How To Determine Perfection in Wine
I don’t know if Robert Parker has ever claimed a wine was “perfect”, but in my world, while I could imagine rating a wine 100 points, I could never imagine a wine being perfect.
This begs the question, what does it mean to give a wine (or any consumable or art or craft) the highest possible rating?
I think a thing meriting the highest rating possible must mean that it expresses the idea of beauty. I am a Platonist in this respect. I believe the idea of beauty, where wine is concerned, asks us to imagine the essence of the fruit and its home expressed through the lens of its maker. A 100 point wine will be beautiful because in some way its maker was able to produce a unique wine that beautifully expresses the essence of its grapes and its home.
This is a complicated matter because we are talking about defining beauty, assessing beauty’s attributes then identifying them in an object. And of course it is a subjective matter too. It’s further true that various standards of beauty fight it out with one another in the parlor of public opinion. This is a good thing though because it forces us to keep on our aesthetic toes and to think deliberately and philosophically from time to time.
The point, however, is that the advertisement really shouldn’t have been trying to sell “Parker’s Perfects”, but rather “Parker’s Beauties”.