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Wine Jihadists Caught on Tape! Plot Revealed!

2013 May 2
by Mike

“The jihadist movements of non-sulphured wines, green, under-ripe wines, low alcohol, insipid stuff promoted by the anti-pleasure police”—Robert Parker via Twitter, 5/1/2013

An Al Qaeda safe house in Waziristan, Pakistan

Sheikh Omar: Khalid, I asked you not to disturb me until lunch hour.

Khalid: I am sorry, Sheikh Omar, but I felt obliged to bring this to your attention immediately. This Blobber Parker—he is on to us once again. Look at what he wrote yesterday.

(Khalid places his iPad in front of Sheikh Omar).

Sheikh Omar: He is indeed on to us. But we have no need to silence him; he is helping our cause.

Khalid: I’m afraid I do not understand, Sheikh.

Sheikh Omar: Yes, Blobber Parker sees that we are using wine as a tool of jihad. He is a very intelligent man, with a keen nose for wine mischief; he once met with the FBI and taught them everything they know about fake wines. But no one believes Parker anymore. He was for many years a powerful wine critic, the most powerful wine critic, but now his people mock him. They regard him as a sodden fool shouting at the voices in his head. The more he talks about jihad, the more they scorn him.  They believe the opposite of whatever he says. He is an asset for us.

Khalid: So he is a prophet in the wilderness, one might say.

Sheikh Omar: In a manner of speaking, but “prophet” is perhaps not the right word. I’m not such a stickler, but some of our brothers might not appreciate you referring to an infidel as a prophet.

Khalid: You are right; let me rephrase that. He is a wise, benevolent emperor shunned by his demented people. But tell me, Sheikh, for I have never understood: how is wine part of jihad?

Sheikh Omar: Khalid, we have studied these people closely.

Khalid: These people?

Sheikh Omar: Americans. We have studied Americans very closely and know them better than they know themselves. They are a decadent, hedonistic people. They savor the pleasures of the flesh and the pleasures of the table, and they naturally prefer decadent, hedonistic wines. In contemplating some of the more subtle ways in which we could break their will—what we call “soft jihad”—it occurred to us that if we could persuade them to renounce wines of pleasure, to turn away from the wines that truly made them happy, we could weaken them, weaken their resistance to us.

Khalid: Genius. But how did this happen?

Sheikh Omar: Burgundy. We convinced the infidels that the wines of Burgundy were the true wines of pleasure.

Khalid: And that’s not the case?

Sheikh Omar: Ha! Have you ever tasted that shit? I spit it out, of course, but I tasted Burgundy, and it was just as this Blobber Parker said—thin, acidic wine that only a person who hates flavor, who hates pleasure, who hates life and little children and puppies, could possibly like. The aroma was like the breath of a thousand camels, and it is said that all great Burgundies smell like this. Do you know what DRC really stands for? Dirty rotten crap. Blobber Parker saw Burgundy for the cruel hoax that it was, and he tried valiantly to stop his people from smiting their palates with these emaciated, insipid wines.

Khalid: So how did we convince them that Burgundy was good?

Sheikh Omar: We found impressionable young sommeliers, and we played on their vanity. We told them that Parker had a grudge against Burgundy, that his palate was shot from too much high alcohol wine and too much Flannery’s beef, and that they could become the new tastemakers by championing the wines of Burgundy. Once we had the sommeliers duped, the stupid journalists fell into line, and consumers soon followed. We also planted people on wine discussion boards, where they would rave about Burgundy, and this further helped lead the infidels astray.

Khalid: Masterful.

Sheikh Omar: It was worked out better than we ever imagined. These pathetic Americans have convinced themselves that the path of righteousness leads to Burgundy. In fact, it is the road to dhimmitude, and to the restoration of the caliphate. Beaune is the new Vienna, and this time, Insha’Allah, we will breach the gates.

Khalid: Do they really like Burgundy?

Sheikh Omar: They think they like it, they tell themselves they like it, but you can see that they are not deriving any pleasure. The wines are thin, and so are their smiles. They now completely shun the wines that they most enjoy. They are a demoralized people. Their economy is terrible, they’ve run out of good reality shows, they turn to wine for solace, and all they get is flavored water. And it is not just Burgundies that they torture themselves with: they drink cadaverous, vegetal wines from other places, too. They are even forcing winemakers in California to produce such wines. California, the land of sunshine, and they make wines that taste like they came from an outhouse in the Loire—can you imagine? It is a nation gone mad, a nation of wine masochists. And I must tell you something else: we have also conspired to deprive them of the wines they used to prefer.

