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Robert Parker on Bordeaux 2003 – A clarification

The following is an update of a story that was published on decanter.com on 28 April.

On 28 April, decanter.com published a news item detailing Robert Parker’s scores from this year’s Bordeaux en primeur tastings. In the story we said there were no 100 point scores, which was not strictly correct as none of the scores released are final.

A spokeswoman for Parker explains:

‘When tasted from the barrel, he assigns an estimated range of scores (always shown in parentheses). Some of the 2003 Bordeaux MAY merit 100 points, but that decision will not be made until the wines have been tasted after bottling. When the unbottled wines are discussed in any publication, the entire range of scores should always be shown, and it should be noted that these are estimated scores from barrel tastings.’

Influential US critic Robert Parker has released his scores for Bordeaux’s 2003 vintage.

As expected, Parker favours the top end of the Médoc and the Right Bank. Of Parker’s top 20, 12 are from St-Estèphe, St-Emilion or Pomerol. The others are the first growths, plus Léoville Las Cases and Léoville Poyferré from St-Julien.

The highest marks go to Ausone (St-Emilion), and the first growths Lafite and Latour with 98-100 points. Then come Margaux, Montrose (St-Estèphe) and Pavie (St-Emilion) with 96-100 points, followed by Pétrus (Pomerol) with 96-98+ points. Mouton and Haut-Brion score 95-98.

Many European tasters were surprised by the high marks awarded Pavie. Parker and UK writer Jancis Robinson MW indulged in a war of words in the press, with Robinson labelling the wine ‘ridiculous’ and comparing it to Zinfandel. James Lawther MW for Decanter gave it four stars, however. ‘It is big and powerful in the super-ripe mould,’ he said.

There are other surprises. Some believe Parker marked down Canon La Gaffelière (87-89), ‘lacks depth, concentration and length’ and Gazin with 87-89? (Parker’s question mark), which, according to Decanter’s Steven Spurrier are ‘the successes of the vintage’.

‘This shows Parker appreciates the ripeness of St-Emilion more than the Brits do,’ Spurrier added.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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