Skip to content

Schildknecht: Miller Not Leaving Wine Advocate on Account of Spain Controversy

2011 December 5
by Mike

A short while ago, David Schildknecht emailed me to say that Jay Miller decided back in January to leave The Wine Advocate at the end of this year and that last night’s announcement of his pending departure was not prompted by the recent controversy in Spain. Here is David’s email, published with his permission:

When Bob Parker discussed with me in January the plan for Antonio Galloni to assume responsibility for covering the Côte d’Or and Chablis, he informed me that Jay had decided to retire at the end of this year and asked me to mull over the inevitable need that would arise for someone new to cover the Pacific Northwest. On August 4, I formally accepted the latter assignment.

Realizing that the conclusion would be drawn in the press that we had scrambled to react to circumstances on short notice, I wanted to let you know – at the risk of arousing new suspicions on your parts about my veracity! -  that this was not the case.

I realize too, that Bob’s having today written that “[a]fter several months of consideration, Big Jay … has decided to return to wine consulting” might well be interpreted as referring to recent deliberations. Nevertheless, they were not at all recent.

An e-mail record confirming the upshot of my January conversations with Bob does not exist until my August 4 acceptance of new responsibilities, in which I refer to those January conversations.

In that August 4 communication, Bob officially asked me to declare my intentions about covering Oregon and Washington after “Jay['s] retiring the end of 2011 (not announced)” The first sentence in my reply reads, “You mentioned this to me in January on the phone, so I am at least psychologically prepared!” Neal’s assumption of Spanish coverage is not mentioned in that email but is implicit in the exchange, as he was formally asked at this time to take on that assignment. I am sure that Neal’s records—if not from August, then from very soon thereafter—will confirm this.

On November 4, Bob emailed me and Neal together to let us know on what day (December 5) he would be posting his bi-monthly run-down on the new issue’s contents and simultaneously making the announcement about staff changes and our new assignments.

51 Responses leave one →
  1. March 23, 2014

    The strengthening fundamentals were underscored by other data on
    Thursday showing the biggest jump in a year sound like to you?
    Analyse the picture created and healthcare & rehab of sanford then plan
    your course of action available to the end-users
    either as a preloaded versions or are available for investment, with exchanges specialising in related product areas.
    It healthcare & rehab of sanford may be the floating market for you.

    Remember that EACH trading idea can have no more than 7.

  2. September 22, 2013

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m trying to achieve my goals. I certainly enjoy reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the stories coming. I liked it!

  3. Bill Haydon permalink
    December 12, 2011

    Mike, Upon reflection, I do tend to agree with your latter assessment if for no other reason that bringing this situation to light and publicizing it among wine professionals and consumers at large can only hasten the demise of the stranglehold that publication has had on wine criticism if not winegrowing as a whole.

    What’s interesting is that when the same controversy arose with Parker’s own personal fixer in Bordeaux it was shrugged off as the agent going rogue. Now, we have an almost virtual (in fact worse) repeat in Spain. At best, I think it can be argued that TWA’s business model opens themselves up to–if not tacitly encouraging–such scenarios. At worst, it calls deeply into question the integrity of TWA itself regarding access to getting reviewed and possibly the reviews themselves.

  4. December 12, 2011

    Chris, thanks for stopping by, and for the comparison. That’s interesting, and perhaps Paul, if he happens to be reading any of this, will comment. From what I could see, it was Miller’s Spanish scores that were the most controversial. He gave out a lot of big numbers in Spain, and many people felt that the scores were very inflated. I personally think that grade inflation is a problem with wine criticism in general these days–as I’ve talked about before, there are all sorts of incentives now to bump up the numbers.

    Bill, those are interesting observations. I’ve certainly had the sense that his influence was waning, but hadn’t realized that his name has become almost toxic with younger buyers. I know that among younger oenophiles, eschewing ratings and the like is considered a mark of wine savvy, but I hadn’t thought that mentioning Parker could actually hurt a sale. I disagree with you that this doesn’t matter–I think it matters because it appears that people in Spain were fleeced, and I think it is also adding to a more complete and accurate picture of the Parker phenomenon. Not so long ago, news coverage of Parker came in just two varieties: fawning, and more fawning.

  5. Bill Haydon permalink
    December 12, 2011

    As having been utterly dismissive of Robert Parker, his palate, his tasting methodology and his publication long before it became fashionable, I read this controversy and subsequent debate with interest.

    Then it dawned on me….who cares? In the Chicago market, I can say with absolute certainty that Parker carries zero weight among the younger buyers. On premise, he’s an albatross who is mentioned at one’s own peril. Among the neighborhood “fine wine merchants” he carries little to no weight, leaving only the chains (Binny’s, Discount Center and Whole Foods) as the only fine wine outlets to whom his opinions and ratings are still valued.

    Now, I no longer work nationally or regionally, so I don’t know how the influence of RMP and TWA has held up in the Ohios or North Carolinas of the world. Friends in NYC, SF, Boston and DC, however, tell me that their markets have come to conclusions similar to that of Chicago. I can’t help but imagine that the rejection and dismissal of Parker/TWA will not eventually filter down to smaller markets.

    This is a good thing. The King is dead….or at least dying. Let’s hope that there’s not a new one to take his place.

  6. Chris Wallace permalink
    December 12, 2011

    I find it interesting to read the banter about Miller’s score escalation. For some reason that concept never really rang true for me, which I put down to me being just a big fan of Washington State wines. But when I recently read Paul Gregutt mention Miller’s elevated scores on his blog, it got me to thinking. So I went and collected Miller’s scores on the Washington wines that have the greatest interest to me and wrote them down for the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages. The wines I chose were Leonetti Cab, Leonetti Merlot, Quilceda Cab, Woodward Canyon Old Vines, Woodward Canyon Merlot, Andrew Will Sorella, Betz Pere de Famille, Betz La Cote Rousse, Cayuse Bionic Frog and DeLille Chaleur Estate. I then compared Miller’s scores to Paul Gregutt’s scores in the Wine Enthusiast for the exact same wines. There were a total of 32 wines that both had reviewed in that sample over those vintages. Miller racked up a total of 3,017 points for an avg score of 94.28. On the same sample, Gregutt racked up a total of 3,038 points for an average of 94.94 points. I think that Paul Gregutt has to be acknowledged as one of the standard bearers in reviewing WA wine by virtue of his longevity and the breadth of his reviews. Givne the similarity in scores, I question the validity of the claim that Miller has escalted scores on Washington wines. While my sample size is admittedly not exhaustive, I have seen no other statistical comparison to substantiate the inflation claim.

