Larger than life: Profiling Parker

What do you mean when you say ‘Bordeaux needs to have a reckoning’?

RobertParkerWell, I have been going there since 1979 and 1982 en primeur was the threshold event in my life. But the point is you could buy futures of 1982 in 1983 at remarkably fair prices. And by the time they came onto the market they were at a higher price. And that [price appreciation] continued for two to three to four years. But then the châteaux started raising the prices higher and higher, so you were being asked to pay prices for unbottled wines two years before you received them – prices that will essentially be the same when they come out. And they could actually even drop. We’ve seen this trend for the last 20 years. I always told the Bordelais that I have no problem if you are going to charge an extraordinary price for a great vintage – we know 2005s, 2009s, 2010s are great – but when you have a so-so vintage, this is when you can really build market share, and they have lost market share. They’ve lost consumers and restaurants. You go to an American restaurant now and there is very little Bordeaux on the list. 2011 was a mediocre vintage that was overpriced, 2012 was a little bit better vintage that was still overpriced, 2013 was generally a poor vintage and was overpriced, and now we have 2014, and I think they recognise they have a backlog of unsold Bordeaux. I think the en primeur market, except in a great, great vintage, is largely moribund, largely dead, for now. If prices would drop 20-30% across the board, then I think interest would be rekindled, but they won’t like to hear that.

One Response to “Larger than life: Profiling Parker”

  1. Cyrene says:

    A Hard-working man, modest, with a solid sense of humor, who love wines and food, with a true dignity and a sense of honesty that most journalists could only dream of. He did a lot for the world, getting dozens of millions to understand and aprreciate wine. Thank you Sir Robert, for what you have done and for always being true to your word. The wine world owes you a colossal statue to show its gratitude.

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