Parker slams concept of ‘Parkerisation’

16th May, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

US wine critic Robert Parker has slammed the idea that wines have been made specifically to suit his palate, defending his tastes as “complicated and varied.”

Robert Parker has slammed the "black and white" concept of Parkerisation

Robert Parker has slammed the “black and white” concept of Parkerisation

According to AFP, during a rare interview with French magazine Terre de Vins published this week, Parker refused to accept the idea of the “Parkerisation” of wines and the emergence of a richer, riper style made to please the critic’s palate.

“My taste is more complicated and varied to be defined in such a black and white way.

“I love a number of styles of wine: the finesse and elegance of Pape-Clément to the rich unctuousness of Pétrus and Trotanoy,” Parker told the magazine.

While rejecting the concept of “Parkerisation,” Parker believes people will still be referencing the term in 30 year’s time: “There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

The Maryland-based critic did however concede that his wife acknowledges the existence of the Parker style.

During the interview Parker also dubbed Bordeaux one of the “best value for money” wine regions in the world.

“When I started in 1978, there were around 35 world-class wines made In Bordeaux. Today, there are probably 300-400 world-class wines,” he said.

Despite skyrocketing prices for the regions top wines, particularly the five first growths, Parker pointed out that there was value to be found in Bordeaux’s lesser-known appellations.

“The Côtes de Bordeaux and St Emilion satellite districts are filled with châteaux that are extremely good performers producing marvelous wines at low prices,” he said.

Parker pinpointed value in the Côtes de Bordeaux and St Emilion satellite districts like Montagne St-Emilion (pictured)

Parker pinpointed value in the Côtes de Bordeaux and St Emilion satellite districts like Montagne St-Emilion (pictured)

Admitting that several first growths and super seconds were “extremely expensive” and were “sold for too much”, Parker went on to add that he feels he has “played a role” in helping the region to up its quality game since the early ‘80s.

“I think that Bordeaux makes better wines and is better known across the world thanks to my efforts over the past 35 years,” he said, in reference to the 105 trips he’s made to Bordeaux during his time editing bi-monthly publication The Wine Advocate.

Parker recently sold a major stake in the company to a group of Singaporean investors for €15m and stepped down as editor, appointing Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW as the publication’s new editor-in-chief.

“I need to take a step back from the daily work of the publication,” he admitted to Terre de Vins.

Parker continues to review Bordeaux and older California vintages for TWA but recently handed over his Rhône responsibilities to The Rhône Report founder Jeb Dunnuck.

Parker has given just one wine from the 2012 Bordeaux vintage 100-point potential; Pomerol estate l’Eglise Clinet.

His top three wines from the 2012 vintage were all from the Right Bank commune of Pomerol in what has largely been hailed a Merlot vintage.

4 Responses to “Parker slams concept of ‘Parkerisation’”

  1. John Casey says:

    I know nothing about this issue. However, it is my impression that many wines are made for tasting rather than for drinking.

  2. Tina Caputo says:

    Some prominent California winemakers would disagree about the “myth” of Parkerization:

  3. Rachel says:

    I recently was at a Yountville tasting room where the hospitality manager said flat-out that the wine he was pouring was, in fact, blended specifically for Parker’s palate with the hopes of getting a high score from him. The cabs from this producer had consistently gotten over 90 pts from the WA, so the formula seemed to be working for them. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that statement from a winery, either. So slam away, Bob, but it’s being done, and it seems sort of disingenuous to claim it’s not.

  4. Josh Moser says:

    I think we are all losing site of the fact that the scores from different reviewers really don’t vary that much. Parker is an easy target because he is the “Gold Standard.” Let’s look at a few wines. 2009 La Lagune (WS 93 to 96, WA 95, IWC 89 to 92. 2005 Leoville Las Cases (WS 100, WA 98, Suckling 98, IWC 95, Wine & Spirits 98). 2009 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (WS 87, WA 91, IWC 89, Wine Enthusiast 91). 2009 Larkmead LMV Salon (WS 94, WA 95+). 2009 Larkmead Solari (WS 91, WA 96). The difference in those scores is less than 5%, which in my opinion is not significant. Some people prefer Honda Accords over a Toyota Camry. At the end of the day, they are both great cars.

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