Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Robert Parker, Tyler Coleman, Atto and tomorrow

In the Ridley Scott film Black Hawk Down, General Garrison interrogates a captured Somali arms supplier, Atto. In the dialogue, Atto talks about the 'civil war', America's attempts bring peace, and says this:

I do know something about history. You see all this? It's simply shaping tomorrow. A tomorrow without a lot of Arkansas white boy's ideas in it.

That's the line I think of every time I read a Tyler Coleman (Dr Vino) blog on Robert Parker (not that Parker's from Arkansas, of course).

Coleman has obviously set his sights on Robert Parker and the Wine Advocate. For which I don't blame him - if you're a journalist, it is your job to monitor the centres of power (as Amira Hass or Robert Fisk might say). And Robert Parker is undoubtedly the centre of power in the wine world.

The latest Coleman attack questions how much Robert Parker spends on his wine samples. Coleman says that, from statements and an extrapolation of wine prices in one Wine Advocate issue, Parker must spend $700,000 on wine samples per year, a figure he goes on to query.

This piece follows the Jay Miller/Mark Squires exposé of last year, in which it was revealed that both men (contributors to Parker's Wine Advocate) had taken trips as guests of wine countries/regional wine bodies - strictly at odds with Parker's credo.

So what will happen now? Well, Parker and his followers will have already guessed that Coleman has his sights on the man in Maryland. Whether this item makes it to discussion on the Parker bulletin board is unlikely, especially given the latest lets-just-all-be-friends drive on the site. But Parker's manifesto, printed at the front of every issue of the Wine Advocate, will continue to haunt him, as will Coleman.

Because, you see, what you are witnessing is the fight for tomorrow. No matter how much Parker pads out his team with international names, he is still the only person who really counts. Who will be there when Parker is no more? Well, some of the ones with the most profile in the wine world will be the ones who have kicked up the most stink.

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