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New Move For Parker: Signed Wines

Producers Bernard Magrez, Matthieu Cuvelier, Florence Cathiard, Didier Cuvelier and Aymeric de Gironde with the signed "Robert Parker Selection."
© Sud Ouest/Vinexpo | Producers Bernard Magrez, Matthieu Cuvelier, Florence Cathiard, Didier Cuvelier and Aymeric de Gironde with the signed "Robert Parker Selection."
French wine merchant strikes unprecedented deal.

A top Bordeaux négociant has revealed plans to produce a world first: a limited edition of cases of wine signed by American critic Robert Parker and labeled "100/100."

According to the regional newspaper Sud Ouest, Bernard Pujol, head of Bordeaux Wine Selection (BVS), will present the wines at Vinexpo, which is due to open in Bordeaux later this month.

The specially designed boxes, made from lime-washed wood, will contain five wines from the 2009 vintage. They will come from Clos Fourtet (Saint-Émilion), Smith Haut Lafitte (Graves), Leoville Poyferré (Saint-Julien), Cos d'Estournel (Saint- Estèphe), and Pape Clément (Graves) – the only white wine in the lineup. 

Inscriptions on the top of the cases and repeated inside will read: "100 points," "Bordeaux 2009," and "Robert Parker Selection." They will also carry Parker's signature.

Representatives of the five estates represented in the "Robert Parker Selection" – Bernard Magrez (Pape Clément), Matthieu Cuvelier (Clos Fourtet), Florence Cathiard (Smith Haut Lafitte), Didier Cuvelier (Leoville Poyferré), and Aymeric de Gironde (Cos d'Estournel) – gathered for the unveiling of the first case and posed for photographs.

Six hundred of the boxes will be sold, with a retail price in France of around 2,000 euros ($2,627). Prices may be higher abroad once taxes have been added.

Pujol told Sud Ouest that the idea for the limited edition came to him last year. "In 2009, a year of superb quality, Robert Parker gave 18 Bordeaux properties 100/100. The best of the best. Why not bring some of them together in a special case? Well, here it is!"

According to Pujol, the deal was struck with the new owners of The Wine Advocate, based in Singapore, and directly with Parker himself. Pujol declined to reveal any details, saying only: "I didn't sign a single check, there was no commercial transaction, but I do have an arrangement with them." 

In Pujol's view, the deal with the Advocate would not have been possible before the change of ownership.

The Sud Ouest report speculates on whether, after the sale of the Advocate, Parker might lose control of the use of his name for commercial purposes. It quotes a Gironde broker as saying: "I bet that within a year or two the Asians will be doing exactly as they please." 

The BVS "Robert Parker Selection" includes a USB stick containing a short film in which the wine critic explains how he arrives at 100/100 scores. Each buyer will also receive a one-year subscription to the Advocate.

NB: This article has been updated since it was first published to include more details of the Sud Ouest story.

L-R: Bordeaux negociant Bernard Pujol; Robert Parker and signature
© BVS Wine/eRobert Parker | L-R: Bordeaux negociant Bernard Pujol; Robert Parker and signature

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  • Comments

    Juan Carlos Barr´┐Żn Cerda wrote:
    07-Jun-2013 at 23:56:30 (GMT)

    To bad Parker play this commercial rol

  • ED N wrote:
    07-Jun-2013 at 19:44:46 (GMT)

    The offering would have been more appropriate at a special reduced price. Hard to believe that Parker and/or the Wine Advocate would do this for nothing but charging more than what the wine is worth seems to be the new normal in Bordeaux. $1,500 premium for Parker's signature and a box? Looking at the reduction in Bordeaux sales, I guess they will never learn.

  • Glen K. wrote:
    07-Jun-2013 at 18:45:21 (GMT)

    Parker and friends must hope nobody prices out their dream case bottle by bottle on Wine-Searcher.Com, because you would get a lot of change from a thousand dollar bill. Yes, the fancy wooden case may impress visitors to your cellar, is that worth an extra couple of grand?

  • Giorgos Hadjistylianou wrote:
    07-Jun-2013 at 10:20:18 (GMT)

    NO oak.... NO fruit-bombs..... NO Parker-ization!!!

  • roger davison wrote:
    07-Jun-2013 at 07:19:27 (GMT)

    Very tacky.

  • Mr Bruce Katz wrote:
    07-Jun-2013 at 04:42:24 (GMT)

    What does "not involve a commercial transaction" mean? Is this a quote from Mr. Parker?

  • Hugh wrote:
    05-Jun-2013 at 14:27:43 (GMT)

    So much for being a consumer advocate. Everybody has a price, right? This new ownership of the Wine Advocate is proving to be not so honourable, it would appear.

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