Sunday, October 25, 2009

Parker's Blind Tasting

It's all over the blogs, I guess it might as well be here, too. Big Bob Parker blind tastes 2005 Bordeaux! Ranks his favorites low, his dogs high! Whooeee! At Tyler Colman's blog, this devolved into that evergreen dispute about Parker's 100-point system. Harry sent me a link about the physiological/psychological process of tasting, which led me to Tyler's blog. I sent Harry a comment, which I will share here, because I'm too lazy to come up with another take on the subject:

"Two thoughts: First, anyone, even Big Bob, can have a bad day. It's worse for him, because he has hyped himself so shamelessly for the past decade, but otherwise it could happen to anybody. I taste blind about once a week; once in a while I nail something (Donnafugata Ben Rye! On the first sip!), and once in a while I am so incredibly far off I tell myself I should just give it up (Tasting a '94 Nuit St. Georges and deciding it was Cannonau from Sardinia).

"Second, the Parker episode has re-ignited a long-standing argument about the 100-point system. Its defenders say it isn't meant to be precise, but that, to me, is exactly the problem: People who don't know any better assume there's some real quantitative difference between an 89 and a 90; and people who do know better exploit this ignorance to their profit."

Of course, in my work, I play Parker like a violin. If he gives something I like a big score, I tell the customer "Look! Parker gave it a 93!" And if he gives something I like an 82, I tell the customer "Parker's just a fat old lawyer from Maryland! Who cares what he thinks!"

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