Is this the end of an era or the start of a new one ? At a news conference in London earlier this week the world’s pre-eminent wine critic, Robert Parker, effectively continued to present his baton to Neal Martin by announcing that he would no longer be assessing Bordeaux vintages at the annual en primeur tastings in the spring. He will continue to review Bordeaux wines that are “physical” starting with the newly bottled 2012 vintage and writing a retrospective on the highly regarded 2005 vintage. Parker has covered every Bordeaux vintage since 1978 and after back surgery, the sale of a stake in the Wine Advocate to a Singapore businessman in 2012 and handing over the editor’s role it looks like he is finally winding down. He has not only anointed his successor but it is a defining moment for the fine wine market.
Neal Martin for his part has promised “a more funky approach” in his reporting style and for those who know little about him he actually has 18 years more experience than Parker did at the same stage. Parker himself (self-effacingly) opined that “He is probably the second most experienced guy to do it.” It should be an interesting vintage with the Bordelais under pressure with 3 unsold vinatges in their cellars. Interestingly Parker reported that Bordeaux has lost a large share of the American market because they have not been realistic with their pricing in the last 3 years. Martin joined the Wine Advocate in 2006 and also covers Burgundy, Oregon and South Africa but it is Bordeaux that will define him if he can win over all of the Wine Advocate’s readers. For more information please click below.