Hailing the Cabs
Red Wine From Korean-Owned Napa Winery Gets Perfect Parker Score
By Kim Tong-hyung
Dong-A One, a Korean maker of animal feedstuff, is beaming after a cabernet sauvignon released from its California-based winery earned a perfect score of 100 points from U.S. wine critic Robert Parker.
Dana Estates' 2007 Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon became one of the few bottles this year to attain the highest mark, after Parker and fellow writers of his Wine Advocate newsletter released their latest reviews on eRobertParker.com last week.
The 61-year-old Parker is obviously the world's most famous wine writer and considered by many as the most influential critic of any kind, with his reviews holding a commanding presence over consumers and factoring how major wine producers around the world determine the prices of their premium bottles.
Parker, who popularized the 100-point scoring system since starting his newsletter in 1978, rarely gives out points in the triple digits, as only about 10 bottles a year manage to receive 100 points from the wine guru.
According to Parker's Web page, a score of 96 to 100 represents ``an extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety,'' which are ``worth a special effort to find, purchase and consume.''
Dong-A One is a unit of the Woosan Group, which also operates the Korea-Dongah Flour Mills and Nara Food, one of the country's largest wine importers.
Dong-A One established Dana Estates in Napa Valley, California, in 2005, after purchasing a winery and vineyards owned by Livingston, a U.S. wine producer. Dana Estates has been gaining a reputation for quality in recent years under the guidance of Philippe Melka and other established wine makers, Dong-A One officials said.
Dana, which is to be pronounced ``dah-nah,'' is the pen name of Woonsan Group Chairman Lee Hi-sang and means ``spirit of generosity.''
``Getting 100 points from Robert Parker is a tribute to Dana Estates' world-leading wine making skills, certainly an accomplishment as the winery only produced its first wines in 2006,'' said an official from Dong-A One.
``The Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is comparable to other famous fine wines of the world, as among the 2007s, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Mouton Rothschild both got 94 points from Parker, while Chateau Lafite Rothschild got a 93.''
The 2007 Lotus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon isn't available in Korea, and is only sold in the U.S. Among the Dana Estates wines, Onda d' Oro and VASO are imported through Nara Food.
Parker's Wine Advocate newsletter currently has more than 50,000 subscribers in 37 countries, with U.S. subscribers paying $75 a year.