Khalid: How so?

Sheikh Omar: Do you remember a few years ago when I and several of our brothers cheered the news that thousands of bottles of an Australian wine called Mollydooker had been destroyed in a warehouse accident, and how I went around all that day calling myself the Mollydooker Sheikh?

Khalid: Now that you mention it, I do.

Sheikh Omar: That was no accident; we did that. Besides persuading Americans that the worst wines are really the best wines, we have tried to reduce the supply of wines that they actually enjoy. Some of our brothers in captivity were very cunning—they convinced the infidels that the harshest way to waterboard them was to use Mollydooker. The fools have gone through hundreds of bottles of this glorious wine because they think it is compounding the torture. But they are the ones tortured by it: they now treat it as if it is poison. They wear Hazmat suits while opening the bottles and make sarcastic comments about the high ratings that Parker gave Mollydooker.

Khalid: And what do our brothers think of the wine?

Sheikh Omar: They love it. They don’t try to drink it, but it gets in their mouths anyway, and they say it is very tasty. In fact, they think Parker was too restrained in his praise of Mollydooker.

Khalid: Incredible.

Sheikh Omar: I feel sorry for this Blobber Parker—as sorry as I can feel for an infidel. He recently sold his business, and a life of luxury now awaits him. And yet, he persists in trying to save his countrymen from themselves. He knows what we are up to, he knows we are using wine to wage jihad and to slowly drain Americans of their zest for life, and all he gets in return is the mockery of an ungrateful nation. The Americans are unworthy of such a man, and they will come to regret their failure to heed his many warnings. In turning away from hedonistic fruit bombs, they have disarmed themselves, and they will pay dearly for this mistake, Insha’Allah.

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  18. May 14, 2013

    Sorry, I am late coming on much here, but, John, you wrote this…

    “First, if this was from Parker’s web site (he may have twittered I don’t get twitters), then, in all fairness, it was offered up in the light of starting a discussion:”

    How would you know this?

  19. Tim Johnston permalink
    May 11, 2013

    What a load of rubbish – all of you, blobber down. Sad nobody writes english language anymore – to say say nothing of the puerile content……….. beurk !

  20. Jack Bulkin permalink
    May 11, 2013

    Chris, it is not his tasting notes that upset people although they have caused an absurd escalation in pricing of some of the wines that he writes about. Such is life. It is his ethics or lack thereof by him and other former writers of WA as compared with the written ethical standards that he subposedly works by; as well as his out of bounds rhetoric to anyone with whom he disagrees that is the basis of most complaints by his critics here and elsewhere. Mike is not a Parker basher but he is regularly accused of being one by the apologists that still inhabit the Wine Boards.

  21. Chris Wallace permalink
    May 11, 2013

    I am a rather infrequent reader of this blog, but I have noticed the anti-Parker sentiment here is fairly intense. Not so much from the author, but more from the regular commenters. What I don’t understand is the level of the vitriol toward Parker that exists here. The guy writes wine tasting notes. I don’t care how much his view of wines differ from yours, how do they end up upsetting people so? Anyhow, the whole Parker-bashing thing, in addition to being trite, seems out of place in these comments: it is too serious! Whether you are a Parker fan or a Parker basher, you have to grant, this was a very funny, very well-written article. But the main point was that the author was being FUNNY. Lighten up! Enjoy some good laughs when they come your way. With any luck at all, Mike will up the frequency of these comic rants.

  22. Bill Klapp permalink
    May 9, 2013

    John, did you REALLY post this on the Squires board?

    “Steinberger is an obsessed Parker detractor. A lot of the people who follow his blog are “the usual suspects” who as the responses indicate are off their meds.

    This is really sad because Steinberger is capable of fine wine writing. In fact, he authored one of the best critiques of the natural wine movement I have seen anywhere. He also covered the Koch trial quite well.

