OK, so maybe this isn’t a full blown “arch-nemesis” situation ala Mutineer vs. Steve Heimoff, and the juiciest part of this story, which was posted on Coleman’s “Dr. Vino” blog, actually involves Dr. Vino (Tyler Coleman) and Parker contributor Jay Miller.
Here is the deal: Coleman is questioning whether or not Parker’s contributers are in line with his legendary approach to ethics, which is why a 100-point score from Robert Parker Jr. is a completely different (and much more credible) score than what you’ll find in Wine Spectator or the rest of the rating mags that charge up the ass for advertising, yet somehow objectively score wines? We here at Mutineer Magazine accept advertising, but we don’t rate wines, so that’s how we handle that.
The interesting thing about this particular situation with Coleman and Parker’s people is that while the correspondence between Coleman and Parker (which is available to read here) was very transparent and constructive, when Coleman followed up with the correspondent in question, Jay Miller, he was met by bitter defensiveness. Miller signed his first reply “MrBigJ”, which was soon downgraded to “JM” when Miller lost his sense of humor regarding the situation, offering short and defensive responses to Coleman’s respectful and fair questions, with the end game being no questions answered and Miller apparently cutting off communication.
What concerns me is that Miller has taken a concerning approach in how he handled this situation, saying: “Tyler, say whatever you want. People who know you are well aware that you predicted in print the demise of The Wine Advocate. I really have nothing to say to you.” As a magazine Editor, what this is saying to me is that if you say something unpopular about Parker, he is going to simply write you off with little consideration for the fact that Coleman is simply trying to set the facts straight, which is clearly evidenced in the e-mail transcripts…or that Miller has something to hide. I’m very familiar with Parker and his die-hard commitment to ethics, and it will be a shame if this commitment is tarnished over what could have been a constructive situation.
If you aren’t familiar with Coleman and Miller, here is more information, which was taken from their websites.
Dr. Vino, or Tyler Coleman is the author of the incredible book, “Wine Politics” and he describes himself on his site with the following:
I talk, teach and write about wine. This all started in my Ph.D. dissertation on the political economy of the wine industry in France and the United States. So yes, I am a real doctor—I don’t just play one on the web. On this site I make good value wine recommendations and also look at the world through the wine glass, bringing in diverse perspectives and lively reader contributions. In the past year, my wine writing has also appeared in print in Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits, the New York Times, and The Guardian, among other places (see “in the media“). I also teach wine classes at NYU and the University of Chicago, taste about 2,000 wines a year, and give talks and tastings for individuals and corporations (see “events“). On July 1, 2008, the University of California Press published my first wine book, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink. On November 11, Simon & Schuster published my second wine book, A Year of Wine: Perfect Pairings, Great Buys, and What to Sip with Each Season.
Jay Miller contributes to eRobertParker.com, and his bio is as follows:
Dr. Jay Stuart Miller was a Clinical Psychologist specializing in child, adolescent and family therapy on a full time basis from 1973-1998 and a part time basis from 1998-2001. He received his B.A. degree from the University of California in Los Angles in 1967 and his M.S. and Ph. D. degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1970 and 1972.
Jay’s wine industry experience began in 1977 as a part time wine consultant at Wells Discount Liquors, Baltimore, MD. He moved to Calvert Discount Liquors, Cockeysville, MD, in 1980 and continued on there as a part time wine consultant for five years. In 1985 he became the part time Assistant to Robert M. Parker, Jr. at The Wine Advocate. In 1998 he left to devote his full time attention to wine sales at The Wine Source in Columbia, MD. In 2001 he became Co-owner and Manager of Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore, MD.
He currently covers the wines of Oregon, Washington, Spain, Australia, South America, Greece and Vintage Ports.