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En Primeur

Wine Critics

Influential wine critics:

Robert Parker | Jancis Robinson | Stephen Tanzer | Matthew Jukes | Allen Meadows | Tim Atkin |
Gary Vaynerchuk
| James Halliday | Oz Clarke

Robert Parker – Robert Parker commands titanic status in the world of wine, and is without a doubt the most influential wine critic in the present day. Beginning as an attorney for the Farm Credit Banks of Baltimore, after ten years he devoted his life to writing about wine in an impartial, consumer-friendly way. Today his publication The Wine Advocate commands the loyalty of 50,000 subscribers and has far reaching influence beyond this number; however, his rise and ubiquitous influence has not been without controversy. Most notably, there has been uproar in the wine world regarding the perceived “Parkerisation” of wine, which is to say the attempt by winemakers to produce wines that are most appealing to Mr. Parker’s palate. Many traditionalists complain that this emphasis on big, bold and fruity wines is creating monotony as local styles and tastes are disregarded in a desperate bid for high point scores. For all this, Mr. Parker remains a touchstone for the majority of serious wine consumers and his scores have a palpable impact on the international wine market. He is also an accomplished wine author and his tasting notes are available at www.erobertparker.com.

Jancis Robinson – An influential British critic who is renowned for her independence and objectivity; she takes part in only blind tastings to maximise objectivity. Operating on a 20-point scale, she is often exacting – even damning - in her evaluations. Nevertheless, those few wines that rank 18+ are widely considered to be of stellar quality. Mrs. Robinson is a prolific author who has lent her authority to numerous works that range from the dense, encyclopaedic ‘Oxford Companion to Wine’ to her accessible introduction to wine ‘Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course’. Currently she writes a weekly column in the ‘Financial Times’ and regularly updates her website www.jancisrobinson.com.

Stephen Tanzer ­– Editor and publisher of the bi-monthly International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer is a renowned critic who specialises in the wine regions of Burgundy, Piedmont, Germany and Austria. Mr. Tanzer personally samples over ten-thousand wines a year, and travels constantly around the world in order to do so. He has authored such books as ‘The Wine Access Buyer’s Guide’ and ‘Food and Wine Magazine’s Official Wine Guide’. You can read his journal, which has been commended by both Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker, at www.wineaccess.com/expert/tanzer.

Matthew Jukes – Author of the wine column in the Daily Mail and writer of the best selling annual Wine List, which showcases his 250 wine choices of the year. He is also the head sommelier at the prestigious Bibendum restaurant in London. His prose is deliberately accessible, jargon-free and entertaining. You can find his website at www.matthewjukes.com.

Allen Meadows – the driving force behind www.burghound.com, a quarterly journal that provides an extensive, fully searchable on-line database that focuses on the region of Burgundy and international Pinot noir wines. While Parker dominates Bordeaux, Mr. Meadows has become the foremost expert in the Burgundy region. His in-depth reports are highly valued worldwide, and according to Wine Workshop: “His authoritative views on Burgundy are the reference standard in this highly complex and diverse region… to hear him speak on the subject is the equivalent of taking a Masters course on Burgundy!”

Tim Atkin – Mr. Atkin writes a weekly column for The Observer and runs his own wine school at Vinoteca in London. He is also co-chairman of the ‘International Wine Challenge’, the world’s largest and most rigorously judged blind tasting competition. Should you wish to find out more, visit www.timatkin.com

Gary Vaynerchuk – Mr. Vaynerchuk rose to fame as the host of Wine Library TV, a daily internet webcast on the subject of wine. His informal style, described as an “unpretentious, gonzo approach to wine appreciation” is in sharp contrast to conservative wine industry. The popularity of his podcasts and his numerous TV appearances has made him a real contender, being described as “outside of Robert Parker, probably the most influential wine critic in the United States” by Rob Newsom, a Washington State winemaker. You can follow Vaynerchuk on his website www.garyvaynerchuk.com.

James Halliday – The leading wine critic and vigneron in Australia, known for his witty and informative writing on wine. He is one of the founders of Brokenwood and Coldstream Hills wineries in New South Wales and Yarra Valley, respectively. Each year he releases his ‘James Halliday Australian Wine Companion’, an annual guide to Australian wine and an insight into the Australian wine industry.

Oz Clarke – A well-recognised British wine critic and author who first made a name for himself when he won tasting competitions at a precociously early age; since then his tasting skills have won him an international reputation. With his frequent BBC TV and radio appearances he has made a definite impression on the British public and he is often seen alongside his friend and Top Gear co-presenter James May.


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