Finding the heir to Parker’s throne


Despite Robert Parker’s recent retirement from reviewing Bordeaux, his scores continue to have a profound impact on price. With Parker’s influence likely to decline as time goes on, there has been considerable discussion around what or who will influence the market next. Will there be an heir to Parker’s throne, or will a system based on consensus or average scores emerge as the market’s new barometer of wine quality in Bordeaux?

As a preliminary exploration of this issue, Liv-ex has measured the correlation between individual critic scores and the prices of the last ten physical vintages of the Bordeaux First Growths. We tested a sample of four popular critics: Robert Parker, Neal Martin, James Suckling and Jean Marc Quarin.

The chart above shows how closely correlated the prices of these wines are with scores from the respective critics. The results suggest that Parker Points still enjoy the greatest correlation with price, although the other sampled critics are not far behind.

Naturally there are many factors influencing any market, and fine wine is no different. For example, brand, vintage quality and age are also likely to influence fine wine prices. In addition, there may be issues with the direction of causation in our analysis, with scores perhaps being influenced by prices – blind tastings apart – or being correlated with each other. It will be interesting to observe how the market eventually choses its successor to Parker Points.



5 thoughts on “Finding the heir to Parker’s throne

  • October 28, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    You could do a much stronger statistical test if you controlled for vintage and chateau. Also, are these correlations statistically significantly different from each other? Right now, the results say better vintages have higher prices and all of the critics pick that up.

  • October 31, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Quarin has and will continue to have no influence in the USA. If it is a matter of numbers alone Sucking has to become number one over time. No intelligent, experienced taster takes his absurd over-scoring of everything seriously. Neal Martin has influence for only one reason–he writes for the WA. Retail stores often put Parker’s initials or leave out the name when posting Martin’s scores and comments. Before Galloni took over Bordeaux as Vinous the scores and commentary from Tanzer and D’Agata were the most reliable and least biased of the group. Alas they are gone from the Bordeaux reviewing scene. Fools follow only numbers. Real wine buyers with palates try to go to tastings and form their own judgments based on both a developed palate and something the critics never have to do: pay for the wines they taste.

  • October 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    “Let no man (or woman) rate your palate!” is my mantra. Find the wine that you like – then hunt for a wine critic that “in-sych” with your palate. I chased and purchased wine for years based on R.P.’s ratings and have been deeply disappointed as I have opened my aged Bordeaux with great expectations. Perhaps my palate has changed but I should have followed my impression that drinking Grand Crus Bordeaux much earlier would have been much more satisfying. But, there are many that disagree with me and were willing to pay an astronomical price for my 2000 Chateau Latour and other R.P. stars. For this, I thank him, but I wasn’t collecting for financial gain.

  • October 31, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Dear Sirs,
    I am sure you make the best efforts when you study Parker, Suckling or Quarin.
    Parker is the passed and the others are trying hard.
    But have you ever tried the very influential and talented Bettane & Desseauve from France ?
    You can now even read them in English or if you prefer in Mandarin or French.
    Yours sincerely,

  • November 1, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Your comparison is somewhat misleading insofar as Neal Martin writes under the Advocate and basks in the aura of Mr. Parker. This is not a bad thing, but would Mr. Martin have such influence as an independent such as James Suckling or Jean Marc Quarin. Moreover, both JS and JMQ are not as focused on big famous wines and as is the Advocate and are actually reviewing many wines people can actually afford without guilt. If year read closely, you will quickly realize JS, for example, has become far more focused on the love of a great bottle which is in reach for the majority of us rather than the greatest First Growth or DRC

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