  7. Steve Wilson permalink
    December 9, 2011

    Daniel,

    Agreed. But that hardly precludes better online retailers from standing behind the products they sell with talkers or reviews they generate themselves.

    I’ve sold wine for going on 12 years and know well the power of shelf talkers. No question, they sell a ton of product. 90 point wines always sell better than 89 point wines. The problem is… it’s not actually possible to critique a wine on 100 individual points with any sort of accuracy.

    If you want to witness the “methodology” behind how scores are generated check out James Suckling’s post on youtube. And no, he’s not just pulling numbers (or fractions of numbers) out of thin air. Really…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiZ-_5j6LvU

    Steve

  8. December 9, 2011

    Steve

    In an industry growing in internet strength (despite the resistance from Southern Wines & Spirits and other large wholesalers), so many folks do not even go into wine stores any longer.

  9. Steve Wilson permalink
    December 9, 2011

    Bottom Line… don’t be a spectator, be your own advocate. Points are not scientific, absolute or even slightly insulated from bias. They have become the crutch of lazy wine merchants–my 5-year-old can cut out and hang shelf-talkers but that shouldn’t automatically qualify her to sell wine. Product knowledge should be acquired through experience. Consumers should demand more of wine shops and rely less on talking heads that reek of pain grille and Asian spice box.

  10. December 9, 2011

    I am with Bill Klapp on this. Who decided that blind tasting was the end all, be all?

    I learned back in the early 1980s when I was in one of the first wine tasting groups (of both aficionados and professionales) what happened at our monthly blind tastings. Most of the votes at the end of each tasting (there were usually 12-16 of us) went to the wines with the darkest color, deepest concentration and those “good oak” noses, none of which, IMHO, is necessarily the sign of a great wine. One night, the last night I decided to participate, only myself and one other professional (generally recognized to have a great palate) even gave a wine in a Sauvignon Blanc tasting a single vote and we both placed it first. It was Frog’s Leap SB. Invariably in those tastings, good French wines with balance, finesse, grace and charm lost out to bigger California wines.

    I have been to some 600 bodegas in Spain over my forty years of tasting and to some of the ones I liked I have been to up to a dozen times or more and I have tasted multiple times and have eaten and drunk multiple times with many of Spain’s greatest winemakers, two of whom are among my greatest friends, in or out of wine. The better known of the two knows that I generally do not like his wines because they are too alcoholic, too overblown and, for my taste, too oaky. I tell him so and we discuss the subject of wine for hours over dinner, which he pays for because he is much richer than me by a long shot.

    I spend as much time ferreting out the small, unknown and not imported to the U.S. wines as I do the famous names. I have a particular personal disdain for wineries put up with money made during the boom bubble of the 80s and 90s and who use consultants to achieve a flavor profile that is shockingly in tune with the Robert Parker-Jay Miller model. And I do not like the wines of several American importers who have instructed their wineries to make wines precisely to that model, a model that so many of us have been decrying for years. I have been in a running battle for years with a few of Spain’s most famous winemakers, who know that I dislike their style and say so, but they still give me abrazos when I see them. One of the most famous said to me last year in Barcelona, “See, I finally made a wine for you” (it had only 13.5% and he made it because of his own sensibility, for once.)

    Among my visits, I have been to 50 separate bodegas in the heavy subsidized La Mancha area (and another 30 in el Levante [Valencia, Utiel-Requena, Alicante, Jumilla, etc.), which is an exercise in discipline, to be kind, ten years ago in an area that principally produced very cheap wines and bulk wines from some highly productive grapes. I found that within the first five to ten minutes of talking to the people responsible for the wines coming out of those bodegas, I could tell even before I tasted the wines what I was likely to encounter (in 90% of the cases that was born out). Most of them were spouting stock lines that they had heard were in line with was perceived to be the conventional model for making wines. I was convinced after tasting that few of them had a palate or experience for reference in making good wine.

    As to meeting the winemakers face to face and spending time with them, one soon learns that some of the best and most genuine people make some of the most enjoyable and real wines, so one (this one being me) learns not to cozy up to people whose wines one cannot abide (my great winemaker friend’s wines are not bad, I just do not like the style).

    I feel no guilt whatsoever with being friends with such great winemakers as Gerardo Mendez of Do Ferreiro ( I tell him I prefer his regular Albariño to his more extracted old vines Albariño), to my great friend Basilio Izquierdo (the winemaker at Cune for 30 yrs. who now makes his own B. de Basilio) that, even though I think he has made the best white wine (outside of old Lopez de Heredia) that I have ever tasted in La Rioja, I still would prefer less alcohol (than the current 14%+) and I tell my favorite producer of Godello to stop fooling around with barrel fermentation and battonage and let the grape and the slate terroir do the talking.

    In my travels, I have frequently heard the phrase, “I am trying to make a wine that the market is asking for.” I cup my hand to my ear (in front of them), as if I were trying to hear that market calling. I cut my wine teeth tasting, drinking and selling the great wines from Colonel Frederick Wildman’s palate, from the palate of the great Gerald Asher, and from the palate of Robert Haas (and also as a friend, Henry Cavalier) and I sold the best of California from 1975 to 1994. One thing that the companies I worked for had in common was that except for some cheaper volume wines (and then seldom) did they ask their producers to make “a wine that the market was asking for.” They may have told a producer what he thought of a particular wine or vintage and how he might make it better, but not how to re-condition the wine for the market. Their palates were their market and they sold their palates, not some bastardized versions of wines they they themselves could not abide.

    The modus operandi of those famous winemen was to go to a region, taste the wines–sometimes discovering possible new producers on regional restaurant wine lists, then going to the producer to taste his or her wines–bring them to the States from France or Italy or Spain or back from California and tell people why such wines were good enough to have the names and reputations of Frederick Wildman, Gerald Asher and Robert Haas behind them. Believe me, they were not selecting wines from blind tastings except the blind tastings they did from different barrels of vineyard lots in a Burgundy cellar.

    The other advantage of tasting from cellar to cellar is that you seldom get palate fatigue – - unless you go with somebody like Bobby Kacher, which I once did, tasting 110 wines in one day, including several with 200% new oak!! My tongue tasted like it had been dragged through the leavings of the midnight shift at a sawmill!

    Some of the wines (Spanish) that I taste (and drink) for articles come from samples sent to me from importers, some at the request of the Wines From Spain to my home, where I taste as few as one, as many as six at a time, normally before dinner. I make my notes before tasting a bite of food, then continue with the wines with food. Those that do not improve with food tend to take a back seat to those that do as I continue making notes through dinner and even after the food is gone.

