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Bill Hooper

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Parker staff change

by Bill Hooper » Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:33 pm

Parker announces new staff
September 1, 2006
Howard G Goldberg in New York

The new writers for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate were announced today, following last week's departure of Pierre Rovani and Daniel Thomases.

Aside from Parker, four new or expanded roles at the publication have been created. Parker himself will now cover only four regions.

David Schildknecht, who has written for the Advocate part-time since 2005, will leave his job in the wine business to become full-time in the New Year. He will bear much of the work left by Rovani as well as covering other areas not regularly touched on by the publication.

'In addition to his continued championing of the wines of Germany and Austria as well as Central Europe and America's Eastern and Midwestern wineries, [Schildknecht] will also cover Alsace, Burgundy, the Loire Valley and the Languedoc-Roussillon,' Parker said.

Parker said his journal 'will expand coverage by at least 30-50 percent, as many areas that have been shortchanged because of a lack of person-power will now receive full coverage.'

Schildknecht will also take on Champagne. Parker admits that until now, he has been 'remiss' in not focussing enough attention on the region. Further responsibilities include New Zealand and South Africa.

Beginning on 1 Oct, Antonio Galloni, who created the Piedmont Report newsletter two years ago, will cover all of Italy's major wine areas, providing tasting reports and vintage assessments.

Galloni's first reports will appear in the Advocate's October issue, and will embrace 2001 Piedmont wines, 2003 Barbarescos and possibly 2001 Brunello di Montalcinos.

Parker has also hired Dr Jay Miller, with whom he has tasted wine weekly for almost 25 years. Miller will leave his post as the buyer and manager of Bin 604, a Baltimore wine shop, to cover Portugal's fortified wines, the Pacific Northwest, Spain, Australia and South America. Mark Squires, who oversees the Bulletin Board on Parker's Web site, will cover Portugal's dry wines.

Parker himself will focus on Bordeaux, California, the Rhône Valley and Provence.

Much of the extra data, analysis and tasting notes will be absorbed by his website.

Parker also said he anticipated introducing a 'critic-at-large' to his website. He offered no identification but said the candidate is 'a prolific writer who will provide remarkable diversity and expertise, and will represent a point of view outside the American perspective that now dominates this site.'



How will this change things over there? I think David Schildknecht does a pretty good job with Germany. It will be interesting to see what he does with Alsace, Champage, and the Loire not to mention Burgundy. All regions that tend not to favor "classically parkerized" wines.


-Bill
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Robin Garr

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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:54 pm

David's influence should improve the product. I hope the product doesn't drag David down.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Parker staff change

by Bob Ross » Mon Sep 04, 2006 5:30 pm

You two have been friends for a long time with David, haven't you, Robin?

I sure hope your are right about his impact on WA.
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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:07 pm

I'm not sure about "friends" in the sense of a close personal relationship, Bob, but I've tasted wine with David many times and find him an amiable gent with an outstanding palate and, probably just as important, a remarkable palate memory for the wines he's tasted. And a brilliant man who probably carries most of <I>Oxford</I> in his head. More than once I've jokingly likened him to a clone of Callahan but with a much more pleasing personality. ;)
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Re: Parker staff change

by Bob Ross » Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:14 pm

A perfect word picture, Robin, thanks. He is a regular contributor to Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages -- I've been impressed by his erudition.
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Re: Parker staff change

by David Lole » Mon Sep 04, 2006 6:20 pm

You would think a "98 points - Jay Miller WA" review tag might have little impact on the economic fortune of a 15.9% Barossa Shiraz. But that would be too easy - I'd be punting on "98 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate".
Cheers,

David
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Re: Parker staff change

by Lou Kessler » Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:45 pm

I've broken bread and tasted wines with David S. whom I met through a mutual friend Mark Anisman here in Napa on a few occasions I've always been greatly impressed by David's tasting ability and I'm convinced he'll add a great deal of expertise to The Wine Advocate's contents. His taste in wine is much closer to the style I personally like and he should be a great asset . Think acid, terroir, not gobs & gobs. Fabulous memory etc. I'm looking forward to his new assignements. Oh, did I mention he's a hell of a nice guy?
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Re: Parker staff change

by Dale Williams » Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:37 pm

Bill Hooper wrote:Jay Miller, with whom he has tasted wine weekly for almost 25 years. Miller will cover Portugal's fortified wines, the Pacific Northwest, Spain, Australia and South America.


