Thursday, October 4, 2012

Robert Parker's Vintners Hall of Fame Speech

Wow, W. Blake Gray and Alder Yarrow. Amazing. I had no idea they even knew who I was. Quite an honor. I mean, I’m in the Vintners Hall of Fame, but they’ve won Wine Blog Awards! You can understand why I’m so flabbergasted. It’s like your local meth lab voted you the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
"Ah, smells like mendacity."

I am the most influential critic of any kind who has ever lived. Unless you count Pol Pot. The kind of power I’ve wielded in the wine business for the past thirty years is remarkable, and will never be duplicated. Galloni? I give him ten years, tops. Then he’ll go nuts and give 19 100-point scores to the 2020 Baroli in exchange for some Armani suits and a 2006 Maserati, and that will be that. Mark Squires? Come on, give me a break. I tossed him the Portugal bone and look how the stock in those wines has plummeted. Squires makes Jay Miller look like a sentient being instead of the title role in “The Blob.” Schildknecht? The guy has the writing style of Wikipedia. You read a couple of sentences and wonder why the hell you started. And those are just my guys.

It’s always been a hobby for critics and writers to take potshots at me. Maybe I should take some Pol Potshots back. But at whom? James Laube? Please. They say wines I like are Parkerized. With Laube, they’re “Laubotomized.”  Will Jay McInerney ever make it to the Vintners Hall of Fame? That idiot? I will say this for him; he’s the one guy who figured out what I figured out a long time ago. Writing bullshit sells. Just tell them what they want to hear. It’s like politics. It’s like marketing. Always remember that the truth is fungible and serves at your convenience. Don’t be a slave to it. Oh, proclaim it to the heavens, put it in print, attach a number to it, give it the weight of your authority, but don’t fall in love with it. It’s the wine business. Truth in wine reviewing is like sulfites in wine—low doses of it are best. McInerney gets that. But he’s a pretender, a name-dropper, and even the Mammon worshippers who read the Wall Street Journal will tire of him. On the upside, at least he’s not writing novels any more.

It’s hard to imagine why it’s taken so long for me to be elected to the Vintners Hall of Fame. It’s harder to imagine why I should care. After all, it’s hard to say who’s been dead longest—Schoonmaker, Cesar Chavez, or me. I can tell you one thing I’ve noticed, they serve a lot of Frank Schoonmaker Selections by-the-glass in Hell.

I have heard that I was a controversial nominee for the Vintners Hall of Fame. Really? Nice to know integrity is a stranger here as well. No one has done more for California wine in the past 30 years. I’ve put more wineries on the map than Google Earth. My ratings have sold more California wine at ridiculous prices than the French Laundry. When I started reviewing California wines, Napa Valley Cabernets sold for about $20. Now you can’t buy Helen Turley’s bathwater for that. Which, by the way, I rated 93. It was totally unctuous. And you clowns weren’t sure I belonged here in this pantheon of self-promoting baloney? I’m the epitome of self-promoting baloney. I invented self-promoting baloney in wine writing, though Kermit Lynch has perfected it. But it appears you’ve gotten past your envy of my unprecedented critical power and have done the right thing. Really, I’m serious, do I get my own wing?

When I began The Wine Advocate, I never dreamed I would become so powerful. Here’s the thing about power, it’s really fun. You can totally screw with people and there’s not a thing they can do about it. Like the 100 Point Scale. When I started that scam, I was the only wine reviewer using it. Now everyone uses it, even those snots at Decanter, with their high and mighty M.W.’s. And we all pretend that the score is broken down into parts like Appearance (0 to 5 points) and Aroma (0 to 15 points) when all we really do is smell it, taste it, spit it out and declare, in our authoritarian voices, “89!” or “97!” Truth and sulfites, my friends, use them sparingly.

And I about peed my circus tent after I rated 19 different 2009 Bordeaux 100 Points! I always wanted to do that. Just throw around hundreds like Charlie Sheen at TrannyFest. That’s power. Oh, the outrage that spawned! How can there possibly be 19 perfect wines from one vintage? I don’t know, maybe because I said so. Don’t you know who I am? I’m Robert Parker. I’m in the Vintners Hall of Fame. I’m the most powerful critic ever.

Now where’s the fucking foie gras?


100-Point Daddy said...

Parker will certainly go down in history as the most powerful wine critic to date and maybe forever now that the power of the pen is so widely distributed. It is true that he never set out to be the king of the wine evaluation any more than any of us who write about do.