    These notes supplement the notes I take from my extensive travels in Spain. I just did 4,000 kilometers in October (without Pancho Campo’s help) taking Napa Valley Bottega Chef Michael Chiarello and his Exec Chef Ryan Mcilwaithe on a gastronomic research trip across Spain. We visited several wineries and ate with several winemakers during the course of the trip. Though it is tedious, I even make notes on wines in Michelin-starred restaurants. And, on two other trips this year, I visited scores of bodegas–2,500 kms. in June–tasting scores of wines of some 30-35 bodegas and more than a score of Godellos for an article I just finished for Sommelier Journal.

    That is how I do it. Others have a different system. Jay Miller obviously had his. Pardon me if I am not in total awe of blind tasting 50 wines at a sitting in an artificially-lighted room or tasting them at a dog-and-pony show where I am being paid 10,000 Euros for my “expertise.”

  11. Bill Klapp permalink
    December 9, 2011

    Greg, you owe us a thousand words or so on why Mauss is “dead on the money with his suggestion of blind tasting”. Since we know that Parker cannot blind taste his way out of a paper bag (pardon the pun, if indeed that is what it is), and has done so only a handful of times in the past 30+ years, almost always coming to a bad end, I am trying to decide if your Parker sentence is so cynical and ironic that even I cannot grasp it, or if there is a defense of blind tasting lurking there somewhere. I suggested that he is beating a dead horse, and the VERY famous Gerry Dawes and our host are in agreement, at least in part. (On the whole, we are like a bunch of frigging U.S. Supreme Court justices around here. Even if we seem to agree, there are always separate concurring opinions issued, along with some of that “concur in part, dissent in part” quibbling!) You owe us a cogent retort. Failing that, I will be forced to declare myself right and you wrong. And as you can guess, I am leaning that way already!

    As to David’s WA/OR appointment, I am sure that he will do fine. Unfortunately, no serious wine collector will care. There are few, if any, great wines emerging from either state, and no evidence that any producer in the Pacific Northwest is hot on the trail of greatness. (Sorry, Charlie (Smith)!) As to Neal Martin’s appointment to ANYTHING, I have grave doubts. It is hard to tell whether Martin can taste worth a damn or not. His bretty, Britty cleverness gets in the way of meaningful wine communication most of the time. And his tasting notes (“a touch of Kaffir lime tinged with linden flower, with almond paste and marzipan notes”…paraphrased, but he really published that) are absurd flights of fantasy. (He apparently does not know that marzipan IS almond paste, unless he would have us believe that his gifts are such that he can distinguish between sweetened and unsweetened almond paste in a white Bordeaux.) Makes one nostalgic for the old-school Brit notes which often seemed to be describing Bardot nude rather than wine, and could tie it off nicely with pedestrian but heartfelt turns of phrase like, “A lovely wine indeed!” Who cares if they were all on the take? At least they could speak the English language! If Martin is to be Parker’s successor in Bordeaux, then the Wine Advocate should bend over and kiss its own ass goodbye right now. (Interesting image, eh?)

  12. Gregt permalink
    December 8, 2011

    “Worse, many cannot write, spell or punctuate, and, among those that can, the majority write far better than they think, and think far better than they research the facts, with the result being an extreme garbage-in, garbage-out situation. . .”

    That’s why we love Klapp. Personally, I’m glad the whole affair has come to a close. It seemed weird as hell that a reviewer actually had to be told to go and visit the region he writes about. Then, when it would have been perfectly sensible to contact a few wineries or even trade organizations to set up some meetings (and maybe read a few books or God forbid, blogs), the reviewer hooks up with a flim flam man. That’s just not the way the WA gained credibility in the first place, as Bob happily went to France and learned whatever he could.

    Of course, in short order, people figured out how to tilt the odds in their favor. Not payoffs either and I’m not implying that – there were simpler and cheaper ways to do it. For those of us who sat with producers figuring out strategies, the amazing thing was that they were fairly predictable in their consequences. Obviously you have to show a competent wine, but at the end of the day, there’s a big difference between say, 88 and 90 points, or 89 and 91.

    I think Mauss is dead on the money with his suggestion of blind tasting. It’s exactly what Bob preached for years and he himself put forth the rationale for blind tasting very clearly. Unlike some of my amigos, I think Squires is actually a competent critic and I’m surprised that he wasn’t given the whole Iberian portfolio. It’s true that he doesn’t taste blind but only someone with his prickliness would be able to convincingly state that he wouldn’t be influenced by a label. He is however, a rare bird in that respect.

    Overall I think that the WA has never had a clue about Spain. Bob came to it well after he was already a known quantity and had developed a great deal of expertise in Bordeaux and the Rhone. But he dealt with it as a single region, when in reality it’s roughly the same size as France. Then he championed a few producers who were working along the same lines as Turley and others in Napa – i.e. bigger is better. I don’t fault them for that and I don’t think they damaged wine in any way, I think it was a natural expression of ambition, curiosity, personal taste, and competition. Some of those wines were and are glorious. But their efforts also spawned and continue to nourish a backlash. Both sides have become increasingly strident and now we have a very unfortunate polarity in Spain and elsewhere. Jay fed into that with his 100 point 100 year ratings. He had no idea how the wines would develop and hadn’t had many, or maybe any, of those 97+ wines when they came out 10 or 15 years earlier. The people who knew dismissed him and the people who didn’t came to find out.

    So after all this, what does Bob do? Assigns it to someone with zero knowledge of Spanish wine. I have no axe to grind with Neal and I actually like him. But can you imagine assigning Bordeaux to someone who hadn’t really had much from the right bank, maybe had heard of some first growths, but said that overall he didn’t really care for the region? And of course, we’re back to the same thing – the entirety of Spain is not a region. I wish Neal well and he did the right thing by announcing that he’s going to cover Spain by region. He’s a “post-Parker” reviewer in that he’s coming to a country that has for better or worse been colored in the minds of many, including perhaps himself, as a place full of “Parkerized” wines. So he’s in a tough spot. If he tastes and likes Termanthia, he’s a lover of overdone fruit bombs. If he backs away from it and praises Rioja Alta 890, he’s a “traditionalist” and those wines appeal only to the anti-flavor elite. It would be great if he tasted blind, but I don’t see that happening.

    Pancho is no doubt on to his next deal. I’ll take David’s word for the way things fell out. And also wish him well in his coverage of WA and OR.

  13. December 8, 2011

    The Cafe du Monde coffee explains a lot about you, Klapp, which reminds me that, since my local store stopped carrying the stuff, I have to order some more from New Orleans. Please e-mail me at gerrydawes@aol.com and we can exchange some thoughts that might be better left in private.