What is all this fuss I hear about Jay Miller reviewing Australia, Spain, and Oregon? Will every St. Innocent get 92 points? Every Lopez y Heredia 95? Every Sparky Marquis wine a 72?

(Emily, not THAT Jay Miller)

"Oh, that's quite different ...never mind"

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Re: Parker staff change

by Ian Sutton » Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:11 am

Lou Kessler wrote:I've broken bread and tasted wines with David S. whom I met through a mutual friend Mark Anisman here in Napa on a few occasions I've always been greatly impressed by David's tasting ability and I'm convinced he'll add a great deal of expertise to The Wine Advocate's contents. His taste in wine is much closer to the style I personally like and he should be a great asset . Think acid, terroir, not gobs & gobs. Fabulous memory etc. I'm looking forward to his new assignements. Oh, did I mention he's a hell of a nice guy?

Lou
No, you've got it all wrong!!! If he recommends what you like, then the "points whoresTM" will drive the price up beyond your means.
David: "Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, but into my eyes, 3-2-1 you're under. You do not like elegant wines, you like big fat syrup-fruity wines. <click>

Equilibrium is returned :wink:
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Re: Parker staff change

by Lou Kessler » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:04 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Lou, No, you've got it all wrong!!! If he recommends what you like, then the "points whoresTM" will drive the price up beyond your means.
David: "Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, but into my eyes, 3-2-1 you're under. You do not like elegant wines, you like big fat syrup-fruity wines. <click>

Equilibrium is returned :wink:


You're so right, I had a brain cramp. I'm not reliable, forget what I said.
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Jenise

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Re: Parker staff change

by Jenise » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:57 am

Woefully in the dark here: Did Rovani quit, or was he scuttled?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:37 am

Jenise wrote:Woefully in the dark here: Did Rovani quit, or was he scuttled?


Welcome home, Jenise! Can't wait to hear China stories!

Obviously a discreet silence falls over all this, but let's say that they gave Rovani the literary equivalent of a going-away party, with a nice gold watch and a certificate for his wall, and all sorts of compliments, while Mr. Thomases (about whom I know literally nothing) apparently felt the back of the door hit him in the hindquarters as he left amid a chorus of "no comments."
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Re: Parker staff change

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:46 am

As stated by the principals of the change, Rovani turned down the opportunity to become the eventual "owner" of the WA franchise. He was not fired, but moved on of his own free will.

And as for David S., he has been writing for the WA for a year now, and nothing in his writing has changed except for the application of points, which have been done with some reasonable accuracy to past * and ** practices.
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Re: Parker staff change

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:46 am

Robin Garr wrote:David's influence should improve the product. I hope the product doesn't drag David down.


Psst. Your bias is showing...
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:11 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Psst. Your bias is showing...


No surprise there ... but do you disagree?
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Re: Parker staff change

by Jenise » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:45 pm

David and Robin, thanks for the additional information. I no longer subscribe to the Advocate, so was blissfully unaware of all this.

As for China, stories abound but will have to wait until I re-synchronize. That is, I'm actually drinking a cup of tea at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time, but my body clock says it's time to open the after-dinner bubbly (we did serious damage to China's supply of Moet and Bollinger). I won't be totally coherent until this stops. :roll:
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Re: Parker staff change

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:54 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Psst. Your bias is showing...


No surprise there ... but do you disagree?


Yes.
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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:01 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Yes.


Okay, that's fair, but in what way? You don't think that David S. raises the level of the publication? Yes, I know. He was writing for them before, but as a contributor. Speaking in general, do you disagree that he's a strong addition?
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Re: Parker staff change

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:04 pm

I agree that he is a very strong addition. I don't agree with the sentiment of your not so veiled comment about the WA dragging him down.
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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:41 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:I agree that he is a very strong addition. I don't agree with the sentiment of your not so veiled comment about the WA dragging him down.


