not likely to buy Parkerized wines FOB the UK.

Here's the signature line:

Stephen Williams
The Antique Wine Company
http://www.antique-wine.com
Tel: +44 207 359 1109
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Gary Barlettano » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:47 pm

Thomas wrote:Yes, sure, and I am always right about everything.

Hey Gary, do we use that e following the g on this side of the pond to spell "judgment?" That would make it bad spelling as well.


Judgement/judgment ... that word swings both ways as far as I know! But I think the one with the "e" immediately after the "g" is the variant. :wink:
And now what?
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Dale Williams » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:48 pm

Bob Ross wrote:I think the writer is correct about Parker 100 point wines. People have rarely criticized his rating of those lofty numbers


So Bob, you think that there is universal acclaim for the 2000 Pavie, various Zind Humbrecht bottlings, 1990 Beausejour Duffau, and assorted CdP luxury cuvees? I have some people whom I'd like you to meet. :)
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby wrcstl » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:54 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:My biggest divergence from Parker himself [as opposed to the rest of the staff at TWA] is that he's settled into a routine where he's only reviewing regions [Bordeaux, California, and the Rhone] which just don't interest me all that much anymore.

By and large, most of what he's reviewing now [particularly in Bordeaux & California] is Cabernet, and the more I drink the stuff, the more I find Cabernet to be bland [even tasteless] and largely without aroma.

If people want to throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars at these Cab-based wines, then more power to them, but I don't get it.

Which is not to say that there aren't wines from California or Bordeaux, which don't fascinate me, it's just that, by and large, they aren't going to be Cabernet [with a handful of exceptions, like that 1995 Mondavi Reserve].


Nathan,
I agree that Parker likes Cab based wines and Syrah/Shiraz. He likes big red wines. I also get tired of cabernet but cannot give up old Bordeaux or Syrah from northern Rhone (or Steve's Syrahs).

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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:55 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
Bob Ross wrote:I think the writer is correct about Parker 100 point wines. People have rarely criticized his rating of those lofty numbers


So Bob, you think that there is universal acclaim for the 2000 Pavie, various Zind Humbrecht bottlings, 1990 Beausejour Duffau, and assorted CdP luxury cuvees? I have some people whom I'd like you to meet. :)


Not to mention various vintages of Greenock Creek Roenfeldt Road Shiraz and Cabernet. (talk about "fans of the style...")
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Dave Erickson » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:56 pm

Guess it's time to watch "Mondovino" again. :mrgreen:

Every time Parker says "As an American..." I want to reach into the screen and slap him.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Nathan Smyth » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:28 pm

wrcstl wrote:
Nathan Smyth wrote:My biggest divergence from Parker himself [as opposed to the rest of the staff at TWA] is that he's settled into a routine where he's only reviewing regions [Bordeaux, California, and the Rhone] which just don't interest me all that much anymore.

By and large, most of what he's reviewing now [particularly in Bordeaux & California] is Cabernet, and the more I drink the stuff, the more I find Cabernet to be bland [even tasteless] and largely without aroma.

If people want to throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars at these Cab-based wines, then more power to them, but I don't get it.

Which is not to say that there aren't wines from California or Bordeaux, which don't fascinate me, it's just that, by and large, they aren't going to be Cabernet [with a handful of exceptions, like that 1995 Mondavi Reserve].


Nathan,
I agree that Parker likes Cab based wines and Syrah/Shiraz. He likes big red wines. I also get tired of cabernet but cannot give up old Bordeaux or Syrah from northern Rhone (or Steve's Syrahs).

Walt

You know, I actually have a soft spot for "big" wines - I love a huge Australian Shiraz [or, better yet, Petit Verdot] with tons of residual sugar, and I got a big kick out of the 2000 Pavie when it first arrived on these shores.

But Cabernet [Sauvignon] in particular - it just doesn't seem to have any inherent taste to it, and it rarely makes any aromatics [certainly not for the first 15 or 20 years].

And Cabernet has a really, really bad tendency to just die.

In the last year, I've had a ton of famous Cal-Cabs and Bordelais, with big points from all the critics, almost all of which were dead, dead, dead - completely given up the ghost - at a mere 15 to 20 years of age.

So dead that it was a chore to taste them, with nothing in the way of exotic aromatics to compensate for the underlying necrophilia of it all.

By contrast, a few months ago, I had a 1996 FX Pichler Grüner Veltliner, which still tasted like a barrel sample.

I dunno - maybe Parker & some of his followers have a gene for tasting some flavor in Cabernet, and maybe I lack that gene, so that I wouldn't be able to understand what they see in it, but, as things stand, I just don't get it.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Thomas » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:31 pm

Dave Erickson wrote:Guess it's time to watch "Mondovino" again. :mrgreen:

Every time Parker says "As an American..." I want to reach into the screen and slap him.


You mean he isn't???
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:33 pm

wrcstl wrote:Here we go again, the favorite pastime, Parker bashing.

More bashing the clumsy marketing of a retailer I'd say.

Generally retailers know the benefit of selectively quoting Parker scores but many tend to give themselves a :roll: as they put the scores up. These folks seem to have bought the t-shirt...
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:37 pm

"So Bob, you think that there is universal acclaim for the 2000 Pavie, various Zind Humbrecht bottlings, 1990 Beausejour Duffau, and assorted CdP luxury cuvees? I have some people whom I'd like you to meet."

Dale, as usual you've caught me up. "Rarely" was too strong a word.

I should have written that folks are willing, and continue to be willing, to pay enormous sums for 100 point wines. In that sense Parker's ratings are "rarely incorrect". Even the 2000 Pavie has increased in value, and the chorus of folks shouting down its critics is much louder than the chorusette attacking the wine.

In any event, not a market I'm interesting in playing in.

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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby JC (NC) » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:09 pm

On the spelling of judgement/judgment, both are acceptable according to Webster's. I used it without a first 'e' as a yearbook copy editor in high school and my journalism teacher questioned my spelling but accepted it when the dictionary approved both forms. Good old Hattie Steinberg--she was also Thomas Friedman's journalism teacher and he paid tribute to her in various ways, including setting up a scholarship in her name at the journalism school of University of Minnesota. He had her as a teacher at a high school in Minnesota and I had her at a high school in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Postscript: I defend the 2000 Pavie although the funny part is I rated in lower than several other wines in the tasting when being analytical (so many points for color, clarity, nose, taste, finish, balance, etc. on a UC-Davis 20-pt. scale.) Yet, I thought the whole was greater than the parts and to me it was the most intriguing wine in the bunch. This probably relates to the article Jacques Levy brought to our attention about big wines that stand out apart from food and yet fail as table companions. Like it or hate it, 2000 Pavie is "impressive." (Good or bad impressions, take your pick.)
Last edited by JC (NC) on Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Nathan Smyth » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:10 pm

My other problem with the Southern Rhones is that I just don't like Grenache all that much, and, even though it's probably psychological [if you served them to me blind, I probably wouldn't realize it], I swear I can taste the white wine in C9dP.

If so, then it's a vinous miscegenation which does not sit well with my palate [or, if not, then I guess it's just my own neuroses].

Anyway, if you're not crazy about Cabernet, and if you don't like Grenache, and if you especially dislike Grenache mixed with white wine, then Parker's current beat [Cal, Bordeaux, Rhone] doesn't leave a lot to be desired.
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