    In the meantime, this may amuse you: According to Recently “Retired” Spanish wine critic Jay Miller of Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate, Great Wine Can Be Equated to Pornography http://www.gerrydawesspain.com/2011/12/whether-i-am-in-front-of-great-porno-or.html

    Somehow, I can’t see you comparing Cafe du Monde coffee to porno in an interview to The New York Times of Catalunya, but who knows. Differnet strokes for different folks.

  14. Bill Klapp permalink
    December 8, 2011

    Gerry, thanks, but in truth, Mike, who is also a fan, has graciously arranged several multi-book deals for me, and I have turned them all down. I could do the writing, but the death threats that I regularly receive for my posts on wine boards suggest to me that the book signing tours would be too dangerous. (To his credit, David has always used his real name when issuing such death threats, and even engages me mano a mano and thread by thread.)

    I don’t mean to hurt Mike’s feelings, but as I see it, wine blogging has a much shorter shelf life than the Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, International Wine Cellar, Burghound and the other pay-for-play journals. The overwhelming majority of bloggers are motivated by the need for attention, not the subject matter that they purport to embrace. Worse, many cannot write, spell or punctuate, and, among those that can, the majority write far better than they think, and think far better than they research the facts, with the result being an extreme garbage-in, garbage-out situation. Tom Wark’s recent defense of Parker in the Miller-Campo debacle is but one of many examples of such thoughtless, ill-considered, self-important blogging.

    All of that said, Mike Steinberger is one of the few exceptions. He is a legitimate wine journalist and author dressed in blogger’s clothing at the moment. But talents like Mike’s, and David’s for that matter, will ultimately find superior platforms for their work. So much for blogs. After a couple of more cups of French-pressed Cafe du Monde coffee with chicory, I may pen an exegesis on what went wrong, or never went right, with the wine boards (by and large, the Guantanamo detention facilities for those too lazy or too stupid to blog)(hint, hint: do the names Parker and Squires mean anything to ya?), or perhaps an investigative piece like, “With no advertising or pictures, can the Wine Advocate survive by transforming itself into the unholy offspring of Travel and Leisure and Food and Wine as the Wine Spectator did?”

  15. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 7, 2011

    Thanks David for your response to my question regrding Wine Academy’s future with WA. It is sad that my request on EBOB has been ignored since Sunday. Maybe you should run the Customer relations there as well as your new Wine assignments.

  16. December 7, 2011

    David Schildknecht

    Let me say that I am very thankful that you have agreed to engage us in this discussion. Similar to Antonio Galloni, you do not seem to hide in these moments of “crisis” at the Wine Advocate.

    To answer you, I have only been ITB for 11 years, so I am neither as knowledgeable as you, or experienced as you in the wine business. However, grade inflation has apparently been an issue for quite some time, as it was happening 11 years ago, before Jay Miller entered the fold. The guilty culprit back then was Robert Parker, and his staggering high scores of Australian wines. Then it went into Spain. Both of these regions have one thing in common, unlike Bordeaux and the Rhone, where he was visiting, he never went to Spain or Australia. He may have went to Australia once, but he went nearly 40 years without going to Spain, until 2009 (1972 was his last visit). Rather, he would sit with the importers of these wine regions, at restaurants (Oregon Grille) in the Baltimore area, and review the wines as they were poured for him.

    For me, this was the beginning of the end of the Wine Advocate.

    How can he still claim to purchase 60% of his samples? How many do you purchase?

    Since this inflation, disaster in the wine business has occurred. Despite his claims to the contrary, Australian wines (for the most part) do not age well. I have been to numerous tasting events of older Aussie wines, and by and large, the wines that he still gives 98 points to, stink.

    With Spain, points got way outta hand with Parker, and then Miller took it to the next level. And when people complained about Miller not visiting the regions, his quote…”I am tasting exactly as Bob did.”

    So, then Miller goes on paid junkets to Chile, Australia, and Argentina. Importers take him to Spain and even Australia again. All against WA guidelines, according the ethics page.

    Then the junkets disappeared and Miller does not visit any wine regions anymore. So, he once again tastes with importers and at embassies in the United States. But for Spain, Parker hires Pancho Campo, to be his handler. Campo does not have to abide by the WA guidelines (heck, neither do you, as you are independent contractor, according to Bob).

    Pancho starts collecting sums of money for Miller’s visits. But don’t feel bad for Miller as he is collecting $15000 per visit, where he conducts a masterclass for a day. And the rest of the money? We don’t know where that goes, but Bob is the headliner at the WineFuture events that Pancho has conducted. Rumors were that Bob got $100k for the Rioja one.

    I suspect he got at least double that for his “Magical 20″ tasting in Hong Kong. Until Bob speaks about how much he did receive for those events, I am just speculating, but considering a ticket was 1250 euros for the tasting, and even if you got one at half price, there was a hefty profit for Bob and Pancho to get in on.

  17. mauss permalink
    December 7, 2011

    Sorry : 1000 wines per year.

  18. mauss permalink
    December 7, 2011

    We obviously do not have the same approach of this question “blind”. For me, no blind tasting = most of the time a tasting of a label, not the content.
    Fully agreed that our target at GJE is certainly not to be a kind of Guide since, as said many times, we taste a maximum of 100 wines per year. We just want, at GJE give an objective chance to “unknown” wines to be fairly compared to the reference’ names.
    This target is quite enough important to me since, as many of you, my own palate is my own Guide. So, I do not care at all about scores : the score and comment are too much linked to the circumstances of the tasting. But I do like to know that some top tasters tell me that, for example, sociando 90 is at the level of a second growth. This is, for me, a vauable information, more than reading a 98 points to a Lafite : so easy to be written !
    Mike : of course, your article is fully inside the classical US way of thinking : a lie is something that you will never accept while in Europe, we are more “grey” on the question. Well : you know that !

  19. December 7, 2011

    I couldn’t agree more with what both Bill Klapp (Do you write about wine or have a blog? I want to read you!!) and Mike said about blind tasting. To some degree, blind tastings in panels are partly responsible–besides Parker’s already well documented predilection for such powerful, overblown monstrosities–for trumpeting the glories of wines which a palate such as mine cannot abide (I cut my wine teeth on wines from the palates of Colonel Frederick Wildman, Gerald Asher, Henry Cavalier and Robert Haas). Both Parker’s preferences and those of blind tasting panels have led us, IMHO, to state of affairs where many very highly rated wines are not only outrageously priced, they are undrinkable to many of us.

