Robert Parker: The Grand World Tour

I’ve got pages and pages to write about Robert Parker.  Reams.  They will follow, but there is just too much for the moment.  If only he’d do the three bottles….

Last week Mr Parker hosted a “Grand World Tour” masterclass.  This, and the tastings that followed it, are part of the monetisation of the Parker brand now that The Man is slowing down.  It was fascinating.  Here are the wines:

2011 Clos de la Roche, Domaine Dujac

Very punchy, fruit driven nose.  Bounce here.  Sweet and pure fruit.  Something special here, and some depth.  This is exceptionally good on the nose.  More savoury/spicy in the mouth.  Not the intensity of the nose, and a bit of the pinch of the vintage.  A+ on the nose.  B in mouth.

2011 Latricieres-Chambertin, Domaine Leroy

FWIW Latricieres is more often than not my favourite of the Chambertin grand crus.

More barrel and choccamocha on the nose.  More weight and less energy.  This is the more serious, and “younger” (in that it needs time) wine.  And the grander wine in the mouth.  Heavy.  Serious.  There is a lot of barrel on this but the fruit can stand up to it.  Not typically Latricieres (which, to me, is all about how it sounds: delicacy and lift.)  Good.  Lacks the bang, the magic, of a grand vintage.

2000 Barolo, Le Vigne, Sandrone

Very, very, minty on the nose.  If you made the Elysian Polo Mint it would smell like this.  Develops into a bit of Galloway’s (no one under forty knows what this means…)  There is a lot here, and the rose petals are underneath.  Incredible purity.  And in the mouth the first thing is the lift, and again the purity.  Balletically muscular.  On tip toes.  And there is some terroir underneath all this.  This is wine.  Very well done.

Monica Larner spoke about this one.  To my view a lady who has a clear, genuine and deep passion for what she does.  Both intellectual and emotional.

2004 Unico, Bodegas Vega Sicilia

This was faulty.

1982 Ch. Cos d’Estournel, St Estephe

Like coming back home.  Mature claret mintiness with a touch of paper smoke.  A touch of cured meat.  Ripe.  And again in the mouth.  This is just beginning to crack up, to disintegrate, but it is doing it in style.  Like a brick wall of a beautiful garden on a grand estate that is losing its pointing.  A hint of dirtiness: this isn’t precision-made claret.  A good drink; not a stunner, but something I’d like to drink a lot of and there is some St Estephe here.  RP says there is no austerity to this but I disagree.  Austerity is inherent in St Estephe.

This is an old wine and may well have suffered a little from the travel.  Mr Parker doesn’t like to move his 82s at all, to the point that he doesn’t really like taking a bottle to a restaurant.  Good point; well made.

2009 Ch. Leoville-Lascases, St Julien

There is some bounce, some energy, and some hidden depth here.  And the incredible lift that you don’t think the vintage should or could have.  Cool.  And all here.  Inviting like a plump cushion.  Minerality.  Lift.  And again in the mouth this is brilliant.  So attractive.  The beauty of youth.  Just lovely; yet serious.  Perfect.  Too young?  Only because we’re too old.  Brilliant: so compact – so much more to come.  Exceptional, and so, so, lifted.

I rather liked the Lascases…

2001 Masseto

Dried fruit and chocolate cake nose.  Christmas cake and liqueur chocolates.  Reminiscent of Lafleur.  Rich and fat.  This follows in the mouth.  Chocolate, fat, sugar.  This is Lafleur with milk and four sugars (please, love).  Goes on.  Monica Larner is talking about terroir but for me this is all about grape variety and winemaking.  Very impressive.  Lots of make up here but something underneath.  The pretty blonde: you don’t always know how clever she is.

2010 Dominus

Mr Parker tells us that the full 100 points is sometimes to do with the emotion of the moment.  Mmm.  Also that sometimes there is “the responsibility to give the perfect score”.  More mmm.

I’m surprised that this isn’t jumping out of the glass but there is something here, something savoury.  Something leafy.  Something Cheval Blanc.  And there is more in the mouth, with an herby, lifted, edge and a restraint to it.  This is clever, rather than pretty, and I’m struggling to find the 100 points.  And, FWIW, the alcohol sticks out a bit.

2007 Hundred Acre Ark Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Some sweet punch here, some fat.  This is a bit more like it: more energy.  Sweet cassis fruit with proper “crushed rock” minerality.  Some bounce, and some velvet, and some poised sweet luxury here.  Less in mouth.  A savoury edge.  Doesn’t quite give in the mouth what it promised on the nose yet still impresses until it falls away a little.  Very pleasing: like a good beef stew.

NV Valdespino Moscatel Tonoles

Black olive medicine.  This creosotes rather than stains the glass.  Sweet and rich nose with a bitter and savoury edge.  Thick and viscous, oleaginous, in the mouth.  The very, very, best chocolate truffles.  Lovely, impossibly smooth texture.  This is quite, quite brilliant.  80-100 years old (it’s from a solera).  The very best mint chocolates.  Exceptional.  Is this a wine?

This, for a minute or two, was slipping its way into my top five of all time.  Two seats up from me was Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor Fladgate.  And 1927 Taylor is at, or close to, the top of my top five of all time, and this put it into perspective.  The Moscatel is one of the most incredible liquids you will ever taste, but it lacks something vinous.  It doesn’t taste like it came from grapes.  What has happened to it over the past century is what it tastes of: not where it came from.  A century of winemaking.


An evening of contrasts: the World is turning.  The impossibly pretty Asians in charge of “handling”.  Old becomes new.  The American Emperor of Wine.  Crushed grape juice of different ages from around the world.  And the spectacular architecture of the Royal Courts of Justice which, somehow, made me feel that I had something over the hosts.

And, despite the points, there was just one grand vin.  Which, by chance or otherwise, was the wine with heritage.  Maybe this says as much about me as it does the evening or the wines.  2009 Leoville-Lascases was not only the best wine here, the only truly great wine, it was patrician.  It had the heritage of its surroundings.


Seeing that scores are the heart of the event:  2009 Lascases: 99+; NV Moscatel: 98;  2000 Barolo Le Vigne and 2001 Masseto: 96 or 97;  82 Cos: 95; 2011 Burgundies: 94; 07 Hundred Acre: 93; 2010 Dominus: 91.

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