Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Jumillagate/Murciagate: A cover-up in Southern Spain
What role for Pancho Campo MW in Murcia apart from ensuring that he turns up with Miller in tow?
I feel some sympathy for Juan Antonio Ruiz Jiménez, the secretary of Asevin, and can see that he might well have difficulty answering the questions I sent to him yesterday.
When he, presumably with the assistance of others (staff at The Wine Academy of Spain?) concocted the letter sent initially to Vincent Pousson, who had first published on Facebook the incriminating email sent out by Jiménez to a number of bodegas in Murcia on 4th October, they would have thought the problem stopped there.
They assumed that all that had been leaked was that one email, so the solution was to deny everything – no payment etc, – while at the same time coming up with the notion "Exporting wines from Murcia to the U.S. and China markets" that would explain the 29,000 euro fee.
What they had reckoned without was that further details of the arrangements for this visit of Miller to Murcia (24th-26th November) had been leaked – details which immediately blew huge, gaping holes in their explanation.
It is clear that there are a number of people involved in Spanish wine, who have the perception that Pancho Campo MW and the Wine Academy are the gate-keepers of Jay Miller, Team Parker’s man in Spain, and who resent this apparent power. They are now increasing keen to ensure that the full details of this story come out.
Almost everything in Jiménez’s letter is contradicted by the emails I have seen and which I detailed yesterday in the post – 29,000 Euros for a two and half day visit (http://jimsloire.blogspot.com/2011/11/29000-for-two-and-half-day-visit-to.html)
‘Conducting a seminar on "Exporting wines from Murcia to the U.S. and China markets".’
‘Asevin requested to have Jay Miller as the guest of honor to discuss the U.S. market and Pancho Campo to speak about China.’
There is not a shred of evidence in the emails sent in October by Jiménez and Teresa Torres of this ‘seminar’. The emails of 4.10.11 (Jiménez) and Torres (10.10.11) are headed – Visit of Jay Miller.
The provisional programme sent out by Jiménez on 17.10.11 makes no mention of a ‘seminar’ only a conference and master tasting lasting around two and half hours on Saturday afternoon 26th November.
It is, of course, possible that Asevin are planning with the Wine Academy a future seminar but it was going to be held while Jay Miller, accompanied by Pancho Campo MW, were in Murcia (24th-26th November 2011.
‘The Wine Academy representatives insisted at all times that wineries should not pay for having Jay Miller visit them or for sending their wines to the tasting.’
If this was the case why send out the tariff on 4th October 2011 and then why does Jiménez supply the bank account into which bodegas were to pay their contributions for participating in the visit of Jay Miller.
‘The conditions imposed for the wine academy in order to carry out this tasting was that Jay Miller would choose the 12 to 15 wines at his entire discretion based exclusively on the highest Parker scores.’
The conditions received by Dirección General de Industrias Agroalimentarias y Capacitación Agraria Consejería de Agricultura y Agua and sent out by Teresa Torres (10.10.11) to the three DOs and Asevin could not have been more different.
"The wines to be tasted by Jay Miller for rating are selected based on the rules of The Wine Advocate, namely:
1. Only those wines that have an importer in USA can participate.
2. Only wines or vintages that The Wine Advocate has not scored yet can be included.
3. Barrel or tank samples will not be rated.
(Teresa Torres: ‘Se solicita que hagáis participes de esta convocatoria a todas las bodegas que reúnen los requisitos para poder participar y que son, sacados textualmente de la información recibida:
“Los vinos a catar por Jay Miller para ser puntuados son seleccionados en base a las reglas de The Wine Advocate, es decir:)
Given what is known of the arrangements, Jiménez’s letter has proved to be a booby trap as it confirms that fees will be paid to Pancho Campo MW and the Wine Academy of Spain.
What will they be doing for these unspecified fees?
After all the region’s wine authorities are organizing the visit.
What is Pancho Campo’s role beyond ensuring that he turns up on the afternoon of Thursday 24th with Jay Miller in tow?
And the purpose of Jay Miller’s visit?
The information received from The Wine Academy and passed on Teresa Torres makes the purpose of Jay Miller’s visit to Murcia abundantly clear. He was there to rate finished wines for The Wine Advocate, which had an importer in the US and had not been previously been scored by The Wine Advocate. I suggest that the crucial words here are 'for rating' and ‘rated’.
It is evident Miller was to be in Murcia (24th – 26th November) in his capacity of Parker’s man in Spain and not as Jiménez alleges for a marketing seminar.