His rhetoric has always been overblown, and the amazing thing is that he can get away with it. Or, perhaps, that he did get away with it until he started surrounding himself with Jay Miller and a couple of other buffoons. And then he got slaphappy with the 2009s and singlehandedly diminished his own reputation.

One thing is for sure. He is not very funny. His best gag lines have been stolen straight from some guy in Healdsburg who wields a mean hose.

Oh well. Now, he can rest in peace comfortable in the knowledge that he got there before all those other critics.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I'm just waiting for the day I can write your Vintners Hall of Fame acceptance speech. You belong in that Hall, as does Pete Rose.

All the breast-beating about whether Parker would make it into the Hall of Fame, based on the vote of something like 80 wine guys who actually voted, made me laugh. They pat themselves on the back for finally getting him in, as if it were some sort of moral and intellectual accomplishment. Self-righteous clowns.

Ah, but what do I know? Maybe I should start a Hall of Fame too. If Parker had any sense, he would steal from Groucho Marx and say, "I don't want to be in any Hall of Fame that would have me for a member."

Kathy said...

OK, come clean. He paid you to write the speech. I hear there is a potpol on his Twitter.

Kathy said...

Hall of Fame: 4192 and 100.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey, if he'll deliver it, Parker can have the speech for free! Or I can be his Sasheen Littlefeather for just a few wampum.

4192 would be one more hit than Ty Cobb. Pete Rose, who only gambled, making him one of the nicer guys were he in the Hall of Fame, had, as you know 4256 hits. Unless you mean 4192 as the number of wines Alderpated tasted at the last Family Winemakers Tasting.

Thomas said...

When i looked at the picture, I immediately noticed that he has grown. Your last line explains it.

My only complaint with the speech: in its written form, it lacks about 2000 elipses.

Andy Perdue said...

I give this post 100! And not because it smells like Burgundy.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

" its written form, it lacks..." Better?

No, my friend, it smells like desperation.

Samantha Dugan said...

I'm holding out for the Vintners Hall of Shame. I'm thinking a couple more trips to tasting rooms with you where you make me drink goddamn Zinfandel might just get me there...I love you!

Thomas said...

Online, I want to be in the Vintners Hall of Flame.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,
Nothing gives me more satisfaction than your Zinfandel farty-face. It can peel the label right off the bottle. Love that. For a change, it makes me giggle.

I'd vote for you. I'm a flamin' idiot.

Fabio (Vinos Ambiz) said...

I liked that bit about truth and sulfites! Yeah, I think maybe I can use that :)

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Sadly, there are people who are allergic to sulfites, and then there are the people allergic to the truth--politicians.

Truth is a natural byproduct of fermentation--hence, in vino veritas.

Rupert M Porker, Jr, JD, MD, PhD, WTF said...

Allergic to sulfites, you say?....
Immunology much?

Dean Tudor said...

Suddenly, it is 1982 all over again. Where is Robert Finigan when we need him most? Ah yes, he died last year. That explains why Parker is up for the high jump THIS year....RIP....

Richard Jennings said...

Priceless Ron. It's like you were in Parker's head. ;-) And thanks for eliminating the elipses. They always make reading Parker's stuff that much more painful and nauseating.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

One day folks may end up nostalgic for Parker. One thing about him, he's not been a particularly dull despot. As a supposed satirist, I appreciate that. Finigan--pretty dull.

I think Parkenstein might be in my head. Time to flush.

Beau said...

Hidden within that awesomely satirical speech were the grains of truth that make this business so entertaining. And those grains keep me coming back. Nicely done, Hosemaster.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Thanks. Not sure how many grains I have left, especially in the HoseMaster hourglass, but we'll see.

Dave Larsen said...

Sorry for being so late to this party. I'm a winemaker, so have been busy making wine. Just had time to read the Hosemaster's channeling of RP's speech though and the many laugh out loud moments provided some much needed comic relief.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Have a fabulous Harvest! Ours in Sonoma is amazing, bountiful, and should provide many great wines. Hope yours is the same.

When I saw that RP had been elected to the Vintners Hall of Fame, and that there seemed to be some controversy among the Little People whether he belonged, I tried to imagine what his honest emotions might be. I don't know him, of course, but I know his public persona, and I just figured he'd be angry and peeved. And I think we all yearn for some public figure to get up in front of some bogus assembly and let it rip. So I did it for him.