Parker’s putdowns

robert parker yao 2
Robert Parker (not Tony) standing with Yao Ming (Image removed–see update below)

Robert Parker’s “World Tour” of Asia continues. And while it may be hedonistic fruit bombs poured from the importer “partners” by day, Parker drops the chat room bombs late at night. Evidence #1, comments about the wines Eric Asimov (NYT) and Jon Bonne (SF Chronicle) presented at a panel entitled “Unexpected Napa Valley Wines”:

[see below]

Evidence #2:

[see below]

Eric Asimov then posted in the forum: “This must be an example of the new civility among wine writers that Bob has recommended.”

Oh, snap!

But back to Parker’s hearsay bashing. So which were the wines at the tasting? We turn to Lisa Perrotti-Brown, editor-in-chief, who takes the mic:

[see below]

By two accounts, there was no pinot grigio, rather the Matthiasson white 2012. And there was no cabernet franc, rather the Turley Wine Cellars Library Vineyard Petite Sirah 2011. And what was the “forgettable Cabernet Sauvignon”? Corison 2010.

I wasn’t at the tasting and I haven’t tasted all the wines in the lineup. I will admit, however, that embracing the new, new thing just because it is shiny and new would be silly–better to embrace it because it is good. But what’s wrong with applauding vintners for experimenting with different grapes and different styles in Napa? Making wines that are either lower-priced or go with foods beyond red meat sounds prudent to me for many reasons.

And what of respecting others’ (differing) opinions? It is incredibly rude to dismiss Asimov and Bonné as “alleged to be professional wine writers.” But I am sure they are laughing because it is, well, laughable. Parker takes everything so personally. It’s too bad that Perrotti-Brown sees the world through Parker-colored glasses; you’d think the new regime at the Wine Advocate would be more conciliatory to the broader world, trying to salvage relevancy when Parker rides off in to the sunset once and for all. It’s hard to see consumers having much thirst for bitter, unhinged attacks and ideology in a wine glass.

UPDATE: On Saturday, Robert Parker’s attorney sent me the letter below. As of now, 8:52 AM on March 10, the image and block quotes posted to eRobertParker.com have been removed.

We are intellectual property and litigation counsel to The Wine Advocate, Inc. the owners of all the copyright protected content and information published in The Wine Advocate and on eRobertParker.com.

The Wine Advocate asked that we contact you to demand that Dr. Vino immediately remove content on www.drvino.com that was copied from eRobertParker.com and that blatantly infringes upon our client’s copyright protected content, including (i) the March 6, 2014 post on Dr. Vino found at: www.drvino.com/2014/03/06/parker/#more-13564, which identically copies a photo and text from eRobertParker.com, and (ii) any and all other content posted on Dr. Vino that was copied from eRobertParker.com.

The March 6, 2014 posting on Dr. Vino described herein identically copies a photo and text from various postings to the eRobertParker.com Bulletin Board. The text and photo from these posts to the eRobertParker.com Bulletin Board are copyright protected and owned by The Wine Advocate. The copying or republishing of this content is expressly prohibited by our client. By copying and displaying this content on the Dr. Vino website, Dr. Vino is directly infringing upon our client’s copyright protected content.

In light of the above, we must demand that Dr. Vino immediately (i) remove the photo and text from the March 6, 2014 post that includes our client’s copyright protected content, (ii) remove any and all other content posted on Dr. Vino that was copied from eRobertParker.com and (iii) provide us with your written confirmation that this infringing content has been removed. While this is a matter of significant concern to our clients, we trust that this matter can be swiftly and amicably resolved. We look forward to your response by no later than March 10, 2014.

Very truly yours,
David Albert

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27 Responses to “Parker’s putdowns”


  1. Good stuff Tyler. Mr. Parker enjoys high alcohol wines. Proof is in his prose.


  2. Every time I read Parker and others get their undies in a bunch like this, the only thing I can think is how boring they must eat.

    Our house drinks both styles. Mostly the wines Parker hates but wines he loves as well. It depends on the food. Beefy grilled hanger, flank, flap, skirt, etc. with roasted potatoes or sweet potato fries? A Parker-style wine is great. But that’s once a month. Not all the freakin’ time.