    Much of this IMOP is in pretty poor taste, pedantic, over wrought and dredges up every ridiculous myth about Parker a single blog can fit in. To these people Parker is the Great Satan.”

    John, for shame. If you have anything to say to Mike, please say it here. Preaching to the Miran Kegl and Jeff Leve crowd gets you nothing. That is rather like the blind leading the blind leading the deaf and dumb, wine-wise. Make a couple of converts among your intellectual superiors here and you will have hit the home run ball.

    Steinberger is hardly an “obsessed Parker detractor”. (I know obsessed Parker detractors. I am an obsessed Parker detractor, and Steinberger is no Bill Klapp!) You are projecting, in that you are an obsessed Parker DEFENDER, which, given Parker’s rapid fade to black these days, makes you somewhat akin to the apocryphal Japanese soldier who crawled out of his bunker 5 years after WW II was over. I hope that Parker, at least, appreciates your ball-polishing, because nobody else is likely to. Indeed, Parker seems disinclined to defend himself after suffering Terry Theise’s artful and articulate verbal asswhupping in his own backyard.

    Mike has forgotten more about wine than you have any prospect of ever knowing, lad, and to be sure, he is possessed of a far better palate than Parker’s these days. (Not that that is much of a bar to chin. Parker could not get enough alcohol and wood out of homogenized Cabernet-based wines, so he has moved on to reviewing Bourbon.) And indeed, Mike is an award-winning writer while you are, well, a leaky fountain pen of sorts and rather the butt end of nobody by reputation. (I mean that in the best possible way.) Wake up and smell the 13% alcohol wine, John. The “usual suspects” are what the rest of wine’s e-world knows as “people too smart to waste their time verbally bitchslapping the two dozen or so Parker ass-kissers left on the Squires board”. This board harbors highly successful lawyers rather than failed ones, John. People who can hold down real jobs rather than declaring themselves to be wine critics. We are, in fact, on our meds, John. (Why, I shared with Bulkin just yesterday the positive impact upon my arterial health the daily 40mg Lipitor and 1,500mg Niaspan has had!) The “medical” problem here is that the Squires board is (very thinly) populated by the undiagnosed, largely untreatable and perhaps terminal crowd that watch Parker disintegrating before them and still do not realize that they have been had by a Maryland farmboy who made a bunch of absurd and ultimately indefensible claims about his tasting abilities. Parker’s myths of which you speak, John, are solely of his own making, and you are drinking that Koolaid daily, in quantities that would appall Michael Bloomberg.

    Lately, Parker has been behaving like Howard Beale, the Peter Finch character in the classic film “Network”, who had people shouting out of their windows, “I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more!” That is, he did until it was discovered that a terminal brain tumor was causing his raving! I do not, of course, suggest that Parker is suffering from a brain tumor, although, given the often incoherent shotgun blasts of industrial sludge emanating from his piehole (or Flannery’s rib cap hole, if you will), alcoholism might not be a bad suggestion…

  23. May 8, 2013

    Thanks for stopping by, John, and I appreciate the kind words. It is interesting that you mention Terry Theise. I trust you saw his incredibly damning response to Parker’s “jihadist” screed? Last I checked, Terry considers Parker a friend and has great admiration for him. And as you note, Terry is no fan of the natural wine movement. The fact that even he felt compelled to slap Parker around over these comments is pretty telling, I think. Not for the first time, Parker’s intemperate language has obscured whatever point he was hoping to make. Jihadists, vinofreakism, anti-flavor wine elite, anti-pleasure police–he comes across as someone totally unhinged, totally incapable of discussing these issues in a rational, respectful manner. The fact that just weeks after the tragedy in Boston he would use the term “jihadists” to describe people whose taste in wine differs from his suggests that he really has lost all sense of proportion and has descended to complete buffoonery. David Schildknecht is skeptical of the natural wine movement, but you don’t see him spewing this kind of vitriol. As you noted, I’m skeptical, too, but I don’t lash out at natural wine proponents the way Parker does. The proof is in the reaction, John: did Parker’s comment touch off a spirited debate about natural wines, or did it make Parker an object of scorn and ridicule? Clearly the latter. You are a Parker fan, and I respect that. But instead of trying to defend the indefensible, you and other Parker fans would be doing him a real favor by encouraging him to tone down the language, to keep his inner Glenn Beck in check.

