Parker blasts wine bloggers: “the bar is so damn low”

Robert Parker once derided bloggers as “blobbers.” Another time, he couldn’t bring himself to mention Jim Budd by name (referring to him only as “this blogger“). Now, he has once again taken to his bulletin board to blast bloggers, saying “the bar is so damn low.”

He rightly praises the HoseMaster of Wine for being hilarious. He says that Hosey has “the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody”–that’s great that Parker was laughing through “PARKENSTEIN” and the jokes about Miller and Pancho Campo. Then Parker declares that HoseMaster should be the “Blogger of the Year,” adding, “although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year.”

Maybe wine bloggers should award more wines 100-point scores to boost their credibility? Of note: Parker just gave 17 wines from the Northern Rhone 100-point scores. Apparently, that makes 53 wines that he awarded a perfect score to in 2012 (Galloni, for his part, handed out scores of 96 points or more to 160 wines in his most recent Napa reviews).

But the HoseMaster already lampooned the idea of perfect scores in an episode of PARKENSTEIN. Since Parker likes HoseMaster so much, we’ll give Hosey the last word:

I invented perfect wines when I invented my 100 point scale. Until I came along, there were no perfect wines. I know perfect wines, and I’m telling you there are 19 perfect wines from the 2009 vintage. How do I define a perfect wine? I’ve always said that greatness is defined in wine by (1) the wine’s ability to stimulate the palate and the intellect in the 90 seconds I devote to deciding it’s perfect; (2) the difficulty normal people will have in obtaining it; (3) the ability to improve with age, especially financially; (4) me. The 2009’s indisputably meet these guidelines.

Much has changed since I first began reviewing wines professionally some 35 years ago. And by “professionally,” I mean I paid to have my notes published myself. I didn’t know crap about wine. Yet despite decades of being the King of Wine, admired and feared by everyone in the wine business; despite countless honors bestowed upon me by the French government, including a Lifetime Pass to Paris Disneyland and the much-coveted French Liver Society’s “Lesion of Honor;” and despite 35 years of tasting 150 wines a day, my palate and methods remain unchanged. Why would they change?

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19 Responses to “Parker blasts wine bloggers: “the bar is so damn low””

  1. Tyler,
    Yikes. I’ve been Knighted by His Majesty. You may address me as Sir HoseMaster. One does have to admit that Parker is not humorless. But I’m not happy with him butting in on my insulting wine bloggers. However, he must really be retired if he’s actually reading them.

    Well, I may as well hang it up now. I’ve reached the pinnacle of the wine blogosphere. Maybe I’ll just commit suicide and blog for Wine Spectator.

  2. Parker has always been a thin-skinned bully. He can dish it out, but he whines like a frickin’ baby at the slightest criticism. The reality is that many of you bloggers have far greater experience and industry credibility than RMP did when he started his 1970s version of a blog–i.e. a self-published newsletter.

    Also, for Parker to call anyone on the planet–other than maybe Charlie Weis–a blob is ridiculous.

    Seriously, Bob. Just go the hell away. Nobody–at least in the major metro markets–is paying attention to you anymore, so take your tired act and see if some nouveau riche Chinese with more money than class are willing to keep your paper blog going.

  3. I find it interesting that Parker has publicly recognized pretty much only two blogs, HMW and 1WD (when he agreed to an interview I did with him a couple of years ago). And in both cases, those are blogs that took him seriously to task in previous posts. So he’s either not really a thin- skinned bully, or he doesn’t read very far back through previous posts, or he makes his determinations on blogs even more cursorily than he does the wines he rates, or… Damn, done lost my train of thought…

    Oh, and apologies to Ron for calling HMW a blog! 🙂

  4. The real problem is that the bar is too damned low for wine newsletters. Don’t get me started on The Wine Advocate’s ghastly coverage of Spanish wines.

  5. Ron, actually Parker has been Hosing his clueless lemmings and shelf talking dependent spendthrifts since before you became an adult. He is the first Hosemaster of wine. You are the King of the Hoseblobbing Universe. It takes a Hoser to lover a Hoser.

  6. Take that, Ron, Parker has reduced you to being, albeit the King, to a mere Hoseblobber. I mean there is no comparison between being King of the Hoseblobbers and being King of the Hosers. Ron, I hope you don’t presume to achieve such lofty heights as rubbing elbows (and bank accounts) with such wine titans as Pancho Campo (ex M.W.), because that is one Hell of dizzying height, especially to fall from.

