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Shuffling the Deck

2011 February 5
by Mike

Evidently, Robert Parker wasn’t kidding when he indicated recently that Antonio Galloni was his heir-apparent. Parker has announced that Galloni, who already covers Italy and Champagne for the Wine Advocate, will now be reviewing the wines of Burgundy and California, as well. That’s a huge addition to his workload, and a somewhat incongruous mix of regions. Perhaps Galloni is sufficiently ecumenical in his taste that he can appreciate the finesse of a Mugnier Musigny one moment and the power of a Shafer Hillside Select or a Sine Qua Non grenache the next. But I think for most critics and consumers, it’s an either-or proposition. That’s true even within the context of pinot noir; how many Burgundy nuts have anything good to say about Marcassin? Yes, in theory, a critic should be able to appreciate all types of wines, but it usually doesn’t work that way. At one time, Parker covered both Burgundy and California, and his palate was famously ill-suited to the former. Indeed, more than anything else, it was his failure in Burgundy that led many people to conclude that the one-palate-fits-all approach to wine criticism was no longer tenable. Parker’s decision to add Burgundy and California to Galloni’s portfolio suggests that he believes otherwise. In covering both Burgundy and California, Galloni is going to be catering to two very different constituencies, and it will be interesting to see how it works out.

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