  20. December 7, 2011

    Francois, are you saying that I’ve devoted all this space to a stupid story?!

    I disagree with you about the core issue here. This is not a story about the financial tribulations of wine writers; it is about the decision of the Wine Advocate to essentially put its Spain coverage in the hands of Pancho Campo, and how Campo conducted himself in his role as Miller’s minder. Michel Bettane’s characterization was exactly right; it was an idiotic situation, and one for which Parker very clearly bears the blame. If I were a Wine Advocate subscriber, I would demand to know from Parker why Campo was ever given this role. Are you still active on the Parker board? If so, you should put that question to him, though I doubt he’ll answer it.

    Blind tasting would not have prevented this controversy, nor will it solve the financial challenges of professional wine writing.

  21. Bill Klapp permalink
    December 7, 2011

    Francois, blind tasting would have prevented NONE of this mess. It would not have made Parker or anyone else a better wine critic, or any more useful. The problem is that it has become increasingly difficult to try and align one’s palate with those of several critics in order to determine what to drink. A major part of the problem is that tasting 10,000 wines a year alters and ultimately destroys a critic’s palate. Follow Parker late in his career, and you end up with a bunch of syrupy, perfectly dreadful Aussies and California Cabs, Pinots, Chardonnays and Syrahs in your cellar, along with a few cases of Pavie and 2009 Cos. And while I know that you and your fellow GJEers enjoy the blind tasting of a number of, say, Bordeaux, and you may be amazed, delighted or whatever else that, on a given occasion, the Chasse Spleen blew the Margaux, Latour and Petrus out of the water, the result means absolutely NOTHING except to those present. I do not know if I can trust your palate, nor you mine. I certainly would never trust the findings of a tasting committee, blind or non-blind. I cannot say that, in the middle of any of Jay Miller’s ties to Campo, or Solomon, or Ordonez, his tasting non-blind had the slightest impact upon the scores that he passed out. Indeed, his relatively consistent preference for high-alcohol, extracted wines suggests that his scores would probably be the same blind or non-blind, and it is an established fact that blind tasting favors the “low-cut dress” in the room, the wine that is most open, pleasant and tasty at the time of the tasting. Put your blind tasting politics aside now and again and try to think outside the box that wine criticism has put itself, and its true believers, in…

  22. Bill Klapp permalink
    December 7, 2011

    Eric, I have already told David what I think of his work. As to timeliness, my facts are in order. Check your LOGIC. David had well-documented timeliness problems that he himself has admitted to and apologized for on eBob. How prolific he has been over time is totally irrelevant to the timeliness issue. I do not wish to flog him again about that, and I apologize to him if it appears that I did. I will retract the word “fired” in the interest of civility. I will go with “replaced by Antonio Galloni as Burgundy critic in the wake of many complaints on the Squires board about the timeliness, but not the quality, of his Burgundy coverage”. I will not buy “Antonio wanted Burgundy and I was happy to be relieved of that terrible burden so that I could go on to the greener pastures of the Jura, Washington and Oregon”. David did not, of course say that, I did. But it makes my point.

    David, I read everything that you have written on the Miller matter, and I applaud you for your effort at clarity. You owe no apologies here or elsewhere. On the other hand, it seems to me to amount to nothing more or nothing less than offering a few facts in your possession which are not dispositive of anything in context, but can be used to fashion an interpretation of Miller’s behavior which is most favorable to him. It is now clear that you are not here to offer elaborate defenses, but rather, just to head off what you view as misguided or misinformed crusades against Jay. Fair enough. The factually supported crusades are adequate for the intended purposes.

    Regarding Jay, while we will never know with certainty, I doubt that many believe that he was directly sharing in the five-figure fees that Campo was extorting. His fees were no doubt paid out of that, and I do not see that as a problem per se. I am, however, with those that believe that several at the Wine Advocate, including Jay and Parker himself, have acted in direct violation of Parker’s espoused ethical standards. That, too, is now a dead horse in my view, because the Wine Advocate has paid the price, and will continue to pay the price, for its ethical foibles as Bob Parker continues to shoot himself in the foot in a highly public manner, with his weapon of choice being his mouth, and his ammunition being myopia and self-righteousness. When the relevant facts are all out, I am convinced that we will learn that Parker, even more than Miller, has once again been had by a hustler, Pancho Campo. Parker is God’s fool for associating with and trusting in some of the people that he has over the years: Rodenstock, Royal Wine’s “sexy boys”, Oliveros and Sokolin, Hanna Agostini and now Campo. Then there are his professional and administrative missteps and shortcomings: the Faiveley lawsuit and the incompetence of his Burgundy work, and the hiring of Rovani, Thomases and Miller. Time and again, I come back to a pithy few sentences from William Langewiesche’s 2000 Atlantic Monthly article, “The Million-Dollar Nose”, which, in what I see as the supreme irony, is an integral part of Parker’s biography on his website:

    “Parker’s…mother, who handles the office mail, has a different approach. She is said to be tough and unimpressed. One afternoon Parker, in a self-pitying mood, mentioned to her that for years he had received only letters of complaint. She fixed him with a stare and said, “That’s because they’re the only ones I’ve let you see.” Her instincts were probably good. Parker seems to have trouble distinguishing friends from sycophants, and he sets too much store by the compliments he receives.”

    Some are likening Parker’s unravelling to Greek tragedy, and, as a one-time dramatic literature and criticism professor who taught Aristotle’s Poetics, I can readily agree. He may not have deserved the attention paid to his vaunted palate and opinions over the years, but he surely deserves the scorn and mistrust that he has brought crashing down upon his own head lately. The bravado of his “international investigation” of this sordid mess makes me chuckle. He already knows what happened here, and he understands how foolish it is going to make him look if everything comes out. Campo is his business associate. This all reminds me of an old National Lampoon bit on an LP called the National Lampoon Watergate Album. (Those under 50 need not read further. I don’t have time to explain what an LP is, much less Watergate!) The structure is someone channel surfing during the Watergate scandal, and stopping on channels now and again. In one case, the show is “The FBI”, popular at the time. The Watergate complicit director of the FBI, L. Patrick Gray, drives up to the Watergate complex, siren blaring, jumps out of the car and shouts through a megaphone, “Allright, this is L. Patrick Gray of the FBI. I know that I am in there. If I don’t come out with my hands up, I am coming in after me!” If indeed Bob Parker is conducting any day-late and Euro-short “international investigation”, he is “coming in after himself”…

  23. December 7, 2011

    To Mr. Klapp.

