Since I published that post The Taste of Sake website has been taken down, which is also curious. Fortunately I took the precaution of saving its pages in PDF format. If you want to take a look, they are here.
Wine Advocate Editor-in-Chief Lisa Perrotti-Brown posted the following comment on that first blog post:
W. Blake Gray, In the event that you have not yet seen this response, I thought I would post it here. This has also appeared on our RobertParker.com Bulletin Board:
“We are investigating the facts behind these allegations. I will make clear however that Liwen Hao was hired specifically to review Asian wines and sake, because we feel there is a small but growing international interest in these beverages. He did not just taste 78 sakes, he tasted a few hundred, and they did not just come from one company. He shortlisted 78 of the sakes that came in at 90 points or above for his first report, because these were the ones he believed would be of international interest. We made no secret of the fact that we would be publishing a sake report and Liwen was in Japan tasting with brewers for a couple of weeks in April, which must have created a good deal of local interest. So I’m not surprised that an opportunistic company was set up to take advantage in increased international interest in sake as a result of the report. I’m also not surprised that the newly established company decided to offer the 78 sakes we reviewed. What we need to establish is if that company had access to any of the sake notes or scores prior to publication, which is a situation we take the utmost measures to avoid. Even the suggestion that this could have happened is a matter we take very seriously.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Editor-in-Chief, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Subsequently, some readers of the original blog post have come forward with some facts to help Ms. Perrotti-Brown in her investigation.
Here is what I have been able to verify (many of the links confirming the information are in Japanese):