30 December 2007

Robert Parker, time-traveller

Though he's managed -- for a change -- to avoid referencing his much-beloved '47 Cheval Blanc, Robert Parker has a remarkable palate memory for a man in his seventies.

In reference to the never-ending controversy over whether the full-throttle Aussie wines (on which he used to bestow zillions of points and dramatic, albeit untested, aging curves) will age, Parker writes:

The best of the big Aussies will age quite well..remember all the negative comments when Penfold's Grange was launched 50 years ago

No, I don't. And neither do you, Mr. Parker. Because you were 7 years old, or maybe 8, when the wine was released.

There's no history to these wines on which to base an opinion on aging, and there's no real foundation of wines in this style from which to deduce an opinion on aging, either. So a critic -- any critic -- has to make a guess. Now, I'm all for a critic defending his or her reasons for a guess. And certainly, given the breadth and depth of his tastings, Parker should be able to defend his position. But all too often he doesn't, instead preferring to simply argue from authority (a logical fallacy, though not the most egregious one), savage anyone with a contrary opinion, or...as in this case...accord all of recorded wine history to his lifetime.

Will the wines in questions age? Well, of course, it depends on which wines you're talking about...but in general, I have no idea. I'm quite sure many of them last for a long, long time (with those fearsome levels of dry extract, how could they not?), but whether or not they will develop interesting tertiary characteristics at some point in the distant future...well, we're all going to have to wait on that.

No comments: