New Guy disillusioned with WA

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markjchambers
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New Guy disillusioned with WA

#1 Post by markjchambers » April 19th, 2019, 8:44 am

I just came over from the Wine Advocate to see what Berserkers is all about. I subscribed to the WA for 20 years, but things have really deteriorated since Parker sold out. Reviewers come and go with little consistency. Worse, their bulletin board which used to be my favorite thing, has really gone down hill. It used to be vibrant and full of information. Now there's just a handful of people posting and it can be 2 or 3 days between postings. I wonder, are there are others here that have had the same experience at the Wine Advocate?

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#2 Post by mark rudner » April 19th, 2019, 8:46 am

pretty much everyone
hi mark good to see you here!

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#3 Post by John Morris » April 19th, 2019, 9:25 am

markjchambers wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 8:44 am
It used to be vibrant and full of information. Now there's just a handful of people posting and it can be 2 or 3 days between postings. I wonder, are there are others here that have had the same experience at the Wine Advocate?
Occasionally a WBer who subscribes to WA makes the same observation. Most of us packed up when eBob went subscription only and have never looked back.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#4 Post by Craig G » April 19th, 2019, 9:27 am

Did someone just open a time capsule from 2010?
Last edited by Craig G on April 19th, 2019, 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#5 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 19th, 2019, 9:38 am

John Morris wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 9:25 am
markjchambers wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 8:44 am
It used to be vibrant and full of information. Now there's just a handful of people posting and it can be 2 or 3 days between postings. I wonder, are there are others here that have had the same experience at the Wine Advocate?
Occasionally a WBer who subscribes to WA makes the same observation. Most of us packed up when eBob went subscription only and have never looked back.
This.

And funny that they never looked back and changed course. They just ran their once very solid BB into the ground.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#6 Post by ky1em!ttskus » April 19th, 2019, 9:43 am

Mark, you have a lot to catch up on... did you hear the Cubs won the series? ;)

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#7 Post by Dennis Borczon » April 19th, 2019, 10:02 am

Very sad. Wonder what RP is up to these days in his semi-retirement? I wonder if he regrets the direction things went after he sold out, or is he chuckling all the way to the bank? whatever you think of the man, he had his impact. I wonder how long the entire Wine Advocate Brand will even be sustainable. Vinous seems to have passed them in the fast lane these days although i am not a subscriber there.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#8 Post by Doug Schulman » April 19th, 2019, 10:40 am

Welcome, Mark! That WA board has been dead for a long time. There's plenty of action here. Of course, it's the internet, so there's some nonsense that's worth ignoring, but mostly it's good conversation and a lot of great information.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#9 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 19th, 2019, 10:42 am

Walls are funny. East Germany used to say the Wall was to keep people safe from the west, but of course the truth was that the wall was to keep people from leaving for the west.

Maybe they needed more tanks and barbed wire when they built the wall around the ebob forum.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#10 Post by larry schaffer » April 19th, 2019, 10:49 am

I will always have fond memories of that board. It was certainly a 'launching point' into meeting so many wonderful people - both ITB and wine consumers. Back in its heyday, it was tremendous - and the number of threads that had winemakers / winery owners / distributors / wine reps / store owners involved was mind-boggling. Parker himself would step in from time to time to many of the threads.

This place is quite different indeed - but so much more active than the current Ebob boards. Winemaker involvement is not as great, and things tend to go off the rails here a bit more often than any of us would probably wish, but the diversity of wines discussed really is impressive - and the ability to attend offlines/events is awesome.

I pretty much meet folks from he board on a weekly basis - whether it be at a tasting I am part of (as I did this week in Pasadena) or at my tasting room in Los Olivos (got a PM this morning from someone dropping by this afternoon). I cherish those chance meetings - and hope to continue to interact online and in person with as many Berserkers as possible.

Welcome, take part in the discussions when you can, and don't be afraid to offer up alternative views . . .

And as far as walls go, many have tried it elsewhere on the web and unless there is something so compelling that you 'can't live without it', it simply does not work. That said, that was not the reason that board 'failed' - it had more to do with stifling alternative viewpoints (and, in all honesty, lots of nastiness on the part of posters there as well).

