A year ago, Robert Parker Jnr, the world’s most influential wine critic, stashed his ‘professional spittoon’ in the cupboard and retired from his public role tasting and rating wine, educating consumers, influencing trade and, importantly, the growers themselves. Parker will probably always be recognised as the ‘Godfather of Wine Critics’ – a role he carved out for himself and what an impact on the global fine wine market he has made!
Robert Parker Jnr, a US lawyer by training, with a passion for wine, established The Wine Advocate in 1978 wherein he published opinions and critical scores on wines from around the world. This source of information has become one of the most important reference points for consumers and the wine trade, and was acquired by Michelin – to sit alongside its food establishment guide in 2019, as Parker finally retired.
It seems a fitting time therefore, on this anniversary week of his retirement, to remind ourselves of the value of a wine deemed as perfect by the only wine writer to receive the highest honours by Presidents of France and Italy and also noted by fellow journalists as “a fierce champion of the consumer” and “the most powerful critic of any kind, anywhere”.
Parker’s reviews at key points in a wine’s life, such as the en primeur tasting of the previous year’s vintage – we should have tasted 2019 by now and be in the thick of that vintage’s en primeur campaign – or when a wine goes into bottle or ten year anniversary tastings – these have been key times when Parker’s opinion and scores have literally moved markets in wine.
An example of the Parker influence can be seen with Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 2005, which was tasted and rescored at its ten year anniversary in 2015. The market expected some movement for this great wine but when he published the upgrade to 100 points in June 2015 the price moved a staggering 47.7% from £3,200 to £4,506 (12 x 75cl).
Over time, since 1982 the vintage, which really launched him onto the global stage as having an extraordinary palate and offering a valuable guide to wine quality and value, Parker has scored a very limited number of wines with the perfect 100/100 points. These rare, exceptional wines will always carry the cachet of being viewed by the most influential critic of all time as ‘perfect’ and as they age and become rarer and should naturally become more valuable.
Fine wine prices have been influenced by global economic dynamics and regional trends in demand and some 100 Parker point wines are available at prices that offer incredible value for investors prepared to hold for the long term. These are considered ‘blue-chip’ investment wines that are core components of a robust fine wine portfolio and any opportunity to include in a collection should grabbed with both hands.
At the market’s height, Parker rated the Bordeaux 2009 and 2010 vintages as the most prolific top quality vintages ever, awarding a staggering fifty wines across the two with the perfect score, since then there have been great vintages, including 2015 and 2016, but not in such volume and Parker had by then passed the Bordeaux review over to his protégé, Neal Martin.
Since then, no other critic has been able to establish themselves as Parker did. We now follow the multiple opinions of Martin and his Vinous colleague, Antonio Galloni, James Suckling, Jancis Robinson MW to name a few. But individually, none of them have had the same influence over the market and wine prices that Parker had.
So as we raise a glass to the ‘Godfather’ a year on from the end of Parker’s era, we remind you to seek out those Perfect Parkers now. Call us to get the latest prices and where we see the best opportunities for future growth in Parker’s 100 point wines now on 0203 384 2262.