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Jancis Robinson: critics should show more humility

Wine critic Jancis Robinson MW has called wine critics ‘parasitical’ and has urged them to be more humble and honest.

Speaking at the WineCreator conference in Ronda, Spain, conference president Robinson said, ‘We must always remember that we are parasites on the business of winemaking.’

Robinson further exhorted journalists to be more honest.

‘We know how winemakers like to keep us sweet,’ she continued, exhorting journalists to say what they really think about wines – and to be more humble.

‘We must realise we only have one palate,’ she said.

The issue of critics’ attitudes to wines – and winemakers’ responses to consumer demands – arose several times during the two day meeting.

Peter Sisseck, winemaker for Pingus in Ribera del Duero, was angered by the suggestion made during the conference by Decanter editor Guy Woodward that some winemakers make wines to suit the palates of certain critics.

‘I don’t even think it is possible to do this,’ he said, calling Woodward’s remarks arrogant for implying winemakers do not have their own opinions.

Robinson said that a comment by a US critic – that it is relatively easy to describe a wine with a lot fruit or tannin, and harder to describe an elegant wine – had sent a chill down her spine.

She further condemned the contradictory nature of some critics as ‘scary’, citing an incident wherein one critic described what he didn’t like about Spanish wine Vega Sicilia, but nonetheless gave it a good mark.

Written by Sophie Kevany

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