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#11 Post by Scott G r u n e r » April 19th, 2019, 10:51 am

larry schaffer wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 10:49 am

And as far as walls go, many have tried it elsewhere on the web and unless there is something so compelling that you 'can't live without it', it simply does not work. That said, that was not the reason that board 'failed' - it had more to do with stifling alternative viewpoints (and, in all honesty, lots of nastiness on the part of posters there as well).

Cheers.
Hmm. My analogy works there too!
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#12 Post by Mel Hill » April 19th, 2019, 11:04 am


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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#13 Post by Peter Panzica » April 19th, 2019, 11:15 am

This should be a HBS case study once it tanks on how to tank a business. Ignore your customer base and adamantly come up with reasons they are all wrong. Lack of integration with CT, one of the best tools in our hobby, when the others have done it. Revolving door of reviewers. When the talent leaves it speaks to the culture and leadership. Turning the one time best bulletin board into a joke. Watching the posting go down to what you can count on one hand. Watching one member after another leave many with their subscriber-ship. There was a recent thread there saying that the board is not important to the business. I wonder what the change in subscribers has been.
There are still good reviewers there and a few loyal posters but you have to wonder how long the brand will last.
Last edited by Peter Panzica on April 20th, 2019, 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Well...

#14 Post by TomHill » April 19th, 2019, 11:33 am

Well...don’t any of you pine for the good ole days of the NewsGroup alt.food.wine?? Some of my first Internet wine friends I met there.
What’s things like on the WineSphincter board??
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Re: Well...

#15 Post by Wes Barton » April 19th, 2019, 12:01 pm

TomHill wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 11:33 am
What’s things like on the WineSphincter board??
They looked back at their software "upgrade" that chased away about 70% of their users away in 2001 and decided to do it again. With basic 1984 level of user friendliness long gone, they had to be creative in how to make it more tedious. I'd say it looked like it was designed by a high school student, but I doubt someone that age so inclined would do such a bad job. It's more like a community college student, who's never used a bulletin board system, is working on a deadline and only needs a passing grade would do. If you visit, your eyes will start hurting very quickly. There still seems to be around 10-20 posts a day.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#16 Post by GregT » April 19th, 2019, 12:16 pm

Yeah the software upgrade was terrible. It's interesting how something so simple can make such a big difference. The site is almost unusable.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#17 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 19th, 2019, 12:21 pm

Welcome.

I agree that at one stage it was an amazing “place”. A text book screw up.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#18 Post by Scott Brunson » April 19th, 2019, 3:13 pm

I wondered if WA was a new Ray Walker project. [berserker.gif]
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#19 Post by GregP » April 19th, 2019, 3:36 pm

markjchambers wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 8:44 am
I just came over from the Wine Advocate to see what Berserkers is all about. I subscribed to the WA for 20 years, but things have really deteriorated since Parker sold out. Reviewers come and go with little consistency. Worse, their bulletin board which used to be my favorite thing, has really gone down hill. It used to be vibrant and full of information. Now there's just a handful of people posting and it can be 2 or 3 days between postings. I wonder, are there are others here that have had the same experience at the Wine Advocate?
Was on WA board since mid to late '90s, Parker banned me back in January of 2009, after he decided he got one too many a very public beating from me over his utter lack of wine making knowledge and his ill informed grand standing over issues he seriously misunderstood and misrepresented. Add to that wine makers leaving in droves (as a reaction) and moving wholesale to this place, no wonder WA is dead now.

Welcome! I am sure you'll love it here.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#20 Post by George Chadwick » April 19th, 2019, 4:02 pm

I would never post on Wine Berserkers. Everyone there is weird.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#21 Post by John Morris » April 19th, 2019, 4:02 pm

I can understand why they made eBob a subscriber-only board. It didn't make them any money, didn't enhance the brand and, in fact, served as a forum for people to dis Parker and WA. It was just a big headache to them, though partly of their own making.

What's happening to the brand now is another story, but also probably inevitable once the world realized that there wasn't a lone oracle divining all truth about wine. The Internet was the death of that notion (and of truth, but that's another story). It's pretty common for a business built around one person to go into decline when that person sells out.

