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The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 28, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But that's exactly what's happened to the world of wine over the past 25 years during the ascendancy of Robert Parker. The Emperor of Wine is an attempt to chronicle Parker's rise to become just such an uber-authority on wine quality, a topic arguably no less subjective than what makes great art. And art criticism might be even easier-after all, you don't have to contemplate how it goes with food as part of your analysis!
While there are already a bunch of worthwhile reviews of this book posted here, I feel compelled to add my two "scents", if for no other reason than there was a perfect storm of Parker activity swirling around me on the day I received my copy of The Emperor of Wine. The NY Times accounted for two of the mentions.Read more ›
Both exceptional books written by sympathetic journalists with inside knowledge. A unique perspective on the private lives of two men with very public working lives.
The Emperor of Wine, by Elin McCoy (herself a respected wine writer), describes Parker's steady ascendancy to the pulpit of supreme enological arbiter thanks to his gifted palate and demonic resolve. But those two qualities alone wouldn't have made him Emperor; it took Parker's easy-to-understand 100-point ratings and America's "discovery" that wine wasn't just for effete snobs.
McCoy's conclusion comes down hard on Parker: the tyranny of a single palate, a scoring system that's "a joke in scientific terms" and a misleading indicator of quality or pleasure. Parker, says McCoy, turns wine into a contest rather than an experience. Worse, he brooks no challenge to his authority, to his moral and gustatory infallability.
I'm no particular fan of Parker's, either. Time and again, growers in France have admitted or complained to me that Parker's popularity is forcing them to make a certain style of wine.Read more ›
As a wine enthusiast then for several years, I read and took the earlier newsletters, and I checked this new voice with interest. I saw another helpful perspective, characterizing wines in words (as the others did). Like others, the new critic also had a shorthand rating gimmick. His was a "100-point" scale (actually 50, the top half is used) while the others had long employed coarser categories, about like the US meat grades Prime-Choice-Good-Utility-Pet. Parker also favored sweeping statements: best vintage ever, best example of this type. Extreme numericality and categorical judgments had sometimes, in the past, betokened inexperience in critics. Of more concern to me, having known some long-time wine collectors, were Parker's decisive predictions of decades-long aging profiles, a question mark when coming from someone who hadn't yet touched wine over the interval he was now extrapolating. Anyone can talk the talk, but only older wine tasters had lived through 20-plus-year agings. Simultaneously (middle 1980s) I saw at least anecdotal questions about Parker, especially about consistency of his palate when tested outside his control. That could be important, because demonstrably discerning what you claim to discern is the reality test of the professional taster.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wasn't familiar with Robert Parker before reading this book, so I was looking for just enough detail without getting overwhelmed. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Ron Molenda
An easy and mildly entertaining read. This is a book worth reading, but with the occasional typo (I know it happens), some strange choice of words at times, and constant references... Read morePublished on February 17, 2011 by K. Manning
I am no fan of Robert Parker, but am better off as a wine enthusiast for having read Elin McCoy's biography. Read morePublished on September 2, 2008 by Thad Westhusing
Wine is enjoying a modern rebirth in the psyche of popular society. Yet for all the diversity, much of what we are drinking has been crafted to appeal to a "mass market modern... Read morePublished on January 24, 2008 by Flippy
I loved this book. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. If you are into wine and subscribe to Parker's website or newsletter this is a must read. Read morePublished on August 21, 2007 by J. Osgood
Good overview describing how robert parker became robert parker. No big nuggets, but well written and good insights and background since parker clearly cooperated with the writer,... Read morePublished on January 5, 2007 by normal guy
Parker has almost made me a beleiver. But why does it take 100 points to tell him if it tastes good or not. I can do it in 20.Published on October 31, 2006 by D. L. George
Elin McCoy's 'Emperor of Wine' is an absorbing account of the rise of wine critic Robert Parker and his influence on the international wine industry. Read morePublished on September 17, 2006 by Anonymous Reader
I subscribe to several wine publications and enjoy drinking, and recently, collecting wine.
The more I researched wine, the more Mr. Parker's name came up. Read more