    In reference to David’s issues with timeliness in Burgundy, that is true. However, if one queries all of the reviews on eRP, I think you would be surprised to see that David is actually the most prolific WA reviewer of all time behind Bob. So, before you disparage David, maybe it’s best to actually check your facts.

    Robert Parker: 71,587
    David Schildknecht: 20,977
    Neal Martin: 20,066
    Jay Miller: 19,266
    Antonio Galloni: 16,058
    Pierre Rovani: 14,626

  24. David Schildknecht permalink
    December 7, 2011

    Daniel,
    I don’t know how old you are, but I have no trouble remembering (quite fondly) the days when 88 point, $20 wines were highly sought after. That said, the increase in really excellent wines and frequency of high quality seems to me a fact (speaking on the evidence of those regions of the world whose wines I have carefully and relentlessly followed in my career, which as is well known does not include those of Washington State) even though the constant risk and existence of wine inflation is also a fact. (As it happens, I do know Charles Smith, as the company I used to work for represented his wines, and in that connection he visited Ohio and Kentucky. We did not party then and surely won’t now.)

    Jack,
    I too “can hardly imagine Neal Martin … ” doing what you wrote, and I doubtless know him better than do you. Ergo, no such a thing would not and will not happen.

    Jim,
    glad to know you got your answer regarding the publication of Spanish coverage.

    Bill,
    my views about Bob were largely formed in the ’80s when I lived in Maryland and we saw one another rather frequently, These views were largely ones of respect and affection and have not changed significantly over the years. Naturally I consider myself fortunate to be able to work for The Wine Advocate.

    There is no need to “struggling to make sense of the importance [I] ascribe to Jay Miller’s January retirement decision and the timing of its announcement” or to be left “at a loss to understand why [I am allegedly] out here conducting at least a piece of Miller’s defense instead of Jay himself and/or his stalwart defender, Parker.”

    On the first point, I am not ascribing any special importance to the matter of chronology other than in one respect, a respect so obvious that surely nobody need break their head over it. The circumstances surrounding and the timing of Jays departure were bound to create the belief that he left in response to these recent allegations of Spanish improprieties. And that includes creating this belief among certain people – notably Jim Budd and Mike Steinberger – who have been involved in alleging or reporting on these alleged improprieties, and with whom I happen to have had cordial personal dealings. (Mike and I have even been co-authors.) But since I just happen to know (much as I perfectly well understand it will stretch most people’s credulity) and am able to demonstrate with the e-mail record that Jay’s decision to leave The Wine Advocate at the end of this year was a fait accompli in early January at the latest; that I agreed on August 4 to take over his former responsibilities for covering Oregon and Washington; and that the December 5 timing of these announcements was decided on November 4, I naturally thought I should disabuse Jim and Mike – and perhaps others – of potential understandable but erroneous beliefs. It’s they and many others who are engaging in speculation, hypotheses, and investigation. I’m simply volunteering information that will keep people from carrying out any of this speculation or investigation based on an incorrect premise.

    You “would not expect [me] to be privy to everything that passes between Parker and Miller, especially with regard to the controversy at hand” and surely you don’t think that I would expect this either. So how is “[t]hat [the reason] why [my] prof[f]ered explanations strike [you] as odd”? I only wrote about what I know. I neither engaged in speculation nor intimated that I was privy to inside information that I was unable or unwilling to divulge. Perhaps “In [my] shoes, [you] would have been happy to sidestep this whole mess.” But I decided I wanted to state some facts that I knew were relevant to people’s beliefs about this case. At the worst, I reasoned, this would leave some (perhaps many) people disbelieving me or conflicted as to whether they could believe me. But cognitive dissonance is not always a bad thing, especially if it goads one into challenging one’s preconceptions and trying to get to the bottom of things. Anyway, if I had not retained any evidence to support my chronology I might have hesitated, but my records offered sufficient evidence to support my account.

    You appear to have misunderstood me or to be equivocating on the word “lame duck.” I was not speaking de facto – we all know now that this was in fact Jay’s last year. I was merely trying to point out that most journalists and journals I know would not announce that a writer was doing his annual rounds for the last time thus condemning him to perform his duties under the description or aspect of being a “lame duck.” I’m not saying this has never happened, but normally inside any company if there is going to be a strategically important change of staff it doesn’t get announced in advance as it would undercut that staff person’s functioning and the aims of the company. And I only mentioned this because I had been asked repeatedly how, if my chronology were to be believed, it could also be believable that no announcement was made well in advance that Jay was leaving. And my answer, essentially, is to ask why anybody would see a connection here, much less consider it hard to believe that a change of staff was not announced well in advance.

    I am not indulging nor going to indulge in speculation. I was merely asserting facts that were rather obviously highly relevant to the conclusions others would draw … and then merely questioning, on a basis that has absolutely nothing to do with the specifics of this situation, why anyone would think it odd that a company did not tip its hand regarding a major change of staff.

    I would apologize for going on at such length, except that I’ve done it only to clarify and answer questions that you and others have raised in regards to my original note concerning what I knew about the chronology of Jay’s decision to depart from The Wine Advocate. Other than to address these questions I would have simply let that original note stand. Thanks for your patience (if in fact you – or anyone else – made it this far).

  25. mauss permalink
    December 6, 2011

    All this stupid story turns around a basic problem : how to make a decent life income in the job of wine critic/journalist/writer ?
    Obviously, the main point discussed is the possible link between the value of score/comment and how the job of the critic/journalist/writer is financed.
    We should come back to the major point as written by Mr Parker himself on the front page of TWA : BLIND TASTING !
    With Blind tasting, no problem to be financed by advertising or other contributions coming from the wine world.
    But then, let’s not turn around the pot : who are the critics who will accept to taste blind and to print their scores and comments, without any modifications in their office in order to please the top names ?
    This topic was discussed in our last edition of the WWS at Villa d’Este, especially during a seminar between Michel Bettane and David Schildknecht. I did mention at that occasion the story about Campo/Miller, and every one was stunned by such a deviance of this job : writing about wine. Michel Bettane just call all this evolution as “idiotic”.
    Basically, the reader, the wine geek is able to understand very quickly who is honest in his comments and who is not.
    In this respect, my last discussions with Antonio Galloni, who does a remarquable job in Burgundy, was quite clear : if you want to exist in the future in this job, you better have a strong sense of your ethic : he has one. It is not the case of some others.
    But then, again and again : only blind tastings will bring a final solution to this permanent and remanent question. Only Parker is making enough money without advertising. No one else will be able to do such in the future. So, certainly, this topic here is not the last one to be discussed here, or elsewhere on blogs, forums, websites.

