In a bold move, preeminent wine critic Robert Parker has hired five new tasters and writers for his Wine Advocate newsletter. This is the first time Parker has opened up as many wine regions and so widely shared the reviewing duties since he started his newsletter nearly 30 years ago. The new writers are Antonio Galloni from the Piedmont Report who will cover all of Italy, David Schildknecht who will cover Germany, Austria, Central Europe, Alsace, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Languedoc-Roussillon, Champagne, New Zealand and South Africa. In his spare time, David will also taste wines made in AmericaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Eastern and Midwestern regions, which Lenn and I appreciate respectively. Also joining the Wine Advocate are Dr. J. Miller, Mark Squires and a non-U.S. writer to be named later. Dr. Miller, a long-time friend of Parker and well respected East Coast taster, will cover the Pacific Northwest, Spain, Australia, and South America. Mark Squires will continue to look after eBob and also write about the non-fortifiled wines of Portugal (Dr. J gets Porto, Madera, etc). The most mysterious addition is a new “critic-at-large” position which will, “…represent a point of view outside the American perspective…”; Jancis Robinson, perhaps? I think not, but it certainly would make for interesting tension in staff meetings 😉
I think these additions are the first steps in separating The Wine Advocate from Robert Parker’s palate and the first indication that Parker is thinking about retirement. For wine lovers this is great news as The Wine Advocate, a non-advertising supported wine publication, will continue well past Mr. Parker’s career. I would only be more pleased if Parker also announced his blog and podcast at the same time, but I’m sure those are planned for the future. Seriously, this is a turning point and the first time this wine lover will subscribe to The Wine Advocate.