Influential wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. is stepping down from his Bordeaux duties after 38 consecutive years tasting and scoring the wines of the world-famous region.
Parker’s career has been firmly rooted in Bordeaux from his earliest forays into wine writing. He rose to fame when he correctly predicted the quality of the region’s 1982 vintage in his bi-monthly newsletter, known as The Wine Advocate. Not long after, it became the most widely cited reference in the fine wine sector, with Parker’s 100-point rating scale said to make or break a brand, in some cases doubling both prices and market demand for high-scoring wines. His famous 1985 book, Bordeaux, now in its third edition, remains the most respected guide to the region’s vintages. He has also contributed to F&W over the years, reporting on up-and-coming producers and (correctly) forecasting changes that would influence how we shop for wine.
The announcement comes as the third wave of Parker’s cutting back duties at the publication. In 2012, he named Lisa Perrotti-Brown as his replacement as editor-in-chief, and in February, he announced he would no longer review Bordeaux futures, handing over that responsibility to British wine writer Neal Martin.
Now in addition to futures, Martin assumes all review coverage for Bordeaux. So basically, both in-barrel and in-bottle versions of the wines. While the timing of this passing-of-the-torch may come as a surprise, the choice of replacement makes perfect sense. Martin has been regularly visiting the region’s châteaux since 1997 and has hundreds of Bordeaux articles under his belt in addition to his impressive 2012 book, Pomerol, arguably the most detailed (and beautiful) volume on the Right Bank appellation’s producers to date.
Martin tells The Wine Advocate subscribers in a press release that he’ll “not only be reporting on the top of the hierarchy or iconic wines…Bordeaux is occupied by countless, relatively unknown châteaux and rarely mentioned sub-regions that produce great and affordable wine. All of these will be on my radar.”