  26. December 6, 2011

    I agree, Joe; the whole thing was preposterous from the start, and riddled with potential conflicts of interest.

  27. Joe permalink
    December 6, 2011

    Any critic who is supposed to be the authority on the wines of a particular country, and hires someone to basically select which wineries will be visited in that country each time, should step down. To say nothing of the well known sketchiness of said coordinator and any conflicts of interest in play….

  28. Bill Klapp permalink
    December 6, 2011

    David, I want to be very clear here. I have followed your work since the Tanzer days, and I have always respected it and read it with great interest (well, as Garrison Keillor might say, MOSTLY). That is not at issue here, and frankly, I doubt that it is at issue anywhere. Many find you to be the only truly credentialed member of the Wine Advocate team, including Bob Parker himself. However, in my view, you are, in that, a rather large square peg in an increasingly small Wine Advocate round hole.

    I have the luxury of pushing aside the impact of whatever economic benefits may have come to you from your association with the Wine Advocate (but here’s hoping that you have been treated well in that regard). And I am not in the least bit receptive to any recitation of what a great guy Bob Parker is to work for, how generous he may be, or how bright or funny he is when you really get to know him. At the moment, the public Parker tends to obscure the good that he has done. All of these factors and more shape your view of your employer and fellow staffers. That would be true of anyone in your shoes. I am, thankfully, not in your shoes.

    We do not know each other personally, but from what I know of you professionally, I would find it hard to believe that you are not a truthful and straightforward person, something that few would say of your employer these days. Thus, I am struggling to make sense of the importance you ascribe to Jay Miller’s January retirement decision and the timing of its announcement, and at a loss to understand why you are out here conducting at least a piece of Miller’s defense instead of Jay himself and/or his stalwart defender, Parker.

    I see you claiming that the news of Jay’s retirement was kept quiet due to “farewell tour” and “lame duck” concerns. Seriously, David? If you believe that, you are doing Miller and Campo more harm than good. First of all, in the eyes of many (and now most), Jay Miller has been a lame duck and a liability since the day that Parker added him to the Wine Advocate staff. A likable guy, to be sure, but no wine critic, then or now. The First Friend, said by Parker to have a palate most like his own, which itself has become a liability. If Miller knew that he was retiring last January, then this year can ABSOLUTELY be seen as the Jay Miller Farewell Tour (booked by the famous promoter, Pancho Campo), giving him one last opportunity to amass as many speaking fees as he could before retiring and, as a bonus to Parker, not a penny of it at Wine Advocate expense. I am not going to waste time here describing the enormous cloud hanging over Campo, but what you have said better explains Campo’s apparent desperation in lining up as many gigs as he could, for as much money as the traffic would bear, before the gravy train derails at month’s-end. Unless, of course, Jay did not share his retirement plans with his Spanish handler. Do you believe that it would make any sense for Jay to withhold that information from Campo? Do you believe that there is the slightest chance that he did?

    Cynic that I am, I do not believe that there are any prevailing ethical standards at the Wine Advocate these days, and as Parker and the Wine Advocate fade in influence, fewer and fewer people care about the ethical debate. That said, the pragmatist in me can understand perfectly well why Jay Miller would undertake a farewell speaking tour, and why, at their respective ages, Bob Parker would sanction that for one of his closest friends. I can accept as true that Parker easily justifies all of this because all wine writers that can accept compensation for speaking engagements and other events that require their time and presence, do. Parker is, however, something of a cheese standing alone in this, because he has held himself out as the incorruptible Ralph Nader of wine criticism, and does not appear to many to have been able to chin his own ethical bar. The unfortunate wild card in all of this is Campo, whose personal history and actions on behalf of Miller, the Wine Advocate and himself would seem to amount to a form of extortion, even if the same is perfectly legal and acceptable to spanish wine producers. At a minimum, I am charging Campo with being quite the hustler, and not the type of personality that the Wine Advocate would historically want to be associated with. The one thing that I could believe in all of this is that Jay may have taken only speaking fees and maybe some meals, wine, hotels and similar benefits in all of this. Campo’s activities need to be measured with a different yardstick, and not by me.

    What I do believe, David, is that there are one or more inner sancta at the Wine Advocate. There is the Parker-Galloni relationship that controls the line of succession and the ongoing business model. There is the Parker-Miller relationship, which I have to believe is not any of Antonio’s business. There is the Parker-Squires relationship, Squires being the chap whose name has been left off the list of WA critics when Parker chooses to recite them for some purpose upon more than one occasion. I certainly would not expect for you to be privy to everything that passes between Parker and Miller, especially with regard to the controversy at hand. That is why your proferred explanations strike me as odd. In your shoes, I would have been happy to sidestep this whole mess. But as I said above, I am not in your shoes…

  29. December 6, 2011

    Thanks for passing this along, Jim.

  30. December 6, 2011

    Message received from TWA is response to a question asking whether Jay Miller would be writing reports on his recent Spanish visits:

    Dear Mr. Budd,

    Yes, Jay will be writing reports on the wines he recently tasted in Spain. However, depending on timing and space limitations in the paper copy, those reports may only appear on the eRobertParker.com web site.

    Sincerely, Joan Passman, Secretary, The Wine Advocate

  31. December 5, 2011

    Jack, I would be very surprised if Campo does any more work with or for the Wine Advocate.

  32. December 5, 2011

    David, many thanks for stopping by, and thanks, too, for allowing me to share your email from this morning. I look forward to getting your take on Oregon and Washington.

    Dan McCallum, your speculation certainly strikes me as plausible! You may recall that when I interviewed Antonio earlier this year, he did not mince words about Miller or Squires.

    Dan Posner, I’m with you on the grade inflation. But Miller’s generous scores did Spain no favors, so I don’t know what the answer is.

  33. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 5, 2011

    David thanks for joining us on this subject. I am not as offended by Jay Miller as some of my bretheren here since I am not in the trade and do not drink the wines JayMiller covered. The allegations and purported emails directed to and from The Wine Academy that I have read ( I obviously have no personal proof nor do I allege any impropriety against Pancho Campo or the Wine Academy) in my mind resulted in the most recent disdain for Jay Miller and The Wine Advocate. Do you know whether Mr. Campo will continue to be associated with Wine Advocate? I can hardly imagine Neal Martin trepsing around the Spanish Countryside with a “handler” but the recent Hong Kong Wine Experience put on by The Wine Academy and Mr. Campo seem to have been accepted by Bob Parker as a successful event and enterprise. I specifically asked this question last night on EBOB to sticky of Mr. Miller’s resignation from WA but received no reply.
    Thanks again and best of luck in your new and previous assignments.

