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French vintners await 'The Nose'

July 3, 2003 at 11:45 AM

BORDEAUX, France, July 3 (UPI) -- Anxious winemakers in France are pleading with a man known simply as "The Nose" to return for some sipping and sniffing.

The war in Iraq has made Robert Parker, the world's pre-eminent wine critic reluctant to leave his home in the United States, which could bankrupt some small vineyards in France.

The London Telegraph reports "Le Nez," or the nose, hasn't been to Bordeaux in nearly a year. For small French vineyards, a word of praise from Parker is their only form of marketing. Without him, they are doomed.

In the Bordeaux region alone, there are 12,000 producers.

Without ratings by The Nose, published in his bi-monthly magazine, "The Wine Advocate," buyers will struggle to assess the quality of this year's French wines.

Parker's tasting notes, which rate wines out of 100, offer one of the few ways for oenophiles to get a handle on France's numerous vineyards.