This has, once again, turned into a big stink among the wine types who hang out in the cyber ether. Blogger Tyler Colman, whose Dr. Vino is among the top-visited wine blogs on the Internet, has taken Robert Parker to task for allegedly not paying for all of the wines that Parker's empire reviews. Parker, of course, runs the Wine Advocate and is the most important person in the wine world.
Does Parker buy the wine he and his tasters write about? Parker says yes, mostly. Colman says no, and wonders why Parker isn't more forthright about sampling. The Wine Curmudgeon says: "Who cares?"
Should Parker be upfront about which wine is purchased and which is sampled (the practice where producers give wines to writers to review). Yes. Is it the most important problem facing the wine world? No, and I truly don't understand why this keeps coming up. Has Dr. Vino written about critic Jancis Robinson, the anti-Parker, and how she uses samples? I couldn't find any evidence that he has.
Criticize Parker for having too much influence. Criticize Parker for inventing the 100-point scoring system. Criticize Parker for his palate, which prefers powerful, fruity, high-alcohol, oaky wines. Criticize Parker because the Italians, French and Spanish make wine that tastes like it came from California's Central Coast in order to play to his palate. Criticize Parker because companies now exist to help winemakers manipulate grapes to make wines that play to his palate.
Those are the problems facing the wine world, not whether Robert Parker hedges about samples. Yes, taking on Parker generates lots of comments and repeat visits to a blog or Web site. But it doesn't help anyone make better wine.