As for turnover in reviewers, no wine publication pays well these days. It made a nice living for Parker in the days when he had 25,000+ subscribers and hardly any overhead. But you can't pretend the entire wine world alone today, so you have to have lots of critics. But how to pay for them? It's hard to see that the events can really sustain all these reviewers.
Last edited by John Morris on April 19th, 2019, 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#22 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 19th, 2019, 4:05 pm

John Morris wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:02 pm

It made a nice living for Parker in the days when he had 25,000+ subscribers and hardly any overhead.
Was that his subscription base at its height?

Wow. At $100 per year, that’s $2.5MM. Not too shabby for living a party.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#23 Post by Paul McCourt » April 19th, 2019, 4:16 pm

the WA Board was part of my learning curve when I started to truly pay attention to wine, so I am always grateful for that.

Don’t miss at all. Different times.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#24 Post by Ron Slye » April 19th, 2019, 4:20 pm

Peter Panzica wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 11:15 am
This should be a HBS case study once it tanks on how to tank a business. Ignore your customer base and adamantly come up with reasons they are all wrong. Lack of integration with VC, one of the best tools in our hobby, when the others have done it. Revolving door of reviewers. When the talent leaves it speaks to the culture and leadership. Turning the one time best bulletin board into a joke. Watching the posting go down to what you can count on one hand. Watching one member after another leave many with their subscriber-ship. There was a recent thread there saying that the board is not important to the business. I wonder what the change in subscribers has been.
There are still good reviewers there and a few loyal posters but you have to wonder how long the brand will last.
VC? Sorry, I might be too tired to figure out the reference.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#25 Post by John Morris » April 19th, 2019, 4:24 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:05 pm
John Morris wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:02 pm

It made a nice living for Parker in the days when he had 25,000+ subscribers and hardly any overhead.
Was that his subscription base at its height?

Wow. At $100 per year, that’s $2.5MM. Not too shabby for living a party.
I recall it was at about that level in the late 80s or early 90s. I don't have my back issues here, or I could check the postal ownership statement, which you have to publish in an issue once a year to qualify for publishers postage rates. I think it was higher. But I think the subscription was only $50 or so back in those days. Still, 25,000 x $50 would be $1.25M annually. Even with wine purchases, it was a nice little business. At that rate, you could afford to pay a couple of other writers a decent living, plus someone to handle sub orders, and Jay Miller to set up tastings.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#26 Post by Brad England » April 19th, 2019, 4:38 pm

Also was a 30 year subscriber to WA, and finally pulled the plug a couple years ago. The only thing I miss at the moment (aside from the board, which has been replaced by WB) is getting William Kelley's notes, now that he is there. Hopefully Antonio will bring him into Vinous soon.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#27 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » April 19th, 2019, 4:40 pm

Williams notes are great. Killer palate. Ironically, I am drinking a 2017 Bouland right now that he raves about. And he’s dead on point. Turn WA over to him and I re-join.

Uncle Bob also made money from his books, and I have to assume, other sources as well.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#28 Post by Robert M yers » April 19th, 2019, 4:51 pm

Welcome aboard! But what the heck too you so long, there’s a reason you see all the sign up dates under avatars here from 09/10 span. Do they still @&$@$”@ out wineBerserkers?

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#29 Post by Arv R » April 19th, 2019, 4:58 pm

Let's not forget Squires - and his shirts - when doling out accountability for what happened at eBob.

Image

And he banned my avatar!

He was pretty solid for Port I have to admit though.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#30 Post by A S K R O B A C K » April 19th, 2019, 5:13 pm

markjchambers wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 8:44 am
I just came over from the Wine Advocate to see what Berserkers is all about. I subscribed to the WA for 20 years, but things have really deteriorated since Parker sold out. Reviewers come and go with little consistency. Worse, their bulletin board which used to be my favorite thing, has really gone down hill. It used to be vibrant and full of information. Now there's just a handful of people posting and it can be 2 or 3 days between postings. I wonder, are there are others here that have had the same experience at the Wine Advocate?
Is this from 2007? [cheers.gif]
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#31 Post by A S K R O B A C K » April 19th, 2019, 5:14 pm

Arv R wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:58 pm
Let's not forget Squires - and his shirts - when doling out accountability for what happened at eBob.
Ha - Squires! He was the Eric Trump of wine.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#32 Post by markjchambers » April 19th, 2019, 5:52 pm

Wow! This place is hopping.

