a merry, merry-go-round (or wine-criticism eating iteself…)


I’ve heard that it’s not done to critique other writers, but I think it’s a subject which, in itself, can be approached in a proper manner. So, Burgundy crtics ahoy…

William Kelly who quite recently joined Decanter to write (mainly) about Burgundy is the new appointee in the hot seat of ‘Burgundy’ for the Wine Advocate – or not quite yet: Neal Martin joins the Vinous (Antonio Galloni, at least to start with) critique-plex from February, but William is already employed from January – let’s call that a handover – assuming that they actually get to meet-up under a Wine Advocate ‘roof…’

Neal Martin must be commended for pulling the Wine Advocate out of the Burgundy dark-ages, i.e that considerable length time (25 years?) when Parker (or his oppos) were not allowed to darken the doors of certain producers – why Neal even recently had lunch with Erwan Faiveley – how’s that for progress(?)! Neal did that by hard work and by showing that he had his own ideas about the region, not cow-towing to what had gone before – this was the downfall of one PA Rovani, regardless of his depth of knowledge. It was this Wine Advocate ‘irrelevance‘ to Burgundy buyers that left the door open to another reviewer – Allen Meadows – and he barged right through – it’s hard to believe that his first report covered the 1998/1999 vintage – the best part of 20 years gone by in a flash! For much longer Steve Tanzer was always quietly, diligently, doing a great job, yet seemingly always on the periphery – he is of-course today part of the VinousPlex though by all accounts slowly drifting into retirement…

Allen remains the defacto voice of Burgundy criticism, a one-stop-shop for Burgundy-centric buyers, the Wine Advocate and VinousPlex being portfolio sites have a different buyer profile. Though it’s a fair comment that Allen diluted his worth to some subscribers by commencing coverage on ‘domestic pinot’ (such a ridiculous name) and Champagne – the Acker-Kurniawan smoke and mirrors didn’t help much either. But Allen remains Allen and for all his strengths and weaknesses he remains number 1.

Of-course William will have to get used to awarding Parker-points or being called ‘Parker’ on the shelf-talkers. I found his early stuff for Decanter high on content/info/quotes, but largely missing from personal analysis and comment – so I’ll be interested to see how he has approached the 2016 vintage which will (eventually!) be published by Decanter in the new year – though long after William is (more gainfully) employed elsewhere.

So, do Decanter have a global voice, or are they playing only in the UK-centric, advertisement-driven content space? Certainly they are, once-more, lacking a Burgundian voice – perhaps Jasper Morris can be convinced to do something as there’s another year now until the next Hospices de Christies wine auction. Or as an outliner, maybe David Schildknecht might be convinced to move from Vinous to Decanter? Their ‘visit-to-published‘ timescales are roughly of the same order of magnitude 😉

It seems that Beaune’s merry-go-round won’t be stopping any time soon…

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

Burgundy Report

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