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Miscellanea

2011 June 8
by Mike

Burn, Baby, Burn: Bordeaux sees another hot, dry spring.

And Pigs Will Fly: Robert Parker urges Bordelais to drop prices for 2010 vintage by 10-20 percent. Says Bordeaux is “epicenter of the greatest wines”, disavows any personal responsibility for spiraling prices.

Five-Finger Discount: Woman busted for changing barcodes on bottles of Pétrus at French supermarket, replacing them with labels for $3.65 wine.

One Pricey Mimosa: Bottle of Veuve Clicquot salvaged from 19th century shipwreck sells for $43,900, record price for bottle of Champagne.

11 Responses leave one →
  1. June 13, 2011

    Exactly, Keith. He wants to pose as the consumer advocate, but also wants to retain his position as the kingmaker. He can’t have it both ways: he can either serve the interests of consumers, or he can serve the interests of the chateaux. As far as I can tell, no one takes him seriously now when he decries Bordeaux pricing, and that’s because there’s a big disconnect between his words and his actions.

  2. June 13, 2011

    Parker: “I’m aware by giving an evaluation I have an influence on the positioning pricing in the international market place, but there’s nothing I could do about it.” How about not giving the evaluation until after the wine goes on sale and consumers have the chance to buy if they want?

  3. mauss permalink
    June 10, 2011

    If you have some knowledge in classical music, we may say that now Parker is like the hero of Paul Dukas : “L’apprenti sorcier” (sorry, I do not find the title in english).

    It is simply too late for him to speak now about the price ‘ inflation in Bordeaux. He creates this situation, now fully outside his control. He deserves a Nobel Prize for marketing such a region !

  4. Jack Bulkin permalink
    June 9, 2011

    Parker’s recent comments only gave him an opportunity to state to his subscribers that “I tried but they didn’t listen.” To cover his ass, so to speak. He is partially at fault for this execrise of greed by the Chateaux but he is only an enabler with his high VOC points year after year but not the sole determiner of how much they could or should charge for these over priced bottles of grape juice.
    I am amused that Jeff Leve the great Bordeaux shill and apologist has admitted buying some of these high cost cases for his own cellar. He writes and blogs all year to toot the horn of always higher Bordeaux prices for all to read and now most who know him no longer care or listen due to the enormity of these price hikes for juice. He did spend his own dough apparently, so good for him. Let’s see how that works out for him. I find it all laughable now. Some collectors are showing absolute outrage as if they are forced to pay these absurd prices. No one is forced to meet these exhorbitant demands by the Chateaux and we all should just say no.

  5. Bill Klapp permalink
    June 9, 2011

    The biggest fraud, however, was all of Parker’s early tough talk about calling them as he sees them, no producer safe from his wrath, gonna clean up every dirty cellar in Europe and make the producers let their grapes hang until early March to make sure that no green, tannic, acidic wines are made, blah, blah, blah. Burgundy, Brunello and other strong wines that generally sport ripe fruit balanced by adequate acidity, the best of which use new oak judiciously, if at all, took it in the shorts. The wines manipulated by his good buddy Michel Rolland, originally in Bordeaux and now wherever grapes are grown, his good buddy Riccardo Cotarella in Italy, and damn near everybody in Napa and Sonoma who wants make money selling wine have always been seen as wonderful to Parker’s simplistic, lowest-common-denominator palate, and he has so called them. Where are all of those first-growth Bordeaux from strong vintages that Parker slapped with 87s and called on the carpet for underperforming? Do not spend too much time looking for those few needles in the Wine Advocate haystack…

  6. June 9, 2011

    Francois and Bill,

    You are both exactly right. Too little, too late. He wants it both ways–he wants to remain kingmaker, and to have his scores used to set prices, and then he wants to pivot and play consumer advocate, tut-tutting the greed of the Bordelais.

  7. mauss permalink
    June 8, 2011

    This reaction of Parker is coming simply too late, especially after the crazy inflation of his own scores which did justify, in view of many producers, the increase in price they ask for their wines.

    Now, you will see that this last minute commitment will have a zero effect on actual price’ philosophy.

    If he really want to have some effect on the business, the only way is simply to not publish any scores about Bordeaux wines in the future. Et encore ! Not sure it will have an effect about the fashion for Bordeaux for which he is a first rank actor.

  8. June 8, 2011

    I think this sarcastic tweet sums up Parker’s weird position nicely: http://twitter.com/#!/bparkerchuk/status/78498638560641024

    His self-image as a consumer advocate has run smack into the fact (which he scarcely bothers to deny) that his largesse with points has jacked Bordeaux prices and hurt consumers. How does he reconcile this conflict? With cognitive dissonance of course!

    Cheers,

    Bill

  9. June 8, 2011

    Great questions. I think he could have played a more active role in keeping prices in check. The jawboning hasn’t worked in the past, and it probably won’t work now, either. He was quick to rebuff Jancis Robinson’s suggestion a few months ago that all critics delay releasing scores until after opening prices were announced, so there is only so far he’s apparently willing to go with this issue. I suspect the Bordelais will ignore his words and, as usual, use his scores to justify the prices.

  10. June 8, 2011

    Does it make Parker a hypocrite to say Bordeaux is overpricing its wine? Is it possible that saying this will have an effect on prices at all?

    I know Bordeaux has ridden Parker for awhile, but it’d be interesting to see how the Bordelaise reacts if he starts dishing out criticism. Perhaps they will just go elsewhere for free praise to prop up their insane prices.

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