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. Learn more.
Vinography Images: Cold Snap Cincinnati Here I Come! Happy Thanksgiving from Vinography Vinography Unboxed: Week of November 23, 2014 Putting a Cork in Your Thanksgiving Wine Anxiety Plumbing the Depths of Portugal: A Tasting Journey Vinography Images: Rain at Last The Mysterious Art of Selling Direct Critical Consolidation in Wine What Has California Got Against Wineries?
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy