Parker slams Medoc for ‘pride, provincial jealousies and greed’

  • Friday 9 June 2006

Robert Parker has slammed the ‘aristocrats of the Medoc’ on his bulletin board for ‘pride, provincial jealousies, and greed’ in their pricing policies.

Following conversations with buyers and sellers, the influential critic posted a vitriolic attack on his website.

Parker accused the chateau of ‘devising a multitude of ways to manipulate the marketplace by creating the illusion of shortages’ in continually holding back from releasing their wines and prices in the 2005 en primeur campaign.

Parker warned that these tactics could backfire with the end of school year around two weeks away, saying that fighting over cases of hyped Bordeaux would seem ‘increasingly irrelevant’.

‘By dragging this process into mid-June, they may well be killing the golden goose, all because of pride, provincial jealousies, and greed,’ he said.

‘Why a famous chateau can't decide on a realistic price that gives them a good profit, forget that their neighbours might make a few euros more or less, and just sell the wines must just be too damn simple.’

Parker said he pictured consumers saying ‘bugger off’ to the ‘silly price games’ being played by the chateaux.

Those in Bordeaux had mixed views.

‘We never try to manipulate the market,’ Paul Pontallier of first growth Château Margaux told decanter.com. ‘[But] I can see if others have the temptation to do so.’

Pontallier also defended the timing of the campaign saying that this was not the first time it had lasted into June.

‘Producers need to have an idea of the market, so it is logical to take longer,’ he said. ‘In 2004, we came out earlier with prices because there was less interest.’

Lilian Barton, of second-growth Château Léoville Barton conceded that the campaign was running ‘too late’.

‘Everyone is fed up,’ Barton told decanter.com. ‘I had a customer in Hong Kong who half jokingly told me that the money he had put aside to buy wine has been used to buy Louis Vuitton bags.’

On the Right Bank meanwhile, Hubert de Bouard of the premier cru classé Château Angélus in St. Emilion agreed that the ‘process is taking too long’ and agreed with Parker.

‘The fact that we are looking at one another is frustrating for consumers,’ he said. ‘I am convinced that he is right.’

A decanter.com poll so far shows that 58% of respondents do not plan to buy any 2005 futures at all.

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