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Robert Parker ‘deal’ to commercialise his name

For the first time, Robert Parker is allowing his name to be used in a branding exercise: a €2000 case of Bordeaux 2009s.

Cases containing Smith Haut Lafitte 2009 will carry Parker signature

There is no direct payment involved, though ‘a deal’ has been done with the new owners of the Wine Advocate and with Parker himself, Bordeaux wine merchant Bernard Pujol, who is behind the scheme, has said.

Pujol, the director of Bordeaux Vins Sélection (BVS), a negociant partly owned by Hubert de Bouard of Angélus, is launching 600 cases of the Robert Parker Selection wines during the Vinexpo wine fair in two weeks.

‘In 2009, Robert Parker gave 18 estates his maximum score of 100 points,’ Pujol told Sud Ouest newspaper. ‘Why not bring them together in one case?’.

The first cases sold will be of five of the 18 properties – Clos Fourtet, Léoville Poyferré, Smith Haut Lafitte, Cos d’Estournel and Pape Clement. The words ‘100 Points’ will be inscribed on the case itself, along with ‘Bordeaux 2009’ and ‘Robert Parker Selection’, with Parker’s signature, and a trademark symbol. Each bottle will also have an anti-fraud system.

Pujol said he ‘dealt directly’ with the owners of the Wine Advocate in Singapore, and Robert Parker, who remains chair and CEO of the publication since selling it last year.

‘No money changed hands, but I have a deal with them,’ he added, refusing to elaborate.

‘Clearly this indicates that the new set-up of Parker is more open to commercial deals than previously,’ a courtier commented to Decanter.com. ‘And that paying US$15m means they are looking for a return on investment.’

‘I’m not sure this deal would have been possible before the change of ownership,’ admitted Pujol.

Since this story’s original publication, Decanter.com has spoken to Lisa Perotti-Brown, the editor-in-chief of the Wine Advocate, who expressly said that Robert Parker’s signature will not be used on the case of 100-point wines.

‘The truth is we don’t know what sort of packaging that BVS has planned for their special case as we’re not involved whatsoever in any of that. The only thing we do know for sure is that they will not be using Robert Parker‘s signature on the case, in the form of our logo or otherwise.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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