A Wine Pope Dominates and Polarises the Whole World

Mister PARKER’S Points

A Wine Pope Dominates and Polarises the Whole World

I want to be completely honest: I do not really think much of points and bottles covered with gold medals. Of course, awards and points reduce the risk of buying a horrible plonk. The probably most influential rating system was developed by Robert M. Parker, whose books fill the shelves of many wine lovers.

Robert M. Parker, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1947. His interest in wine started in 1967 when he visited his girlfriend in Alsace for a month (this girlfriend has now been his wife for almost 50 years). Parker received worldwide attention when he rated the 1982 vintage from Bordeaux as superb contrary to many other critic colleagues who were of the opinion that the vintage was overripe and not acidic enough. The debate about whether or not the 1982 vintage is suitable for extended ageing continues to date. However, the wine market has already passed its verdict because the prices of this wine are far higher than those of the following vintages.

The effects of Parker’s judgements are enormous. Robert Parker‘s taste has changed a lot, especially the work of the vintners. Winemakers react to his criticism and often produce thick, dark and dramatic wines to suit his taste. It is fascinating but also alarming how a single man knew how to dictate his taste to the winegrowers. And for that he was even decorated with the Order of Merit by the French President Jacques Chirac – despite the fact that his judgement financially ruined some small French wine producers.

Parker points are awarded in accordance with the US school grading system, i.e. between 50 and 100 points. Parker is of the opinion that the more common 20-point rating systems offer too little flexibility. His principle is to underestimate rather than overestimate a wine’s quality. The individual numerical ratings mean the following:

50 to 69 points: unacceptable to below average
70 to 79 points: average
80 to 89 points: above-average to very good
90 to 95 points: outstanding
96 to 100 points: extraordinary

Wines that Robert M. Parker believes will improve with age are marked with a plus sign (+).

Wines marked with a question mark (?) are those which Robert M. Parker is uncertain about whether or not they were tasted in the correct condition, might develop with slight flaws, or similar.

18 Swiss Pinot Noir Wines with 90 or more Parker Points:

95      Les Rissieux 2011, Domaine de la Rochette (Jacques Tatasciore)
94      Les Margiles 2011, Domaine de la Rochette (Jacques Tatasciore)
93      Raissennaz Grand Cru 2012, Domaine Henri Cruchon
93      Pinot Noir Grand Vin 2011, Weingut Wolfer
92+    Malanser Pinot Noir 2012, Weinbau Thomas Studach
92+    Les Chanez 2010, Domaine de la Rochette (Jacques Tatasciore)
92+    Pinot Noir No. 4 2011, Schlossgut Bachtobel
92      Pinot Noir No. 3 2011, Schlossgut Bachtobel
92      Malanser Schopfiwingert Pinot Noir 2011, Weingut Fromm
91+    Pinot Noir 2012, Gantenbein Wein
91+    Pur Sang 2011, Cave de Chambleau
91      Pinot Noir vom Pfaffen/Calander 2012, Sprecher von Bernegg (Jan Domenic Luzi)
90+   Buurehof Pinot Noir Barrique 2012, Steiner Schernelz
90+   Pinot Noir Unique 2011, Weingut Donatsch
90     Auvernier Neuchâtel Rouge 2011, La Maison Carree
90     Blauburgunder Schnellberg 2013, Michael Broger Weinbau
90     Fläscher Pinot Noir Reserve 2012, Christian Hermann
90     Monolith unfiltered 2012, Obrecht, Jenins