  24. May 7, 2013

    Thanks, Greg. And yes, it’s all real–a friend at the National Security Agency provided me with the transcript. I think he’s part of Parker’s tasting group, too.

    Jack, that’s certainly possible. But if memory serves, Parker has been tossing around “jihadist” for some time now, so maybe it was he who encouraged Chapoutier and not vice-versa.

  25. May 7, 2013

    Blake, sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, 70 virginal wines await any sommelier who helps direct consumers to thin, acidic, anti-pleasure-police-approved wines. Glad you liked this post; it was a fun one to write.

    Bill, I hear The Donald is trying to get Parker to appear on The Apprentice (I’m assuming that the show still exists).

    Daniel, did you see Terry Theise’s response to Parker? I’d be curious to know if Parker has responded. It’s one thing to ignore gnats like us; it would be pretty amazing if he chose not to respond to Theise.

  26. Jack Bulkin permalink
    May 7, 2013

    John Lahart states:
    “I don’t know why, but Steinberger who I think is an excellent writer and reporter, resorts to what appears to be a personal, dare I say “jihad” against Parker. The piece is IMOP, clever though I personally find it to be of questionable taste and humorless. It is a compendium of anti-Parker mythology.”

    John, John John. I am certain that the the genesis of Mr. Steinberger’s parady and the resulting concept that you found so offensive was the choice of descriptors that your never ending hero Bob Parker used to describe those who choose to drink Natural unsulphured wines.
    Not content to merely disagree or simply question the vision, taste and preference of the “Naturalists” as as is his norm, Parker needed to attack them with his own tasteless choice of scud verbal missiles. His choice of vile descriptor “Jihadist” was patently offensive, unnecessary and sadly all too revealing of what little is left of his mind, heart and soul.. To call those who prefer and espouse a “movement of unsulphured wines “JIHADISTS” within 2 weeks of the Boston Marathon massacre shows how utterly contemptuous and out of touch Parker has become. Your choice of calling Mr. Steinberger’s piece a “jihad” against Parker is similarly contemptuous.
    You have learned well from him John. You are meant for each other.
    One last thing John, the decline of your hero is not a myth, It is on sad display with every comment, tweet and tasting note that he publishes.

  27. John Lahart permalink
    May 7, 2013

    I’ve missed you.
    Anyway, Steinberger wrote one of the best pieces of wine journo which was critical of the same wine Parker is being critical of in this “tweet.” Steinberger is far more eloquent and elaborate in his case. (he wasn’t restricted to a tweet size view).

    He’s Kinder and gentler and presenting a thesis. Parker is more provocative being a direct call for discussion.

  28. Bill Klapp permalink
    May 7, 2013

    And you, Mr. Lahart, are a walking compendium of PRO-Parker mythology. The problem is that Parker does not actually taste and report on natural wines (whether those that are defensible or those that are not, and, surprise, there is general agreement, without Parker’s ignorant raving being added to the fray, that most attempts at “natural wine” suck), and thus, has not the first clue what he is talking about. (Nothing new there.) The problem is compounded by the fact that Parker’s devastated palate finds anything that is not opaque, 10W-30 weight, 15% alcohol fruit juice to be “green, thin and insipid”. I point out also that TRULY green, thin and/or insipid wines have no audience and no supporters to speak of. Parker is railing against people who think that HE is full of crap, and he makes the mistake that, because an overwhelming majority of serious wine collectors and drinkers no longer take him or his palate seriously, it must be because they embrace the “anti-Parker” wines, as the same are defined by Parker. Not at all true. Most people like balanced wines that reflect typicity and, where evident, terroir. Parker can no longer distinguish or understand those wines…

  29. John Lahart permalink
    May 7, 2013

    First, if this was from Parker’s web site (he may have twittered I don’t get twitters), then, in all fairness, it was offered up in the light of starting a discussion: Parker-“What does everyone think about today’s wine market? A few of my thoughts follow:…” This is one of 10 view points few of which have anything to do with the styles of wines.

    I don’t know why, but Steinberger who I think is an excellent writer and reporter, resorts to what appears to be a personal, dare I say “jihad” against Parker. The piece is IMOP, clever though I personally find it to be of questionable taste and humorless. It is a compendium of anti-Parker mythology.

