Parker "rarely incorrect"?

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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:07 pm

Dale, I have to admire us for referring to the "New York Times". I just realized that the people who work there generally refer to it as "The Times" in the newspaper itself. For example,

Often, as with Mr. Kurz's note, the question includes some variation of the everything-was-better-long-ago theme. Many readers believe that there were fewer factual errors, fewer typos, fewer grammatical lapses in The Times back in the old days. I honestly don't know if this is true, though the perception worries me. I do take a bit of comfort in the fact that I've been hearing similar complaints for all of the 17 years I've been at The Times. Or maybe things really were better up until 17 years ago, when I was hired, and it's been straight down since then. Now that really is something to worry about.

That extract is from the new grammar column by Deputy News Editor Philip B. Corbett. Should be a fun column, despite the obvious parochial approach of Mr. Corbett. :)
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Jean-Pierre Cauvin » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:45 pm

I frankly have never fathomed the Parker-guru craze. I seldom agree with his ratings, that is, his taste, which seems to favor bombshells. Why he commands such a following is mystifying. To my palate, he is rarely correct.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:15 am

Oliver McCrum wrote:Paul,

My understanding is that Parker pays for his own meals at restaurants, which is more than can be said for most journalists. I don't expect him to try to pay for dinner when invited to someone's house, which is what Agostini appears to be saying.

I think Parker is either almost always right or almost always mistaken, in the sense that he judges wines consistently on what I take to be an entirely flawed model of what constitutes good wine.


Agreed with what you say. Except that if he were still trying to be the Naderite unbiased critic, he'd steer shy of dining at the houses of the producers who he evaluates.

And IMO Parker isn't as consistent (like his evaluation criteria or not) as he's made out to be. As I said, his Burgundy and especially his German evaluations have been all over the map. And even in his more reliable areas, such as the Rhone, he has both favorites and whipping boys.

All of which, as I said, just shows he's human. And maybe trying to do too much.

My only really issue with Parker and his acolytes is their absolutist attitude concerning how to evaluate wine. Either you accept Parker's criteria or you must be either ignorant and inexperienced or have a flawed palate. I don't accept that. I believe that tastes in wine vary from person to person. I don't expect to agree with everything (or necessarily anything) that a wine critic opines. But I respect their right to have those opinions and tastes. In return I expect them to respect my right to have my tastes in wine. Unfortunately, this courtesy has not been extended to me by Mr. Rovani (and by proxy, his employer, Mr. Parker).

Whatever you think of the man's palate and tastes in wine, though, his enthusiasm for his craft is genuine and infectious. And he's helped introduce many, many people (including me) to the wonderful world of wine with an evaluation system that, whatever its flaws, is simple and understandable.

But I can't agree with "rarely incorrect".

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

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:32 am

Bob Ross wrote:Dale, I have to admire us for referring to the "New York Times". I just realized that the people who work there generally refer to it as "The Times" in the newspaper itself.


Bob, I know an editor at the NYT, and you're right! But he is aware of the Times (based in London, but not of it). While I believe in clarity, if someone at the NYT is discussing their coverage, it seems to me pretty reasonable to shorten. But then again, few people are as admirable as you and I!


David M. Bueker wrote:I understood your post quite well. again I'm just getting back to my much earlier comments regarding how one can acknowledge a style one is either a fan or not a fan of without resorting to pejorative descriptors.


David, it seems to me that Oliver is doing just that (much better than Parker does, for instance). It seems clear he thinks RP is good at recognizing and liking a style, which Oliver doesn't like.

Paul W.,
Actually, back in'97, you were one of the people who used the "French TV Interview" as a reference to Parker's ability (I may have too!). We all function on the information we have.
The interesting (to me at least) question is the idea of Parker's consistency (and honesty).

I find it fascinating that the French TV story, repeated for 11 years as independent proof, has never actually been independently verified. I find it very peculiar that Mr. Parker didn't express outrage at being tricked into this situation, and then it not being shown . I also find it strange that Mr. Parker, scarcely a small ego, would not have immediately had this tape copied (a hundred copies!) into US format. It would clearly be the most impressive feat of tasting I've ever heard of, yet he seems to act as if he wishes the subject dropped. How strange. Maybe someone will dig up the video.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:07 am

David M. Bueker wrote:I understood your post quite well. again I'm just getting back to my much earlier comments regarding how one can acknowledge a style one is either a fan or not a fan of without resorting to pejorative descriptors.