  34. December 5, 2011

    I have not read The Advocate in over ten years and I know little of Dr. Miller and his travails.
    But I make it a point to read almost anything David overwrites.
    And frankly, if he had more responsibilities as to the domestic wine scene, I might just subscribe again.
    Best, Jim

  35. December 5, 2011

    David

    I would love to see a day when 88 point, $20 wines are highly sought after.

    Now that Jay Miller is gone, the next guilty party of grade inflation, Robert Parker, needs to exit, for that to happen.

    Till then, it is very difficult for someone like you, or Josh Raynolds, for example, to become “relevant” in the consumer’s eye.

    They are just looking for the highest score, and lowest price. Jay published hundreds of scores of 90 or more without even a tasting note a few years back. I seemed to be the only one to speak out about it. Then he gave a wine 100 points, with no note.

    Just imagine doing that. You can’t. Because your talents are in the ability to write (sometimes overwrite) outstanding notes on wine.

    I wish you the best of luck with those regions. Are you going to be partying with Charles Smith, like Jay?

  36. David Schildknecht permalink
    December 5, 2011

    Certainly hope (naturally enough) to prove you wrong, Bill and Dan.

    I just wanted to add three things.

    First, as to why the announcement was made when it was, namely today, December 5, that’s easy to explain without recourse to any insider information or an assumption that my claims about behind-the-scenes chronology are accurate. Major announcements of this sort are normally timed to coincide with Bob’s bi-monthly run-down on the contents of the impending issue. Nobody is going to be sent into the field to gather tasting notes under the description “farewell tour” or “lame duck” (and of course, if you disbelieve my chronology – which I can well understand will be regarded with suspicion – then you would assume that there wasn’t any staffing announcement to make yet) so clearly this was not going to be announced in early October when the previous issue’s contents were divulged. As for waiting until some time early next year, not only did Neal and I need to get on with contacting growers and arranging our tasting schedules, but Jay’s official date of departure was December, and he was starting back to work again in the trade, so obviously it would then become known that he was no longer going to be working with The Wine Advocate.

    Secondly, “fired” from Burgundy – even if you think it would have been deserved, Bill – is inaccurate. As I posted in several public places last February by way of explanation, although my struggle at the time to keep up with that coverage may have been contributory to the change in assignment, it was not a focus of discussion between me, Bob Parker, and Antonio Galloni. Rather, Antonio wanted very much to devote himself full-time to writing for The Wine Advocate and to take responsibility for that assignment. At the time this change was made, it was not for the sake of lightening my long-term load (hence the discussion about taking over some of Jay’s soon-to-be former beats).

    Finally, I wanted to mention that I offered Mike (and Jim Budd, and others) a look at the relevant e-mails if they deem that a useful way of establishing the veracity of my chronology.

    Thanks (also in advance) to the well-wishers among those who comment(ed) here as well as to those who express skepticism about my abilities or for that matter write to bash me, since no goad deed goes unheeded, whereas I guarantee that I would never attempt to punish one.

  37. Dan McCallum permalink
    December 5, 2011

    Purely speculation on my part, but I think there is an unmentioned third agenda that has been in play here throughout the past year. IE, not JSM’s and not RP’s as stated so far. That would be the agenda arising from whatever understandings would have made AG willing to quit his day job and pitch his life fully into TWA.

  38. Bill Klapp permalink
    December 5, 2011

    I have to go with Dan on this one. David was fired from Burgundy because he could not manage in a timely fashion a full “Wine Advocate” workload (that is, indiscriminate tasting of 10,000 wines a year, including many for which you have no tasting history or credentials, all the while shooting videos and living the high life), and thus, he ends up with wine regions one cut above Squires’ Portugal and Israel, like the Jura. (All due respect, Eric, Washington and Oregon are not a promotion, or else the likes of Miller would not have been covering them in the first place.) David even putzed the timing of his beloved German coverage during his WA time, which is in sharp contrast to his excellent work with Tanzer. His German work was still good, mind you, just not complete or timely.

    David can only do less outstandingly well. He has a great need for self-expression, and he is built to plumb the depths of fewer wines rather than race around the world with his hair on fire tasting 10,000 wines a year like Parker, Galloni and Miller. I am doubtful that he will be with WA long-term. He should be able to find better employment with a more knowledgeable readership…

  39. December 5, 2011

    I am sure David will have the same mediocre effect on those regions as he has had on Burgundy, and Germany and the like.

    I do not mean that negatively, but with his lower scale of scores, Washington State producers are about to jump out of the 5th story of the Walt Whitman in Walla Walla.

    Same goes for Spain. Neal does not rate as stupidly as Miller. Sales will plummet (as they already are on Spanish wines) and Parker will tell us all that Miller had an amazing effect on those regions and he told us so.

  40. December 5, 2011

    Eric, David is excellent, and I think it is great for both Washington and Oregon that he is now covering the Pacific Northwest.

  41. December 5, 2011

    On the plus side, having greatly enjoyed David’s reviews of German Riesling going back to his days writing for Steve Tanzer, I am really excited to see his take on Washington wine.

  42. December 5, 2011

    You’re right, Dan, and David basically acknowledged in his email that there would be a lot of skepticism re his account of what happened. This is just the latest baffling twist to the story.

  43. December 5, 2011

    Only Bob knows the truth. Period.

    The rest of us continue to remain skeptical.

    The timing is odd, to say the least. But it was also odd when Rovani left, after sitting down with a number of Spanish importers, tasting their wines, and never publishing the TNs.

  44. December 5, 2011

    That’s a fair point, Blake. Assuming David’s chronology is correct, what I find amazing is that Parker would go ahead with this announcement while the Spain controversy is still unfolding. To any reasonable observer, it sure looks as if Parker tossed Miller overboard in response to the scandal. If that really isn’t the case, then why on earth would Parker make this public now? I thought Miller was his good friend?

  45. December 5, 2011

    Very interesting info, and it sheds a new light on the situation.

    If I knew I was leaving a source of income, I might be inclined to squeeze in as many income-generating lectures and master classes as I possibly could before being kicked out into the cold world of paying for my own dental plan.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Greybeard’s Corner – Winter’s Hold 2011 | North East Wino
  2. Andes Wines » Blog Archive » CAMPOGATE BRINGS THE INDEPENDENCE OF WINE QUESTION ONCE AGAIN
  3. Miller Time, One More Time - My Wine Broker
  4. Miller Time, One More Time - My Wine Broker
  5. Miller Time, One More Time | Mike Steinberger's Wine Diarist
  6. Terroirist » The Jay Miller Scandal Gets Weirder

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS