Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Letters: A question of taste

Published:  23 July, 2008

I don't know whether to laugh or cry over the news that Nicolas prints Parker points on shelf barkers in its French outlets (Harpers, Grand Jury Europen', 20 January and 3 February). No one can deny that Parker has a palate, and it ain't European, let alone French, so it is difficult to see the value added by this gesture for French consumers.

Decanter demonstrated most elegantly a couple of years back how the yardstick of quality shifts with geography: in a landmark tasting event, the same wines were ranked quite differently by judges in London and in New York. I will be fascinated to learn how successful is the Grand Jury Europen in defining quality at a European level. With a membership ranging from French to British to Spanish to German to Swedish, all from countries with markedly different wine preferences, there is a risk of PR - proportional representation, otherwise known as Least Worst - emasculating its findings. Perhaps the occasional outsider winners such as Chteau Les Grands Chnes Cuve Prestige and the eyebrow-raising results for recent Bordeaux vintages are beneficiaries of this. Author Neil Beckett does not reveal where the Jury's consensus is greatest: in the middle ground (as I suspect) or at the extremes.

But even the Grand Jury remains firmly in the world of points, albeit with a high degree of sophisticated manipulation. There

is a life beyond the 100-point scale, as Langtons has shown with its Classification of Australian wines, widely regarded as a model of its type. Here, wines are appraised over several vintages, and production volume is taken into account, as well as price performance. Perhaps the Grand Jury should be allowed to look beyond the numbers and to consider all the evidence?

Hugo Rose MW