- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
Anyone who's been swayed by the point system when buying wine—selecting a "93" over an "86," for example—can blame Robert Parker, founder of the newsletter the Wine Advocate and now considered by many to be the most influential wine critic ever. McCoy, a wine writer for Bloomberg and Food & Wine, points out that Parker can ruin a winery simply by stamping a sub-80 label on its product. In this amalgamation of biography and American wine mini-history, McCoy delves into how Parker became such a towering figure. Parker discovered fine wine on a European trip during college; his growing obsession with the grape prompted him to start the publication that would later change the way wine was rated, bought and consumed. Between snippets of Parker's life, McCoy tries to set the scene for his rise by explaining how wine consumption boomed in the U.S. in the 1970s. The background is useful, but it and other distracting forays into social history sometimes make the work feel disjointed. Another failing is McCoy's sometimes hagiographic depiction of Parker. But these quibbles knock this otherwise engrossing book down by only a few points on the taste scale.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wine critic Robert Parker, explains McCoy in this engaging new biography, is "the most powerful critic in any field, period." Parker's initial role was as a skeptic and consumer advocate, a kind of Ralph Nader of the wine world; one aspect of his straight-shooting approach was his now-celebrated 100-point scale for rating wine. But after more than a quarter-century of publication, Parker's newsletter has inevitably and ironically become the voice of the establishment, and Parker himself has come under attack for dogmatically imposing his tastes upon the wine-drinking public. More broadly, as McCoy shows, the influence of American consumers and critics on the world wine industry (traditionally dominated by the French) has grown by leaps and bounds. It is in tackling these broader themes that McCoy really shines: Parker as a man is mostly remarkable for his ordinariness, and McCoy occasionally overreaches in trying to dramatize the quotidian. She tells the larger story with panache and fairness, though, and has written a book that every oenophile should read. Jared Wunsch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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
Parker seems like a good guy who yanks wine into the modern age of pop culture and instant millionaires while retaining his own ideals. Read morePublished on August 20, 2006 by Jedrury