|Robert Parker's 100 pointers aren't special anymore|
It's amusing to read this story, which seems to be written with a straightforward acceptance that Robert Parker's 100-point wines are wines most people might want, and no real examination of the massive increase in the number of "perfect" wines. It's like there's a 100-point faucet, naturally made of new French oak.
Consider these two sentences:
With Parker now departed from the Bordeaux-scoring scene, the drinks business recently asked if greater ‘cult’ status for his 100-point wines beckoned?
With so many wines not breaking through the £5,000 barrier yet, clearly demand is not high enough and volume is too high to maintain higher price points.
"Demand is not high enough and volume is too high." Translated: Parker and the Wine Advocate starting doling out 100-point scores like Oprah gives out free books, and while there is an audience willing to shell out for these mouth-bruisers, we've come to learn that they're a niche like everything else.
This is the endgame of ratings escalation. 90 points used to be a big deal. Now if a major Bordeaux or Napa winery gets less than 95, it's an off year. Retailers tell me that 97-point wines don't move unless they're reasonably priced: points chasers aren't interested in anything below a 98 anymore.
Now even a 100-point wine isn't that special. Sure, if it's $30, people will snap it up. But a wine needs more than 100 points to sell out these days.
What these wines require to sell are exactly what wines needed before too many distributors and retailers began using Parker's ratings as a crutch:
* A tradition of excellence for the winery
* A story worth telling
* Someone at the point of sale to tell it
People who hate the 100-point scale should rejoice at this development, though I can't help but thinking the next step for the Wine Advocate in the post-Parker world is to introduce the Spinal Tap score: "This Cab goes to 111!"