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Parker's Perfect Napa Dozen

Parker waxes lyrical over Napa's 2010s
© Jason Tinacci | Parker waxes lyrical over Napa's 2010s
Parker reveals his delicious dozen.

Returning to the role of Napa Valley reviewer for The Wine Advocate following Antonio Galloni’s shock resignation earlier this year, the world’s most influential wine critic, Robert Parker, has dished up 12 perfect scores.

Listed in the latest edition of the Advocate, the new ratings underline the superlative quality of Napa’s wines from the 2010 vintage, which Parker describes as “gorgeous" and “long-lived.” Ten of the 12 apparently flawless wines are 2010s, with the two remaining top slots occupied by wines from 2009 and 2011.

The 100-point winners include some familiar names, including the “mindblowing” 2010 Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, the “voluptuously textured” 2010 Dominus Proprietary Red Wine, and the 2010 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, which Parker calls “utter perfection.” That's a quality to be hoped for when the wine is listed at an average price of $2,142 per bottle on Wine-Searcher.

Only the 2007 and 1997 vintages of Screaming Eagle have ever garnered the perfect score; they currently trade at $3,347 and $5,075 per bottle respectively.

However, these scores are likely to push demand – and prices – up. Earlier this year, Parker's 100-point scores for the 2010 Bordeaux vintage led to a rapid rise in prices. In addition, this month's Liv-ex Cellar Watch Market Report showed that two of the most-traded wines beyond Bordeaux were 2008 Penfolds Grange, which received 100-points from The Wine Advocate's editor-in-chief, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, and 2010 Opus One, which Antonio Galloni marked 97.

The only non-cabernet sauvignon or Bordeaux blend to be anointed in Parker's latest 100-point rankings is Colgin Estate's Syrah. In total, the Pritchard Hill-based producer received an insurmountable three perfect scores from Parker, with top ratings also going to its cabernet-based 2010 Colgin Cariad Proprietary Red Wine and 2010 Colgin IX Proprietary Red Estate.

Galloni has today posted his own scores for Napa's 2010, '11 and '12 vintages. Just four 2010s achieve the maximum 100-point score and none is the same as the wines top-ranked by Parker. Galloni's picks are Bond Estate's St Eden (95 RP), David Abreu's Howell Mountain (94–97 RP), Kapcsandy's State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (93 RP), and Harlan Estate (98+ RP). 

However, there are many wines in the rival lists where the pair are in close agreement, such as the 2012 Dominus, which receives 98–100 points from both critics.

Bond Estate, Abreu and Dalla Valle dominate Galloni's list of favorites from the three vintages, occupying 10 of his top 15 slots.

Related stories:

Perfect Parker Scores See Prices Rocket

100-Point Grange Sees 25% Price Rise

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  • Comments

    Renos wrote:
    03-Mar-2014 at 22:54:05 (GMT)

    I've been involved in the wine industry since the age of 14, now in my fifties. I've seen trends, been involved in tastings and can't fathom how a wine gets a score of 100. No matter what the product is. From an exotic car to the Mona Lisa. What is perfection? Wine is a consumer product, a liquid, a food item to be enjoyed, not looked at and say "Ahh, this wine is worth thousands of dollars". I don't agree with wine being worth thousands of dollars. Although good for the winery in terms of income. But can you taste the difference between a $100 wine and $1000 wine? No, its only because it's rare. But you can taste the difference between $15 and $100? Yes you can and that is more enjoyable. As for a wine being scored 100/100. It's the "now" factor. For that moment all the tastes align, for whatever reason. Like the planets, but we know acid in wine goes down after time and tannins soften, and if the alcohol is too high can overtake the grape flavours. So what is perfection in wine is really hard to define. Does Parker have the palate to be the advocate for the average and seasoned wine drinker drinker? No he does not. It's his palate that HE is looking for. What he should be looking at is how it drinks. That's a big difference between how it drinks and his palate. Parker has loaded his palate to be the one to be considered. And that is the danger for all wineries and consumers. And it has been said before, that wineries are making wines to suit the palate of Parker. So the subtleties are thrown out the cellar door, knocking down the average drinker and propping up Parker. A wine, like the average description on the label "well rounded" and should not be pointed in one direction. To the palate of Parker. No, I am not anti Parker. I read his notes and taste the wines he recommends also, but to a point. It's the scoring that is the issue. One mans meat is another mans poison. And a wine that will be ready to drink in 25 years! Well we don't know what is going to happen to us tomorrow, and to wait 25 years for the wine to find its right balance. By then I will personally be out of balance. I want to drink a good bottle of wine for between $15 (for dinner every night say) and on a special occasion that $100 bottle of wine. Otherwise the cost of the wine overtakes the cost of feeding the family every night. My Ferrari that I buy today will not be as good in 25 years, better than a 25 year old one...

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