  3. I have to wonder if Parker is falling into the Tea Party/Fox News modus operandi…the wine world is changing before his eyes and in a way whereby much of power and influence that he once enjoyed is being transferred it to a younger generation with a different and diverse set of values and opinions on what makes a “good wine”. The reaction is to lash out, talk out of both sides of your mouth, and try to discredit those who oppose your way of thinking, often without any basis in fact or reality. And when that doesn’t work, just yell louder than the next guy. While I’m not a big fan of the method, it has provided a very profitable business model for Fox News. Maybe this is a calculated move by the new owners of TWA to build the subscriber base? I doubt it, but I have to admit, while I dropped my subscription a few years ago, I’m tempted to re-join just so I can watch the circus.


  4. Yet another slow news day for wine writers everywhere.


  5. Very funny stuff. The Neil Young references always seemed a little incongruous with Parker but now I can see the connection: they’re both very angry men.


  6. Well said Spencer and Steve Thank you, Tyler


  7. What Roger said.

    But Tyler – you won’t criticize these wines because you haven’t tasted them, yet you don’t hesitate to slam wines served at the White House when you haven’t tasted either the wines or the dishes they’re served with. Politics over consistency? You should move down here to DC. ;-)


  8. Any truth to the rumor that Robert Parker and Chris Christie are actually the same person?


  9. Many great points here, but way wrong on one level. :)

    WA won’t have problems because of their particular ideology or unwillingness to change from it (they may for other reasons)…consumers want opinions, and largely the stronger the better. Remember, these are the days when an “in the middle” CNN loses all its viewers, with everyone going over to either fox or msnbc. In the days of a fairly educated group of enthusiasts (be it politics or fermented grape juice), they largely want to hear what they already believe, with specifics for vintage etc. In many aspects of society, the more dogmatic, the more hardcore the followers…try to find a cable news host who politely covers both sides of the argument. You won’t, they were fired a few years ago.

    All the writers seem largely the same…some trash “Parker” wines and he trashes those who trash “Parker” wines, the only myth is that anyone really likes them all:) It’s surprising he called out by name, but then again, when a writer blasts blousy, alcoholic, fruitbomb milkshakes, they don’t have to say a name for you to know exactly who they’re talking about, but it won’t get the same press. Very easy to find just as dogmatic opinions on the other side of the argument, from smart, successful writers with the opposite opinion of RP, and many who have just as openly criticized his work as he has criticized theirs.

    In food, people will believe that though they may happen to loath green peppers, other reasonable people may love them, it’s just personal preference. In wine criticism, there doesn’t seem to be that same respect.

    One correction. Pickles. No reasonable person likes pickles. :)


  10. I long ago stopped my subscription to the Wine Advocate. I appeciated reading reviews of so many different wines around the world, but Parker’s tastes and mine did not always coincide. I frequently bought a Parker-recommended wine, often at great cost, and ended up shaking my head in puzzlement. On the other hand, I have always found that the recommendations of Eric Asimov (note that his name was misspelled above as “Asinov”. A typo?) were spot on. And, as an amateur chef, I also appreciate the wine pairing column that accompanies the NYTimes biweekly panel tasting. But maybe I just like Asimov because he is Isaac’s nephew.


  11. Those high acid wines Mr. Parker denounces are the favorites at my house. Keep your 15% cabernet and zinfandel. I’ll take a GG riesling, low yield pinot grigio, Champagne, Sancerre, or chenin any day.I’m an old world girl, but I certainly wouldn’t demonize anyone for drinking differently than I do. And, the 2 – 3% difference in high and lower alcohol wines are the difference in getting up feeling well the next morning and not regretting that fourth glass.


  12. Every time this stereotype of a thin-skinned bully lashes out and throws one of his increasingly histrionic digital temper tantrums another 10,000 young wine consumers tune him out as some doddering, out of touch crank.

    Rage, rage against the dying of the light all you can, Bob. However, the light switch on you and your grotesque hedonistic fruit bombs is still being turned off more and more every day.


