Neal Martin – rightful heir to the crown or the new pretender?

It would appear that the baton has now well and truly been passed from the wine world’s most globally influential critic, Robert Parker, to his ‘heir of choice’, Brit, Neal Martin.

68-year old Parker is slowly relinquishing his influence over the wine market and has this week announced that Neal Martin will now be responsible for the tasting and scoring of the Bordeaux clarets in future for The Wine Advocate.

What impact this will have on the market is yet to be seen but where some commentators see Martin as having secured “one of the most coveted jobs in wine, with power to make or break reputations in Bordeaux” (The Times 20th, April 2016), others would argue it’s not the job title that influences the market but rather the individual’s personal reputation built up over time.

It is noted that Martin, who resides in Guildford, Surrey, has been personally selected by Parker, who observes that he, (Martin), “is clearly the most experienced and seasoned veteran”.

A view from Bordeaux is that the removal of Parker will be good for the region, the negociants will have to work harder to find their market without the ‘oracle critic’ pointing the way and determining value.

Some even argue that Parker’s palate has even altered the taste of Bordeaux and that the region’s chateaux have adapted their wines in quest of a high score. Hence, the demise of Parker may well be seen by some in Bordeaux as a positive.

That aside the market still puts great store behind a highly scored Parker wine and without doubt those wines will now be even more highly prized, as there won’t be anymore! Those of you holding Parker scored 100 point wines are very lucky indeed – it’s rare to see quick movements in wine values so don’t expect it to happen overnight but your Parker Bordeaux 100 pointers are well worth hanging onto!

Chateau Haut Brion – Parker 100 vintages:
1945, 1961, 1989, 2005, 2009 and 2010

As for 45-year old Mr Martin, he claims not to feel any pressure to be the ‘next Robert Parker’. Parker had a background in Law and Martin started out in insurance with Lloyds of London and then got into wine whilst working with an export company in Japan.

He has, from there built a profile in wine, publishing tasting notes on his own website (wine-journal.com), established in 2003, which drew him to Parker’s attention and ultimate invitation to join the Wine Advocate team in 2006. Having been responsible for the Advocate’s commentary on the wines of Burgundy and other regions he now takes on Bordeaux – and we, like the rest of the wine world, will watch with interest to see if he can go onto build a ‘Parker-style’ reputation.

In the meantime, if you want to find out which wines enjoy a Parker 100 score, check Parker’s score of your own wine and get a FREE valuation please contact us now on 0203 384 2262 or email info@vin-x.com