Like the Royal Family trading insults or the latest antics of Scientology obsessed celebrities, I continue to be fascintated with the sniping that takes place at the top of the wine world, as critics, and the critics of critics let loose. Invariably it involves Robert Parker, the powerful critic that can't help but be at the center of most shit-storms when it comes to flagrant opinions about what is good, what is bad, and how little the critics know anyway. Earlier in the year he ran afoul of Hugh Johnson, who ended up calling him a "dictator of taste" among other things, and he's crossed swords with Jancis Robinson a while ago over whether a particular vintage of Chateau Pavie was any good.
This time, Parker is trading blows with Australian wine critic James Halliday after Parker published the most recent issue of his monthly newsletter, which focused on Australia's wines. The issue, Parker's latest ratings, of course. Specifically, Halliday is charging that Parker's ratings for Australia's top wines are significantly different than the scoring results from Australian national competitions (presumably implying that because the competitions are scored by groups of judges that they are more "correct"). Additionally, Halliday claims that Parker made his judgements after tasting only 10% of a particular regions wines.
Whooeee. Can you see the smoke from where you are?
Parker fired back that Halliday and his panels of judges were "Euro-imitators" and industry cronies, claiming that over half the judges in Halliday's cited competitions were industry aligned. Parker went on to call the wines that Halliday and others had selected for medals "vapid, innocuous and no better than very minor wines."
Who needs soap operas when you've got stuff like this? I find it hard that these folks take what is clearly the product of a subjective occupation so seriously, but then again I'm not a professional wine critic. Maybe I'd understand it all a bit more if I made my living doing this. I hope, though, that I'd have a bit more of a sense of humor.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Nicoletta Bocca of San Fereolo Book Review: Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/8/16 I'll Drink to That: Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 1, 2016 I'll Drink to That: Daniel Brunier of Vieux Télégraphe Vinography Images: Green Gold I'll Drink to That: Angelo Gaja of Gaja Winery Hungarian Wine: Hope, Dreams, Heritage and Progress Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/1/16
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune