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Bordeaux Great Value For Money, Says Parker

Bordeaux Great Value For Money, Says Parker
© AFP
The world's most famous critic speaks out on value-for-money Bordeaux, his legacy and Parkerization.

American wine critic Robert Parker believes that the wines of Bordeaux continue to offer value for money despite soaring prices for the region's top wines.

In a rare interview with French magazine Terre de Vins, Parker explained that the French region is one of the “best value for money wine regions in the world.”

“When I started, there were close to three dozen world-class wines made in Bordeaux...it was in 1978. Today, there are probably 300–400 world-class wines made in Bordeaux,” he said in the interview, published on Tuesday.

The lesser-known appellations, like the Côtes de Bordeaux and satellites of Saint-Émilion, are filled with châteaux that are “extremely good performers, producing marvelous wines at low prices,” he added.

“Despite the feeling that several first growths, super seconds and a handful of others are extremely expensive and perhaps sold for too much, Bordeaux remains one of the best regions in the world when it comes to value for money," the American critic said, adding that he has “played a role in that.”

Parker estimates he has made as many as 105 trips to Bordeaux to review the region's wines and believes that he has been responsible, in part, for Bordeaux's quality improvements since the 1980's. “I think that Bordeaux makes better wines and is better known across the world thanks to my efforts over the past 35 years.”

However, some have been critical of his influence, claiming that his preference for richer, riper wine styles has led to the "Parkerization" of wines, particularly in Bordeaux and California.

Parker admits that even his wife thinks that the Parker style exists but he has never subscribed to this belief. “I think that my taste is more complicated and more varied to be defined in such a black and white way. I love a number of styles of wine: the finesse and elegance of Pape-Clément to the rich unctuousness of Pétrus and Trotanoy,” he said.

However, even in "25–35 years” there will still be “a reference to 'Parkerised' wines or the 'Parker' style," he claims. "There's nothing I can do about it."

Parker, who recently sold a share in his wine review publication The Wine Advocate to a group of Singapore-based investors for a reported $15 million, explained that he was still closely involved with its editorial direction.

He will continue to review Bordeaux wines and will return to northern California. However, he has transferred his tasting responsibilities for the Rhône Valley to Jeb Dunnuck, founder of the blog The Rhone Report.

The Wine Advocate's headquarters will remain in Monkton, Maryland, while editorial responsibility has shifted to Singapore under the leadership of Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, with the goal of “penetrating the Asian fine wine market.”

However, the 65 year-old is gradually reducing his duties. “I need to take a step back from the daily work of the publication,” he admitted.

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