Mark Aselstine
May 24, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

End of an Era-Parker to no longer review new California Vintages

One of the least understood facts in the wine trade is that Robert Parker doesn’t review every wine listed in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. For years the publication has been the foremost authority on fine wine throughout the world and Parker’s affinity for both Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and all things Bordeaux have helped those two regions gain even further market share during the last two decades.

It was with great sadness that we saw Parker’s decision to retire from reviewing current California vintages on Feb 1st, 2011. He’ll continue on with Bordreaux and with older California vintages, but this is really the end of an area.

For a man responsible for so much growth and change within the wine industry, we’re always been impressed with Parker’s ability to keep a level head about wine and wine critics. The long term implications for California wines are certainly unknown, but it’ll likely be years before the influence of Wine Advocate begins to wane, if it ever does.

Personally, we’re glad to see some added attention being paid to wine years after it was left in a cellar. There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than savoring a bottle for a generation, only to open it and be under whelmed by the entire experience. Here is hoping Parker can revolutionize cellared wine in the same way he did new releases with his once ground breaking 100 point scale.

“Dear Subscriber:

I am thrilled to announce that Antonio Galloni will have expanded responsibilities for The Wine Advocate and as of February 1, 2011. I would like to take credit for my powers of persuasion over recent years in trying to convince Antonio of the virtues of covering additional wine regions, but if truth be known, the writing was always on the wall that his enviable talents and passion for this field would ultimately prevail, and the beneficiaries are the world’s wine consumers.

Antonio will continue to focus on the wines of Italy as well as Champagne, but two new areas of responsibility for Antonio will include the red and white Burgundies of the Côte d’Or as well as the crisp white wines of Chablis, and the wines of California. These vast regions will benefit from the increased depth of coverage, as will all the major wine regions of the world.

Additionally, sectors that merit dramatically more attention but have not had sufficient coverage, including Beaujolais and the Mâconnais (now economically as important as the Cote d’Or and Chablis) will be put under a microscope by David Schildknecht, who will continue with his other areas of responsibility but will be freed from covering the Cote d’Or and Chablis.

I will turn to something I have long played around with in The Wine Advocate but have rarely had enough time to do. Older readers may remember the vintage retrospectives called “What About Now?” With Antonio turning his attention to California, I am going to begin a series of horizontal and vertical tastings of perfectly stored California wines that will give readers insight into how they are developing. It has been a long-term ambition of mine to include more reports on older vintages, and this change will allow me to do this not only in California, but also to increase the older vintage reports for Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley.

In all other respects, the staff assignments at The Wine Advocate remain identical. I hope all of you share our great enthusiasm for the fact that Antonio Galloni has finally taken the plunge and will be devoting most of his time to his wine writing career, a job for which he seems particularly well-suited and sure to excel.

All the best in wine and life,
Robert M. Parker, Jr.

P.S. The Wine Advocate writer assignments are:

Robert Parker – Bordeaux, the Rhône Valley, older vintages of Bordeaux, Rhône and California wines
Antonio Galloni – Italy, Champagne, Chablis, Côte d’Or, California
David Schildknecht – Germany, Loire, Beaujolais and Mâconnais, Eastern U.S., Austria,
Eastern Europe, Languedoc-Roussillon, Jura
Jay Miller – Oregon, Washington, South America, Spain
Lisa Perrotti – Brown – Australia, New Zealand
Neal Martin – Critic-at-Large overlapping all areas, plus specific reviewer of South Africa
Mark Squires – Bulletin Board supervision and occasional articles on Israel, Portugal, and Greece


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