I guess I stayed out of misguided loyalty. The few people who are still posting there are pretty good. Squires is still good. If they had been able to keep Antonio or Jeb, I might still be there.

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#33 Post by Kris Patten » April 19th, 2019, 6:16 pm

Welcome Mark, I still have a subscription, but that place is just sad now.

Plus my favorite there, William Kelley slums here. [pwn.gif]
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#34 Post by Victor Hong » April 19th, 2019, 6:56 pm

The deletion of the epic Negam-Aki Thread was an inexcusable loss of modern financial market history.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#35 Post by John Preston » April 19th, 2019, 7:11 pm

I remember paying about $50 / yr. I still have my paper copies and I thank the WA for helping me navigate the madness, I mean hobby / obsession back in the day. Now I subscribe to my own palate...

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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#36 Post by Todd F r e n c h » April 19th, 2019, 9:16 pm

Victor Hong wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 6:56 pm
The deletion of the epic Negam-Aki Thread was an inexcusable loss of modern financial market history.
That was deleted? Have you reached out to ask if they have it in archive form? That was an incredible thread.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#37 Post by Wes Barton » April 19th, 2019, 11:32 pm

John Morris wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:02 pm
I can understand why they made eBob a subscriber-only board. It didn't make them any money, didn't enhance the brand and, in fact, served as a forum for people to dis Parker and WA. It was just a big headache to them, though partly of their own making.
I disagree. It was a popular and vibrant forum that definitely enhanced the brand. It was the misguided authoritarian mindset of Parker, bent on protecting his image as The God of Wine, the ultimate authority on the objective quality of wine, flawless in his aging predictions. It was years before this all snowballed to the point of open conflict. Squires was the lackey following orders and willingly taking the flak as if those were his own decisions. They made it a headache on themselves. Entirely their own making. Parker couldn't stand a diversity of opinion and was entirely incapable of understanding how varied individual perception is, thinking of it as a linear hierarchy, with himself as the best. Anyone who perceived a wine he rated highly as less good just wasn't being honest and had some sort of nefarious agenda to take him down.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#38 Post by Alan Rath » April 20th, 2019, 12:49 am

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 9:16 pm
Victor Hong wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 6:56 pm
The deletion of the epic Negam-Aki Thread was an inexcusable loss of modern financial market history.
That was deleted? Have you reached out to ask if they have it in archive form? That was an incredible thread.
I have a PDF of the entire thread, at least through April 2010. Someone archived it and sent it to me several years ago.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#39 Post by Peter Panzica » April 20th, 2019, 4:10 am

Ron Slye wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:20 pm
Peter Panzica wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 11:15 am
This should be a HBS case study once it tanks on how to tank a business. Ignore your customer base and adamantly come up with reasons they are all wrong. Lack of integration with VC, one of the best tools in our hobby, when the others have done it. Revolving door of reviewers. When the talent leaves it speaks to the culture and leadership. Turning the one time best bulletin board into a joke. Watching the posting go down to what you can count on one hand. Watching one member after another leave many with their subscriber-ship. There was a recent thread there saying that the board is not important to the business. I wonder what the change in subscribers has been.
There are still good reviewers there and a few loyal posters but you have to wonder how long the brand will last.
VC? Sorry, I might be too tired to figure out the reference.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#40 Post by Mike Q » April 20th, 2019, 4:45 am

I keep my WA account active for the database. I tried to quit but the history or reviews is surprisingly valuable to me. Well, at least worth the price of admission. The BB over there has been dead for years. There are only a handful of guys still posting. I check in every so often and am amazed at the lack of activity.
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#41 Post by Victor Hong » April 20th, 2019, 5:39 am

Todd F r e n c h wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 9:16 pm
Victor Hong wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 6:56 pm
The deletion of the epic Negam-Aki Thread was an inexcusable loss of modern financial market history.
That was deleted? Have you reached out to ask if they have it in archive form? That was an incredible thread.
I had PM'd Mark Squires, but he ultimately said that all old Social Hall threads would be deleted, after a certain age. Even regulators were lurking on it, to gauge where the next financial toilet would explode.

Subscribers searched the Archives on my behalf but found nothing. Fortunately, Walt Hoehler saved almost all of it.