What's with the somewhat-veiled nastiness, David? I was trying to be direct, not to veil anything. Look: I don't think Parker has been great for the world of wine. His tastes, and his very strong influence on a small but important segment of the niche market for high-end wines, have been among several factors that have changed the world of wine in ways that many of us don't like.

David Schildknecht has long displayed a palate that's almost nothing like Parker's, with a preference for refined, subtle, balanced, Old World-style wines. I hope that by bringing this to Wine Advocate he will balance their coverage. I have some fear that as he is assimilated, he'll be under pressure to move in the direction of "Parkerized" wines to keep the product consistent.

I hope that won't happen, but I think it's a fair and legitimate concern, and I'm certainly not trying to express it in a "veiled" or stealthy way. I thought I was being right out front.
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Re: Parker staff change

by Jenise » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:47 pm

Robin Garr wrote:David Schildknecht has long displayed a palate that's almost nothing like Parker's, with a preference for refined, subtle, balanced, Old World-style wines. I hope that by bringing this to Wine Advocate he will balance their coverage. I have some fear that as he is assimilated, he'll be under pressure to move in the direction of "Parkerized" wines to keep the product consistent.


I'll bet David was hired for exactly what you describe, Robin, to help soothe the naysayers and restore the Advocate's esteem. David's track record is apparently quite strong and Parker knows exactly what he's getting--he could have hired a lot of other people who would simply have been Parker Juniors.

What do you think of Squires getting Portugese dry reds? Is Mark really expert in that area or his Parker just tossing him a bone? Or is it both?
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Re: Parker staff change

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:55 pm

Jenise wrote:'ll bet David was hired for exactly what you describe, Robin, to help soothe the naysayers and restore the Advocate's esteem. David's track record is apparently quite strong and Parker knows exactly what he's getting--he could have hired a lot of other people who would simply have been Parker Juniors.


That would be the best interpretation, and frankly, I hope it's correct.

What do you think of Squires getting Portugese dry reds? Is Mark really expert in that area or his Parker just tossing him a bone? Or is it both?


Assuming that's not a joke (first I've heard of it), I'm really unable to comment without descending to the kind of snarky humor that David incorrectly thought I was indulging in the first place. :D
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Re: Parker staff change

by David M. Bueker » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:57 pm

Jenise wrote:What do you think of Squires getting Portugese dry reds? Is Mark really expert in that area or his Parker just tossing him a bone? Or is it both?


Mark knows what he is talking about in most wine areas. He is a very good taster who is also very well informed.

And as for the bad influence of Parker...I'll take the bad influence on balance with the good, as there was a lot more bad wine out there before he put the focus on it. There's still plenty of elegant wines even with all the monsters.

And again, I don't see David S. being swayed away from his personal preferences.
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Re: Parker staff change

by Ian Sutton » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:06 pm

Jenise wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:David Schildknecht has long displayed a palate that's almost nothing like Parker's, with a preference for refined, subtle, balanced, Old World-style wines. I hope that by bringing this to Wine Advocate he will balance their coverage. I have some fear that as he is assimilated, he'll be under pressure to move in the direction of "Parkerized" wines to keep the product consistent.


I'll bet David was hired for exactly what you describe, Robin, to help soothe the naysayers and restore the Advocate's esteem. David's track record is apparently quite strong and Parker knows exactly what he's getting--he could have hired a lot of other people who would simply have been Parker Juniors.

What do you think of Squires getting Portugese dry reds? Is Mark really expert in that area or his Parker just tossing him a bone? Or is it both?

and I agree - proof is in the pudding though

Squires: It could be perceived as an insult giving someone such a small area (though I doubt it's that) - perhaps a trial period deal they struck to enable Squires to establish credibility as a writer?

I think the question of independance is one to watch. On the face of it they seem to be allowed free rein (albeit with certain constraints e.g. scores and fitting into the magazine format). However if they don't meet Parker's perception of required standard, then he's prepared to wield the axe?

I guess there would be a problem if DS was championing elegance and RP was rubbishing it. That's one of the problems with Parker's forthright views, as it could create conflict within the team if anyone disagrees. Not sure what editorial control is exercised (past or future).

regards

Ian
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