    Who does like “green, under ripe, insipid” wines? Not long ago Lettie Teague in the WSJ indicated Parker likes to drink simple whites from Spain so the stylistic myth of over ripe fruit bomb preference goes on in spite of the evidence. Parker’s case regarding Natural wines–Steinberger actually did a superb job dealing with them in a recent column, by the way–is more complex than presented here.

    My favorite criticism was delivered by Terry Theise who coined the term “wine dogma” as off-putting coming from the proponents of natural wines–the movement really.

    Some of the wines are actually quite nice IMOP, Others are..well..insipid and sour; and yes, under ripe–though insipid and under ripe are not traits limited to natural wines (by the way I am still waiting for a definition that passes the common sense test). Bad wine is bad wine.

  30. Jack Bulkin permalink
    May 7, 2013

    I wonder if Parker got the absurd “Jihadist” comment from Michel Chapoutier’s “Ayatolah” reference to Natural Wine proponents or visa versa?

  31. gregt permalink
    May 4, 2013

    Hilarious. Good job.

    Unless it’s all real.

    In which case, still a good job. And still hilarious.

  32. May 4, 2013

    I think the issue is that not many folks care about what Parker has to say these days. Sure, they care about his point scores, but no one really reads him anymore. And it is for reasons like this.

    He has yet to respond about his rant on point 7, despite more than a few requests.

    And he will not…someone just called him a bully on his wine board. It is a new poster/subscriber. And he will ignore him, too.

  33. Bill Klapp permalink
    May 3, 2013

    Is The Donald looking into Parker’s birth certificate?

  34. May 3, 2013

    In heaven will jihadist sommeliers be able to drink 70 virginal wines?

    Great stuff, Mike.

  35. May 3, 2013

    Poor RP, Dan–the jihadists burst through the gate and have now reached his beloved Bordeaux. The dark ages have returned.

    So, Gil, this means I’m going to be the Salman Rushdie of wine writers? Now that would be an achievement.

    Chris Kissack, thanks for stopping by, and for the very kind words.

    Lyle, you had a good run, and you deceived countless well-meaning consumers into believing that acidity and modest alcohol were virtues. You much have to answer for.

    Fiendish indeed, John, and glad I was able to bring it to light.

  36. May 2, 2013

    Chris Wallace, thanks very much–glad you enjoyed it. I had fun writing it!

    Ron, that is the bottom line–if you succumb to vinofreakism, if you allow the anti-flavor wine elite to dictate what you drink, the terrorists win. Conversely, extreme ripeness, extraction, and oak in the defense of liberty is no vice.

    Eric, thanks–couldn’t resist doing this after yesterday’s outburst. I keep thinking that he posts this stuff in jest, just to wind us up, but I guess he really does mean it!

    Jack, do let us know if RP responds. I’d love to know how much 07 Chateauneuf is stockpiled in his bunker in Monkton.

  37. JohnQBoxler permalink
    May 2, 2013

    Perfect. Thanks for revealing this fiendish plot!

  38. May 2, 2013

    I am so upset my plot was uncovered. I really had people going the last 15+ years.

  39. May 2, 2013

    Brilliant Mike, thanks for writing this.

  40. May 2, 2013

    100 bucks says that you Mike will shortly be getting a call from the Homeland Security Dept. and be put on the Fatwa list to be reviewed by Ahmadinejhad before the next Ramadan… 😉

  41. Dan McCallum permalink
    May 2, 2013

    Breaking news in the wine culture wars- Hedonism just lost a key winery to Holism. Pontet-Canet now making wine in clay amphora. The clay dug from their own ground. The winemaker expounds upon how now the wine matures in the same environment as the grapes. Yes, they’ve gone all Gravner!

  42. Jack Bulkin permalink
    May 2, 2013

    Rockin. Getting posted you know where. I hope Bobby enjoys it. Hosey, I will send your regards to the Big Blobber.

  43. May 2, 2013

    Mike, I am crying. Well done!

  44. May 2, 2013

    I knew it. If we drink Natural Wines, the terrorists win.

  45. Chris Wallace permalink
    May 2, 2013

    I laughed out loud reading that – well done!

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