Pavie debate: Robinson speaks out

Jancis Robinson MW has responded to Robert Parker’s recent comments attacking British wine tasters with letters to the New York Times and International Herald Tribune.

In a terse, two-paragraph missive the eminent UK wine critic rebuffs the suggestion of a transatlantic divide.

The idea of British wine writers constantly slamming the American critic is ‘an excellent story’, she said. But, she added, ‘it is not true’.

Returning to the origin of the transatlantic spat – the conflicting opinions between the two tasters over the merits of Château Pavie 2003 – Robinson said she had criticized the wine ‘long before Parker had published his own, very different, opinion of it.’

‘It was, I’m afraid, he [Parker] who criticized me for disliking it,’ she said.

Although Robinson said that the media had ‘made much of this tiny storm in a wine glass’, she also made no secret of the annoyance she felt on reading the New York Times article in which the journalist, Eric Asimov, said Parker saw the disagreement ‘almost as class conflict’.

‘I especially resent the suggestion that the Brits bait Parker out of jealousy and that a dislike of [Pavie owner] Gerard Perse’s wines could possibly be inspired by snobbishness,’ she told decanter.com.

Robinson added that she was keen to correct the impression that she specialised in the so-called ‘Parker-bashing’.

‘I try to be scrupulous in avoiding personal criticism as I know that a) wine tasting is a subjective business and b) Robert Parker does a fine job. Just as I try to do.’

Written by Oliver Styles