  7. It’s all down hill from here Hose. It was nice while it lasted, but you’ll be doing keynotes ala GV with an agent and everything.


  8. I detect the keen aromatics of sour grapes.
    The low bar that is bumming Parker may not be the wine writing, but the wine consumption. A lot has changed since the 70’s when the WA served a cloister at the core of the US wine market. The consumer volume has grown steadily, and while many “great” wines are being made, the majority consumed are “good” wines. By folks who either don’t know, or don’t care who Parker is, or do care but accept that they will likely not experience any of his 95+ scored wines in their lifetimes, and don’t aspire to, because he’s not talking to them.
    The world of wine has grown, and RP was influential in making that happen, but it has grown beyond his ability to influence it at scale. He does not speak directly to the masses, only loudly to his wealthy cadre, while the 90 – 91 scores fall as shelf talkers to we blog dogs like scraps from the king’s table. By throwing out more 100 point scores it kind like he’s writing reviews in all caps, in the hope that those who have ears will hear of and adhere to his divine right of criticism, and to his chosen heirs.
    In denigrating bloggers, he denigrates the consumer bases that they speak to, as not being fit for consumption. It’s OK, I think that they would get a lot more out of the Hosemaster anyway.

  9. I agree with Todd’s comment: In denigrating bloggers, he denigrates the consumer bases that they speak to, as not being fit for consumption. It’s OK, I think that they would get a lot more out of the Hosemaster anyway.

    I think a lot of people have not understood the change from “top-down Master-student” models to a more “peer-to-peer” model in terms of information exchange.

    As a matter of interest, does RP state how the bar should be set? Is it by qualification? If so, how many does he have? Is it by experience? If so, who then assesses your experience level? Surely blogs are literally that – a log of one’s thoughts and opinions, and surely everyone’s entitled to state opinions, within bounds of taste (don’t call a wine crap if it isn’t), reason (if you can’t back up what you say then is it worth saying?) and honesty (be careful who pays for the trips ahem).

    Sounds like the bitterness of a guy who didn’t realise that his time was up!

  10. I’d love to see Parker review wine blogs, complete with ratings on the 100-point scale.

    If he hates your blog: 93
    If he despises your blog: 92
    If he thinks your blog is pathetic garbage: 91
    If he thinks your blog is subliminal messages from Satan that will lead you to mass murder: (89-91)
    If he thinks your blog is dull but shows good grammar and spelling: 98+

  11. Apparently, he wants the lifetime copyright on wine critique. It’s a shame, really. At one time, he was parting the curtain for all of us. Now he’s the one behind the curtain.

  12. It’s like Robert Parker has become the Wine Industry’s crusty old grandpa. “Turn off that infernal internet! When I was your age, we printed newsletters!”

  13. Gabe,

    I always thought that was Charles Olken: standing on his porch in his underwear screaming at the Europeans to get off his lawn.

  14. […] response to the story on Dr. Vino, one commenter described Parker as, “a thin-skinned bully. He can dish it out, but he whines […]

  15. Todd hit it on the head. There’s a niche group of wealthy folks who will continue to rely on Parker to guide the benjamins out of their pockets, and into the hands of the rich lawyer who payed a few million to establish a “cult” brand.

    As Dermot and other commenters have expressed, the value of RP’s opinion is declining in circles; there’s a shift in the way people perceive things in the wine industry now, which is evident from these and other responses I’ve read lately.

  16. […] for the bar being “so damn low” for wine blogs, as Robert Parker recently put it, I’d refer you to an insightful comment left on by Todd Trzaskos: “In […]

  17. Using Parker’s supposed (lots of anecdotes, no hard facts) decline in influence among a tiny set of wine geeks in a few (couple?) of cities as evidence that he is irrelevant is wishful thinking at best. Like him, hate him, ignore him…whatever. Where’s the real evidence that his influence on the market as a whole is truly on the wane? Meaning the world, not just the cool kids downtown or the, um, blobbers. The fact that hipster shops in NYC and SF disdain him means nothing in the grand scheme of things They’ve shunned him for a while anyway. You want to talk about market power? Start talking Total, Calvert-Woodley, Sherry-Lehmann, Morrell’s, Zachy’s, Binny’s, Spec’s, B-21, BevMo and so on. They haven’t given up on the guy. The little shops are relative pissants in this game.

  18. No question about his market presence, Wino. His efficacy is not the question; his siege mentality is.

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