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11/10/2011

Another Brouhaha Involving Pancho Campo, Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate and Parker's Spain Correspondent Dr. Jay Miller


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English wine writer Jim Budd of Decanter Magazine and Jim's Loire blog continues to write about the controversial Pancho Campo MW, sidekick of Robert M. Parke, Jr. of The Wine Advocate, personal guide to Parker's Spain correspondent Jay Miller and a man associated with such wine world figures such Jancis Robinson and Kevin Zraly.  

According to numerous sources, Campo's Marbella-based Wine Academy of Spain has charged or is attempting to charge substantial fees (from 20,000 to 100,000 Euros) to arrange Jay Miller's visits to Spanish wine regions and for tasting the wines of the regions in question (Navarra, Jumilla-Murcia and Madrid [D.O. Madrid declined] are the regions figuring in recent press reports).  Critics are comparing this situation to the payola scandals of the record industry in years past.  

Miller's ratings for wines in Navarra, the only region so far known to have paid (100,000 Euros), should carry gold stars, since Navarra wineries paid their weight in gold to get their wines reviewed The Wine Advocate, a publication that has often been likened by Mr. Parker to Ralph Nader's supposed consumer advocacy.  (Lest we forget, Ralph Nader's candidacy in 2000 drained enough votes from Al Gore to swing the election to George W. Bush.)


Robert Parker in La Rioja for Pancho Campo's Controversial 
WineFutures-Rioja Conference 2009. Photo by Rioja.com.

Jim Budd is not the only writer reporting on this Pancho Campo-Jay Miller flap.  Tyler Colman's  Dr. Vino and Mike Steinberger's Wine Diarist blogs have also reported on it.  And  some observers have speculated that this situation (and other reports of other questionable activities concerning writers for Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s The Wine Advocate that have been circulating for some time) have undermined the credibility of both Parker's wine writers, of The Wine Advocate and of Robert Parker himself. 

Here are some related posts.  



Saturday, 5 November 2011 The Wine Academy Spain solicited 20,000 euros from DO Madrid for Jay Miller visit

Comment:
Russ Raney said... 
Hello Jim,
I (happily) stumbled across your blog while doing some research for my own little blog project. The Jay Miller issue immediately caught my eye - and was no surprise to me. Here's why: I'm the former owner of an established Oregon (Willamette Valley) vineyard & winery, whose wines routinely garnered "good" scores from the Advocate over the years. However when Jay Miller assumed the Oregon wine reviewing responsibilities (after the departure of Pierre Rovani)he scheduled a visit to our winery - along with our new owner, after which he gave us the lowest scores in my memory - while complaining about the tasting conditions (we were in the process of moving out that day). Afterwards one of our top retail customers who knew Jay's modus operandi, commented that "you just didn't pamper him enough - you know, pull out the foie gras and époisse etc". My suspicions were confirmed when I saw which producers received the highest marks in this issue of the WA. I personally find it unprofessional for wine writers to make a definitive assessment of a wine tasted on premise (esp. from barrel) with the proprietor - it's simply too easy to get cozy (or not!) with the host. I started reading the WA back in 1979 when Parker was still using a typewriter - and have sadly watched as the publication has become less and less of an "advocate" for consumers while more and more a hype machine using the "pay to play" approach. Their abuse of the overly subjective 100 point score system was one the incentives I needed to push me into my own wine review project. Thanks for making my day! Keep up the vigilance!   Friday, 4 November 2011  Jumillagate or more properly Murciagate: no answers from Robert Parker or Jay Miller


There’s no point! Wine retailers that say no to scores

Regional group charges wineries fees for Wine Advocate tasting

Changes at The Wine Advocate? Correspondence with Parker and Miller (2009)

The Wine Diarist (Mike Steinberger)


Dinero Por Nada, November 3 by Mike

"As you may have seen, there’s a new flap involving Wine Advocate contributor Jay Miller. Producers in the Murcia region of south-eastern Spain received a letter last month informing them that if they wanted their wines tasted by Miller during his upcoming trip to the area, they would have to pay $275-$415 for each wine submitted." Read the rest of the story here.

Given the controversy stirred up by Pancho Campo's and Jay Miller's actions in Spain, can the following report be a great surprise?

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