Later this month, the Culinary Institute of America will hold its fifth annual “Celebration of California Food & Wine” and induct the newest members of the “Vintners Hall of Fame.” U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson will preside over the event.
Just days ago, this year’s Hall of Fame inductees were announced. The list included Richard Graff, founder of Chalone Vineyards; Joel Peterson, co-founder and winemaker at Ravenswood; August Sebastiani; Vernon Singleton, emeritus professor of enology at UC Davis; and Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home and the all Trinchero Family Estates wines.
Absent from that list? Robert M Parker, Jr. He was nominated last year and this year, and both times, he failed to receive enough votes.
Linda Murphy, a columnist for Decanter, has written a compelling piece arguing that Parker should have been inducted. “Parker’s omission is egregious,” she writes, “smacking of professional jealousy.”
I’m inclined to agree. While Parker isn’t a “vintner,” the Hall of Fame is designed to “celebrate the men and women whose collective vision, determination, and hard work have been responsible for the growth and worldwide prestige of the California wine industry.” Regular readers know I’m a proud member of the “anti-flavor wine elite.” But regardless of whether or not one agrees with Parker’s palate, rating system, or personality, it’s undeniable that he’s had a huge impact on California wines – for the better.
As I wrote back in November (in a post about Parker-bashing), “Love or loathe him, Robert Parker changed wine — for the better. Hate his 100-point scale? Without it, we wouldn’t have Burghound or CellarTracker! Without his Consumer Reports approach to wine criticism, a much higher percentage of bottles would be flawed.”
What do you think? Murphy’s column has generated quite a bit of controversy on the WineBerserkers message board, and we’d love to hear your thoughts.