The Story Behind Robert Parker

The London Review of Books has published a very thoughtful article by Steven Shapin on the controversy that seems to forever follow Robert Parker…that of the influence of his palate on world wide winemaking trends.

Ostensibly Shapin is reviewing Parker’s guides in the context of the swipes and accusations made at him in the movie, Mondovino. The notion is that the influence of Robert Parker’s reviews have led to the devaluation of unique, terroir-driven wines throughout the world and the emergence of a monolithic "new world style" that emphasizes big fruit, soft tannin and varietal supremacy over individuality.

I think I’ve admitted before that this controversy interests, inspires and fascinates me on a number of levels. There is so much going on here that spill over into so many areas of the wine industry. There are the issue of exploding quality in the New World wine regions, lower consumption in France, whether the impact of Parker’s palate affects the vintners and trade or if it’s a consumer-driven impact, the questions of whether or not wineries should make wine for Parker’s palate, and many more issues.

I for one think that Robert Parker’s influence has been a good one.

This article is well worth spending time with. It encapsulates the issues surrounding the influence of Robert Parker quite well.

Posted In: Wine Media


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