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Chateau owner loses court battle over Parker book

Bordeaux doyen Alain Raynaud has failed in his legal attempt to strike passages from the Robert Parker exposé, published in France today.

Raynaud, who heads up the Cercle de Rive Droite, had requested an injunction against the book Robert Parker: Anatomie d’un Mythe, from a Bordeaux court yesterday.

Today, the court in Libourne found in favour of the publishers of the book, Editions Scali, and its author, Hanna Agostini.

The case centred around the suggestion, reported by Agostini, that Parker was the godfather of Raynaud’s daughter and that Raynaud had asked Parker to be a godfather in order to gain favour from the highly influential wine critic.

Raynaud told decanter.com that the court had found against him because he had not quashed reports at the time.

‘All I wanted to do was strike the passages about my daughter,’ he said. ‘I gave proof to the court that my daughter’s godfather is not Parker. She’s now 12 years old. It’s as if I’m accused of using my daughter. It’s as if I’m being accused of prostituting a minor.’

Raynaud said he had read an advance copy of the book as a member of a French literary society.

For her part, Agostini said she had not read the court’s ruling but that she was ‘extremely satisfied’ with the decision. She said she had sourced information from Elin McCoy’s 2005 book on Parker, The Emperor of Wine, as well as an article by wine writer Nicolas Rabaudy in the magazine Trois Etoiles.

‘When McCoy says in her book Parker said “he felt he couldn’t refuse” [the offer to be godfather], how are you supposed to take it?’ Agostini told decanter.com.

Raynaud said he was ‘surprised’ by the ruling and added that he was considering his options to taking the matter further.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos and Oliver Styles

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