Why do The Wine Advocate scores still carry an “(RP)?”

Should The Wine Advocate DUMP the “(RP)” after every score? Explain your answer.

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • I don’t care.

0 voters

Let me start with a disclaimer: I have immense admiration for Robert Parker. I learned a ton from him. I found him to be a warm and generous host and a friendly, engaging conversationalist the few times I dined and drank with him. His net impact on all that is vinous, good and bad, is way over on the positive side of the scale IMO.

This post (and poll) is not about Robert Parker the man or Robert Parker the wine critic. It is about the choice that The Wine Advocate (TWA) has made to continue publishing his initials next to scores that have nothing to do with the man.

Should The Wine Advocate DUMP the “(RP)” after every score? Explain your answer.

At best, it’s non-transparent. Some might say it’s dishonest. Does TWA management believe that the value of Robert Parker’s reputation outweighs the value of journalistic integrity?

I’ve been reading that @William Kelly has taken on editorial duties at TWA. That’s fantastic, as William’s reviews are the most incisive, insightful, informative, and honest that I’ve seen in a long time. Enough to make me consider resuming a subscription. But I can’t support a publication that purports to be pro-consumer while perpetuating the misleading use of the “(RP)” after every score.

Am I nit-picking? Am I too sensitive? Maybe it’s just me. What do you think?

I know enough about TWA to know that the scores are not RP anymore. Heck, I wouldn’t have resubscribed otherwise. I don’t care if they use “RP.”

It’s often the same with Purple Pages with scores attributed to “JR”

I voted yes. While I don’t have the first-hand experience David had with RP, Parker is the reason I took the next step in wine, especially Bordeaux and CA cabs, and I did follow his reviews, and although not all agree with his palate, especially in later years, I found mine did align fairly well.

That said, wines reviewed by The Wine Advocate, even though founded by Parker, are not reviewed by RP. So, either designate reviews WA or by the person at WA who reviewed the wines. There are still people who may see RP and think he actually tasted and reviewed the wine. IMO, that is deceptive advertising.

I haven’t been paying attention to WA or RP on the reviews, but David, is that here and there or some consistent pattern?

I voted I don’t care, but for data’s sake, I most often see it as “WA” vs “RP” these days

I’m speculating but I believe this was an editorial or ownership decision during LPB’s time. I find it ludicrous and insulting for all the reviewers, but also that it shows a profound lack of belief in the power of the TWA brand as opposed to that of RMP himself. I understand from a marketing perspective even if it shows the errors of the past, but today, basically I think it’s indefensible.


Parker has nothing to do with TWA anymore. He doesn’t own it and from what I am told he’s not in any condition to review wines anymore. Michelin owns it. So to put RP is misleading and frankly dishonest.

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TWA’s website is in dire need of a refresh and under the hood update, but even in its current state users are able to search by reviewer. Given my current interest in Champagne (pretty much to the exclusion of all else), I’m only interested in reading what Kelley has to say and I search accordingly.

I think RP should only be used for the wines Robert Parker reviewed and should not show universally.


Tom, I don’t subscribe so I only see what’s quoted elsewhere, and I can’t answer your question. From what I see it appears that scores are typically followed by “(RP).” If that’s the exception rather than the rule, I’m hoping a subscriber will chime in with more accurate information.

Of course I realize that it’s been years since Parker wrote reviews for TWA. And that it’s not difficult for subscribers and those with access to the publication to tell who evaluated which wine.

Some retailers who republish the WA reviews and scores are diligent in noting the author (K&L comes to mind).

Others simply post the score and the “RP.” Continued use of the initials by TWA encourages that. Some use “Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate” which is perhaps somewhat less misleading as it identifies the publication rather than solely the man.

Maybe those who don’t know enough about the history wouldn’t know that “RP” carried more weight than other critics. Maybe it makes no difference. But it smacks of misrepresentation and that bothers me.

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Here’s how K&L lists them:

93 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Mount Eden’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes across as silky, perfumed and impeccably balanced. Dark red berries, flowers, mint and spices flesh out in this gracious, medium-bodied wine. The Estate is all about subtlety and class. Sweet floral notes reappear to frame the exquisite finish. (AG)” (08/2012)

91 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“Lapierre’s 2020 Morgon offers up aromas of plummy fruit and raspberries mingled with hints of petals and spices. Medium-bodied, satiny and enveloping, its succulent core of fruit is framed by melting tannins and mouthwatering acids. This thirst-quenching, fruit-driven Morgon is one of the purest, most precise young wines I’ve tasted from this address in recent years. (WK)” (8/2020)

So, they still use the full name of the publication as well as crediting the critic. Seems like the best approach for a merchant. If WA should drop RP from their name is a separate question. Perhaps it will make sense to them at some point, but I don’t much care. It’s more a question if a merchant is interested in being accurate an honest or not. Do they have respect for their customers or care about doing a good job?

I haven’t seen any official ratings show RP. I see WA probably two to one. If you are talking about random websites and retailers, it’s probably just baked into their antiquated systems.

Regardless, I don’t care. I know what it means. And to be fair, the TWA website is still robertparker.com.

I don’t have a deeply felt opinion here, but I believe thata my subscription id still to robertparker.com

That said, I would prefer the actual reviewers initials next to the review just because my palate aligns more with some than others.

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For the record, TWA does display “91RP” for the rating for wines in their search results. I’d prefer it list the actual reviewer, but that’s just in the pseudo-spreadsheet display for initial results. If you click on the actual review to read the complete text, it’s attributed. I wonder if the way it’s set up allows wine shops to link directly, thus pulling it as “91RP” instead of just “91.” You can also narrow your search by reviewer, among other things, which I find helpful…

Why would they they do this? To reduce confusion amongst the general populace. Wine geeks aren’t looking at shelf talkers except occasionally.

I’m here as well. In time WK will have his imprimatur on TWA, but for now, I don’t care. I’m not sure I have even noticed that the RP is still perpetuated.

Hmm. I thought that RP was an abbreviation for “Random Points”.


It occurred to me that it might mean “the RP 100-point scale.”

How can you say your reviewers are worthy of paying attention to for their own voices and skills if you assign all of their scores to Robert Parker? The Wine Advocate can certainly still show deference to its founder in titles, summations and web site addresses but each writer should be given respect as individual voices separate from the founders.

As long as Robert Parker is better known amongst the wine lovers than William Kelley i.e. this makes sense from a marketing standpoint. The WA is a business and they do what is favorable for the brand and the sales. There will be a time when only few people still know who Parker was. And that time is not so far away. Then things may or should change. Not to tell the truth but rather for business reasons.

I think it would be wise to use the Michelin brand instead of RP in the future. The Michelin food inspectors are anonymous. Michelin is better known and stronger as a brand than any wine critic since Parker retired. And it is beneficial not to name a single person because William Kelley or the others will change to an other publication or will establish their own. The first move could be Michelin´s Wine Advocate. MWA instead of TWA.

(Michelin staff and William – please do not forget to pay my consultant fee :slight_smile: