Parker Move on Bordeaux Wine Will Lower Prices, Boom Says

Wine critic Robert Parker’s move to stop scoring Bordeaux futures six months after harvest will probably cut prices for new vintages coming to market, according to Gary Boom, managing director of London merchant Bordeaux Index.

Parker, founder of The Wine Advocate newsletter and eRobertParker.com, said this week that reviewer Neal Martin, who has worked with Parker since 2006, will score the Bordeaux 2014 vintage for the two publications while Parker will focus on the recently bottled 2012 wines and publish a retrospective report on the highly-rated 2005s.

Parker’s 100-point scoring system has set the benchmark for Bordeaux prices for much of the past three decades since he first started covering Bordeaux in 1978 and particularly since the landmark 1982 vintage. Boom argues that Martin historically has given lower scores than Parker to wines and this may affect how Bordeaux still maturing in barrels is priced in future.

“There’s nobody that moves a market as significantly as he does,” Boom said of Parker. “ There’s no doubt that scores going forward are going to be lower than Parker would have scored them. Lower scores are going to lead to lower prices.”

Bordeaux Vintages

Martin has been visiting Bordeaux and reviewing en primeur wines in barrel, also known as futures, for the past 18 years, and set up his own Wine-Journal website before joining Parker in 2006, initially to cover the sweet white wines of Bordeaux and more recently Burgundy, Oregon and South Africa.

Martin taking on responsibility for The Wine Advocate’s Bordeaux en primeur reviews while Parker focuses on older vintages raises the possibility that collectors may benefit from anticipating changes in scores as vintages pass from one reviewer to the other, according to Boom.

“This is great news, I think, for people buying en primeur,” Boom said, noting new vintages initially rated by Martin could later receive higher scores from Parker. “There’s a very good chance after two years that the price will jump.”

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