I am responding to the thread, David, not your part in it.

In my opinion saying that someone's view of something is flawed* is legitimate argument; it might just be pejorative, but I think less so than 'parochial.' You seem to be positing a non-judgemental rule for criticism, but you should note that Parker never hesitates to denigrate people who disagree with him, as was shown for example in the Pavie shouting-match.

*particularly when I make clear that it is my opinion, not objective fact.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:59 am

My feeling is that the whole Parker (pro and con) discussion has taken such a poor turn across the internet that to keep digging it up (Robin...) merely to throw dirt one way or the other is in poor taste.

And Paul - Parker last reviewed Burgundy in the early '90s. His last partial review of Germany was 1994. Let it rest.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Glenn Mackles » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:04 pm

I can't say whether Mr. Parker is right or wrong. He is really not all that relevant to my wine buying. I don't drink very many of the very "big" reds that he seems to favor. Personally, I pay a lot more attention to the recommendations of the lady at the local wine store that I have been frequenting for 6-7 years who knows me and what I like. About the only time I see Parker ratings is on tags in wine stores on wine I usually don't buy. Perhaps the moist profound way he influences me is by the fact that he has seemingly made wine drinking much more popular in this country and accordingly bears part of the responsibility for the large increase in wine prices generally.

In fact, what I find most interesting about Mr. Parker is the intense emotions that he seems to cause in some people.

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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Oliver McCrum » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:14 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:My feeling is that the whole Parker (pro and con) discussion has taken such a poor turn across the internet that to keep digging it up (Robin...) merely to throw dirt one way or the other is in poor taste.


To me there is no question that Robert Parker (along with the other critics who share his taste) has changed the way wine is made, and the kinds of flavors that we can enjoy. There is no more important topic than this, in my opinion.

This retailer was suggesting that Parker is the only wind blowing, and I think that assumption (even if made for simple commercial reasons) must be questioned. I don't want all the wine in world to taste the same.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Oct 30, 2007 3:19 pm

Well the retailer is wrong. There's still lots of wine that isn't high-octane, overfruited, overwooded, over-sweet (I'll take a stab that you're objecting to those traits - as by the way am I), and plenty of voices (including a couple who work for Parker by the way) that do not solely reward volume.

I think the debate is oversimplified and repeptitive.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:52 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:And Paul - Parker last reviewed Burgundy in the early '90s. His last partial review of Germany was 1994. Let it rest.


Point taken. I let my subscription to The Wine Advocate lapse over a decade ago. I haven't read a word the man has written since. I'm no longer in a position to offer a current opinion on what he's doing.

So whomp me over the head with oodles of hedonistic fruit if I utter a peep about Parker again. :twisted:

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

Postby Bob Henrick » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:15 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:My feeling is that the whole Parker (pro and con) discussion has taken such a poor turn across the internet that to keep digging it up (Robin...) merely to throw dirt one way or the other is in poor taste.

And Paul - Parker last reviewed Burgundy in the early '90s. His last partial review of Germany was 1994. Let it rest.


David, couldn't you have answered Paul just as well with out those last three words? BTW I am one who says that Parker has his place in the overall scheme of wine and wine writing.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 31, 2007 8:02 am

Bob,

The let it rest is really for everyone. No debate on this board is going to change the kind of wine Parker likes (though adding David Schilknecht and Antonio Galloni to the team has broadened the palate so to speak), nor should it. As with any critic it's all about understanding palate preferences and how they align with one's own. The continual debate about Parker being globally right/wrong is sill IMO.

If we want to discuss the merits of specific wines then have at it.
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Re: Parker "rarely incorrect"?

Postby Bob Henrick » Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:25 am

David, now that I better understand your reply to Paul, I will come on over and fully agree with you. I have often thought exactly that but not siad it on ANY forum. As I said I think there is a place for Parker etc. They even IMO offer something for geeks like most here, We can't (even collectively) taste all the wines the writers report on, and if we look at both the numbers and the written work, I know that I benefit from some of the opinion of others including Parker, Tanzer et al. Sorry if I came across sounding harsh.
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