Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 4 November 2011

Jumillagate or more properly Murciagate: questions sent to Jay Miller

Is Pancho Campo MW now officially The Wine Advocate's Spanish gatekeeper?

I sent a series of question to Jay Miller on Wednesday 2nd November at 10am (GMT). I have yet to receive any response or acknowledgment. 

Questions to Jay Miller:

I have recently been covering the controversy that has arisen over the arrangements for your proposed visit to Murcia: 24th -26th November on Jim’s Loire. I have also been asked by to cover this story.

Please see here:

I have some questions I would like to ask please.

a) When did you first become aware of the email sent by Juan Antonio Ruiz Jimenez on 4th October to a number of bodegas in the Murcia area?

b) Once you were aware of this email what action did you take?

c) What is the purpose of your visit to Murcia?

d) What is the role of Pancho Campo MW for this visit?

e) When making a visit to an established wine region like Murcia would your travel expenses not normally be covered by The Wine Advocate?

e) Will the visit to Murcia (24th-26th November) now go ahead? If it does will you be asking for the arrangements to be changed and in what ways?

f) The business of Pancho Campo and The Wine Academy includes the promotion of Spanish wine regions and Spanish wine companies. A perfectly legitimate activity but do you not think that your close association with Campo and The Wine Academy has inevitably called into question your independence and the reliability of your Spanish wine reviews?

Furthermore is your close association with Campo and The Wine Academy not at variance with Robert Parker’s ‘Our wine critics ethics and standards’?

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible, especially as I would naturally wish to include your comments in the news story for

Many thanks and kind regards,

Jim Budd


Russ Raney said...

Hello Jim,

I (happily) stumbled across your blog while doing some research for my own little blog project. The Jay Miller issue immediately caught my eye - and was no surprise to me. Here's why: I'm the former owner of an established Oregon (Willamette Valley) vineyard & winery, whose wines routinely garnered "good" scores from the Advocate over the years. However when Jay Miller assumed the Oregon wine reviewing responsibilities (after the departure of Pierre Rovani)he scheduled a visit to our winery - along with our new owner, after which he gave us the lowest scores in my memory - while complaining about the tasting conditions (we were in the process of moving out that day). Afterwards one of our top retail customers who knew Jay's modus operandi, commented that "you just didn't pamper him enough - you know, pull out the foie gras and époisse etc". My suspicions were confirmed when I saw which producers received the highest marks in this issue of the WA. I personally find it unprofessional for wine writers to make a definitive assessment of a wine tasted on premise (esp. from barrel) with the proprietor - it's simply too easy to get cozy (or not!) with the host. I started reading the WA back in 1979 when Parker was still using a typewriter - and have sadly watched as the publication has become less and less of an "advocate" for consumers while more and more a hype machine using the "pay to play" approach. Their abuse of the overly subjective 100 point score system was one the incentives I needed to push me into my own wine review project. Thanks for making my day! Keep up the vigilance!

Jim Budd said...

Many thanks Russ. I'm still awaiting a response from Robert Parker and Jay Miller.

I think it highly likely that there are more revelations to come.

Luc Charlier said...

Very interesting column by RR. This type of hunting story, usually kept hidden, should be made public. I’m sure they are numerous, and do not doubt any single detail.
It tells a lot on how an estate’s reputation is created and how it can vanish.
Do you remember “From Genesis to Revelation” ? (Decca, 1969).

Cliff said...
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