See here: Negam-Aki Home Mortgage Default Correlation Debacle
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#42 Post by Victor Hong » April 20th, 2019, 5:51 am

The Sierra CarCrash scandal ultimately got Bob frustrated enough to close the door for open membership, figuring that subscription fees would keep out iconoclasts like me. I recall thrashing the other Jay Miller, Bob, and Mark with their own words and actions, for accepting free goodies before conferring 96 points on some doctored wine, which got me banned.

It was like Catholic bishops banning molestation observers for heresy.
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Jim Brennan
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#43 Post by Jim Brennan » April 20th, 2019, 5:59 am

Arv R wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 4:58 pm
Let's not forget Squires - and his shirts - when doling out accountability for what happened at eBob.

Image

And he banned my avatar!

He was pretty solid for Port I have to admit though.
Squires was just the hachet man.

erikportanger
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#44 Post by erikportanger » April 20th, 2019, 6:26 am

I think it's interesting to look back on Parker's big calls in his last few years at the helm - most of which have turned out to be highly debatable. Like the "great" 2003 vintage, the supposedly tannic and overrated 2005 vintage, and 2009 being better than 2010.

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Mark Golodetz
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#45 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 20th, 2019, 6:38 am

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Last edited by Mark Golodetz on April 20th, 2019, 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mark Golodetz
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#46 Post by Mark Golodetz » April 20th, 2019, 6:38 am

erikportanger wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 6:26 am
I think it's interesting to look back on Parker's big calls in his last few years at the helm - most of which have turned out to be highly debatable. Like the "great" 2003 vintage, the supposedly tannic and overrated 2005 vintage, and 2009 being better than 2010.
I am not sure that is exactly fair. And you can hardly call me a Parker apologist.

The 2003s he liked were all from the Medoc, and I have had decent results from Saint Julien north. Hardly a great vintage, but I don’t remember him saying it was.

I seem to remember he loved the 2005, and talked about the high tannins, which would need extended cellaring. The few I have tasted have been closed or surly, but all the elements are in place.

2009 versus 2010; that is an ongoing debate. Personally I think the 2010 Right Bankers, with certain exceptions, seem way less balanced because the alcohol levels are so high, but would agree that the Medocs are better than 2009.
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Gary York
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#47 Post by Gary York » April 20th, 2019, 6:40 am

You guys need to back off. He did give great advice on sushi pairing.
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J a y H a c k
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Re: Well...

#48 Post by J a y H a c k » April 20th, 2019, 6:42 am

TomHill wrote:
April 19th, 2019, 11:33 am
Well...don’t any of you pine for the good ole days of the NewsGroup alt.food.wine?? Some of my first Internet wine friends I met there.
What’s things like on the WineSphincter board??
Tom
Don't lie to us. You met your first wine friends during the post cornerstone laying party for the construction of Notre Dame? newhere
Yes, that's a DM of 1978 Mouton!

You can read my Financial Institutions Law Blog at https://www.gdblaw.com/blog?practiceID=4985.

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Kris Patten
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#49 Post by Kris Patten » April 20th, 2019, 7:00 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 6:38 am
erikportanger wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 6:26 am
I think it's interesting to look back on Parker's big calls in his last few years at the helm - most of which have turned out to be highly debatable. Like the "great" 2003 vintage, the supposedly tannic and overrated 2005 vintage, and 2009 being better than 2010.
I am not sure that is exactly fair. And you can hardly call me a Parker apologist.

The 2003s he liked were all from the Medoc, and I have had decent results from Saint Julien north. Hardly a great vintage, but I don’t remember him saying it was.

I seem to remember he loved the 2005, and talked about the high tannins, which would need extended cellaring. The few I have tasted have been closed or surly, but all the elements are in place.

2009 versus 2010; that is an ongoing debate. Personally I think the 2010 Right Bankers, with certain exceptions, seem way less balanced because the alcohol levels are so high, but would agree that the Medocs are better than 2009.
Agree, but the best call was Bryan Flannery meats, specifically the Rib Cap.
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Jeremy Holmes
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Re: New Guy disillusioned with WA

#50 Post by Jeremy Holmes » April 20th, 2019, 8:07 am

I still subscribe as the William Kelley articles on Burgundy are well worth the price of admission.
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