The Wine Advocate hired the firm of Spin, Misdirect, Obfuscate, Kneejerk and Evade (SMOKE) to investigate whether the conduct of Dr. Jay Miller had compromised the standards of independence expected by The Wine Advocate. We focused on two questions:
1. Did Jay Miller receive anything of value, other than money, prestige and complimentary burro rides, for visiting a winery, tasting a wine for review, or promising inflatable Robert Parker dolls to grateful importers?
2. How could there possibly be confusion between Jay Miller’s tastings conducted for The Wine Advocate and “private” seminars the jackass didn’t tell Mr. Parker about for which he was handsomely paid though he spoke in gibberish the whole time and mostly complained he didn’t get enough respect from those other jackholes that review wines from The Wine Advocate who call him Mr. Toad.
To answer those crucial questions in the manner expected, SMOKE reviewed documents, emails, invoices, cigarette butts, doctored expense reports, junk mail from erectile dysfunction cures, blog posts, financial statements, and old reruns of “The Cisco Kid.” All while still searching for Nicole Brown Simpson’s real murderer (who we now suspect is the blogger Jim Budd, but that’s ultimately only speculation). The investigation concluded that Jay Miller is simply stupid. This is not the fault of The Wine Advocate. It’s simple genetics. You can’t hold someone responsible for genetics. He’s a naïve idiot, and that’s what everyone whose ever met him would tell you. We wish we’d never heard of him. In the light of all the evidence, SMOKE also has some recommendations for The Wine Advocate to avoid any future appearances of impropriety.
Jay Miller’s Assignment in Spain
After working with Pancho Campo, M.W. (“Crook”) and The Wine Academy of Spain (“Pendejos”) at a Wine Future event, Robert Parker asked Crook if he would be willing to help Toady with logistics and translations during his Spanish wine assignments. The only phrase Jay Miller understood in Spanish was, “Yo quiero Taco Bell!” Crook agreed to help, at no charge, though he seemed to have a severe twitch in his right eye. From that point on, Crook assisted Toady with the logistics of his trips, helping with itineraries, providing translators, and reminding him that 90 in American converts to 96 in Euros.
During the course of five trips to Spain, Crook provided three services to Jay Miller. First, he booked approximately 85% of Toady’s appointments for only a small service fee taken directly from the pockets of the member wineries of Pendejos. Our investigation concluded, shockingly, that no one at The Wine Advocate was aware of how deeply Crook was involved in the scheduling of Toady’s winery visits. They thought he was using Yelp. Second, he arranged for Jay Miller to speak incoherently to members of various regional Spanish wine associations in exchange for a speaking engagement fee of $8000 to $10,000. Had Dr. Miller not been associated with The Wine Advocate, his expertise in Spanish wines would have merited a fee of bus tokens and week-old tortillas. Oddly, he did request the week-old tortillas. In part, because of the language barrier and the tendency of the Spanish winemakers to laugh uncontrollably at Miller’s Spanish wine knowledge, Crook handled the contracts and negotiations. Again, there is no evidence that anyone associated with The Wine Advocate had any idea how stupid Jay Miller is. It is not incomprehensible to believe that a man with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology could be handily fooled by an M.W. An M.W. is exquisitely trained at fooling people. We get it, what’s wrong with you? The guy’s a dunce who doesn’t understand people, and Crook is a known con man. How is that The Wine Advocate’s fault? Third, Crook, as a practicing M.W. assisted Jay Miller in adjusting his scores, which was damned nice of him when you think about it.
No Evidence of Impropriety
Impropriety? No. Stupidity? Si.
The investigation spoke to many D.O.’s, private trade groups and winery associations and every one of them signed napkins to the effect that they were never under the impression that helping fund a lucrative speaking engagement for Dr. Jay Miller might possibly lead to a winery visit or favorable mention in The Wine Advocate. “What are we, Mexico?”
Furthermore, there was no evidence that Toady received any direct payments for visits to any wineries or organized regional tastings. Crook always took his cut first.
Jay Miller’s Resignation
Toady had planned all along to resign from The Wine Advocate. Hey, the guy’s stupid, but even he knows to quit while you’re ahead.
Based on SMOKE’s investigation, it is recommended that The Wine Advocate implement the following measures:
1. Award Higher Scores. In order to replace Dr. Miller in the eyes of the wine community while simultaneously deflecting criticism among Blobbers, The Wine Advocate should award higher point scores. 2009 Bordeaux would be a good place to start. Moron Blobbers will jump on that and forget all about this scandal, well, if it were a scandal, which it isn’t, that’s what we found.
2. Decline to publish Toady’s scores for Spanish wines written after June 30, 2011. Whether he was guilty or not, and we just convinced you he’s innocent and The Wine Advocate always knew he was innocent and, dammit, we were hired because he was innocent and they knew we knew how to make him innocent, his reviews should not be published. The Wine Advocate does not publish reviews from innocent contractors.
3. Continue the Practice of Actively Supervising Contactors' Reviews. Robert Parker occasionally conducts his own tasting of wines reviewed by his contractors, in general, but also, specifically, the highest rated wines. Not because he doesn’t trust them. No, why would he not trust a clinical psychologist to be a wine guru? Hell, Parker sometimes counsels families. Grace Family, Benziger Family, Jackson Family, Manson Family… Parker never once in the past took issue with Jay Miller’s ratings. This may require a separate investigation.
4. Make revisions to The Wine Advocate’s Writer Standards. Because, really, it isn’t made clear that working for the most influential and powerful wine publication in the world demands that you at least give the fucking impression that you’re not for sale. What are we, Mexico?