Monday, February 7, 2011

Parker Drops a Bomb: Galloni Taking a Bigger Role at WA

Robert Parker unleashed an epic press release this weekend (see the email published on Vinography). He is no longer personally reviewing California wine; instead Antonio Galloni will be taking up that role at The Wine Advocate. Galloni will also be covering the heart of Burgundy, taking over that gig from David Schildknecht, who will still retain responsibilities for Beaujolais, Macon and the Loire as well as Germany, Austria and the Eastern US. Champagne also goes to Galloni.

Parker has been expanding the roles of his contractors for some years now. But this is a more surprising move than any previous. Parker will continue to review Bordeaux and the Rhone, which are historically his favorite regions. However, California has been perhaps the most dependent upon his reviews. Parker has made quite a few wineries in California with his scores, and arguably has driven the popular style in the state more than any other person.

Galloni built his reputation by reviewing northern Italy in The Piedmont Report. In other words, he is a Nebbiolo nut. He is no stranger to acidity and overpowering tannin. If he retains this preference while reviewing California wines, producers pursuing the soft, melted style of wine may need to refocus their approach. (Parker is no stranger to heavy tannin, either, but he seemed to really enjoy the rich mouth-coating sort as opposed to the tougher astringent tannin Nebbiolo produces.) I'm also curious to see what this means for Cal-Ital producers. Will Galloni judge them harshly for not replicating Italy? Or will he promote them as a variation on an ever-evolving theme?

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