  13. I was a bit flabbergasted to have Robert Parker mention that I agree with him. Though, admittedly, it never hurts to have Parker mention my blog creation, the HoseMaster. My satire about the Napa Valley “Professional” Wine Writers Symposium was aimed at the endless, and mostly whimpering, parade of articles deconstructing his speech, most very poorly expressed, not at the styles of wine recently labeled as the New California Wine. Which aren’t new at all, not by any stretch, only gaining more attention. The use of “New” is just aimed at selling product and lifestyle.

    When it comes to wine, it pays not to paint with a broad brush–that’s the job of comedy. There are a lot of new wine categories that defy common sense–“Natural wines,” “In Pursuit of Balance wines,” “Fringe wines.” I don’t care what category in which a wine is placed, I care if it delivers pleasure. My agenda is to point out all the drivel that passes for wine writing these days. Especially my own.


  14. Mr. Parker seems to be taking on the path of a late-period Orson Wells, in both appearance and a painful to watch atrophied decline.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFevH5vP32s


  15. Well Dr. Vino, it seems that Mr.Parker has now set his sights on putting you down….

    [comment edited to remove Parker's comment per request of his attorney--ed.]

    Another poster has found his statement above more than a little bit ironic. Wine tastes that fit in a Little box??? Like a 15 percent alcohol California cabernet, CdP or Red Bordeaux?


  16. Parker is the gift that keeps on giving, pretty amazing really.


  17. The takedown notice from Wine Advocate’s lawyer is bogus. “Fair Use” expressly allows you to use snippets, quotes and subsets of copyrighted material for the purpose of commentary and review, which (as far as I can tell, since I got here after the takedown) is what you were doing. Abuse of copyright should not be tolerated.


  18. So shark, Very jumped. Wow!


  19. I think he just didn’t want anyone looking at those massive man-boobs he’s grown. Jesus, Bob. Mix in a frickin’ piece of fish sometime.

    The whole thing brings up that very famous paradox: If Robert Parker throws a tantrum in Asia does a millennial in North America hear it?


  20. Tyler, this is bullying, plain and simple. How is quoting published material from eBob or TWA any different than when wineries, importers, retailers and marketers quote ratings and tasting notes?


  21. @Tish- Retailers and the like are supposed to pay for a more expensive account with the right to reproduce those reviews, etc on their websites, in store, etc.


  22. Tyler, you should check out this opinion by another wine lawyer: http://lexvini.blogspot.com/2014/03/parker-bloggers-and-fair-use.html


  23. @ Kristen

    Dr Vino did not publish reviews.

    He published quotes…many of which also appears at David White’s Terroirist blog…even quotes from people at the Wine Advocate themselves.

    Just crazy.

    Another black eye for the WA.


  24. @Kristen, good point. I had forgotten all about that episode in As the Wine Advocate Rolls. Fortunately, Dr. Vino was on the mark then as well. (His post http://www.drvino.com/2013/05/17/wine-advocate-new-subscription-terms-trade/ ). We will never know how many retailers actually paid/pay a higher subscription rate in order to play by TWA’s rules.

    Of course, once upon a time, The Wine Advocate had a chunk of legalish fine print on the bottom of the front cover stating that re-use of ratings/notes had to be accompanied by a written reference to the Issue Date and/or Issue #. One wonders how different the wine scene would be today if he had continued enforcing such a policy. If it could be enforced.


  25. From Lawrence Osborne’s The Accidental Connoisseur:

    In a Paris Match interview, Parker offered as proof of his success “…the fact that my work has been successful in many different countries, and my books have been translated into numerous foreign languages, in many cases becoming best-sellers.” Consumers worldwide, he pointed out, “have tended to agree with my thoughts.”

    It is this claim of infallibility that among other things justifies his 100-point system. It is no wonder, then, that he is incapable of tolerating dissent. It not only wrecks his business model, it takes away the justification for his entire career as a wine critic.


  26. Tyler, I see that my posted quote from Big Bob was also deleted. So even though I WAS a member of the Squires Board when it was posted, my words needed to be incinerated too? Good GOD what assholes these idiots are.


  27. Parker’s reaction to his first sip of Domaine Magnatrus is evidence of the merit of his scoring system.


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