Robert M. Parker, Jr. – arguably the world’s most famous, but unarguably its most influential, wine critic – is hangin’ up the spurs.
Last week, The Wine Advocate announced that Parker, who had steadily been down-shifting his wine review duties over the better course of a decade, is retiring from the publication.
What’s poised to change in the wine world? Probably next to nothing; the days when the words of a lone critic such as Parker directed huge swings of the wine-buying needle for industry buyers and consumers alike are increasingly far behind us, a type of influence that has been on the wane for, well, the better course of the same decade in which Parker down-shifted his wine-reviewing beat.
Namely, that the days of wine brands coasting their lazy asses on the basis of past performance, and consumers being forced to suck up junk-ass wines as a result, are largely a thing of the past, and that is in no small part due to the work ethic of one Robert M. Parker, Jr. In other words, like him or hate him, love points or gag at the sight of them, Parker’s influence in the wine world writ large is and will always be net positive…
Being DOCGs, these are to be just as regulated as the strictly mandated Moscato d’Asti DOCG, which is good news for Moscato lovers looking for something different (and, presumably, for the Italians looking for work enforcing the regulations!). Like Moscato d’Asti, the new DOCGs are made from 100 percent Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the region, but don’t require Moscato dAsti’s vintage declaration. Confusingly (for me, anyway), neither mentions the grape in its DOCG name. Anyway, here’s the run-down of the new categories, both of which offer a broader stylistic range of Asti Moscato…
I love me some Tom Wark, but I am in a state of some disagreement with the Wark Communications conclusions from the survey; specifically, this tidbit:
If wine continues to grow in popularity, if the now fully adult Millennial generation is as committed to the beverage as they seem, and barring any economic catastrophes, I’m confident that the wine writing project will continue full speed ahead. More new voices are coming. More new publishing exercises meant to meet the needs of new generations will arrive. Even new ways of understanding and communicating about wine are likely to appear.
While it’s of course true that more new voices are coming, the Millennials are devoted to the beverage, and that new ways of understanding and communicating about wine will appear, I have severe doubts as to the viability of the “wine writing project” in the future. Why? Well, that same survey serves up some very compelling reasons in some of the take-away commentary on the aggregated survey responses…
Recently, an examination of a rather large data set of studies (we’re talking nearly 200 countries, and over 690 pieces of work involving millions of people) was published in Lancet, and most of my alcohol-loving friends just about lost their sh*t.
The reason for the theoretical emergency bowel-vacating stemmed from media coverage of one of the Lancet study’s late conclusions, and the one harpooned by the media and shared pretty much everywhere (emphasis mine):
“Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide, accounting for nearly 10% of global deaths among populations aged 15–49 years, and poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today. The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to show how much alcohol use contributes to global death and disability. Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”
That pithy little emphasized sentence above is the scientific equivalent of constructing a late-game, come-from-behind, potentially-game-winning NFL drive that started on your team’s own ten-yard line, culminating in a 3rd-and-long breakout run during which your guys fumble the f*cking ball at the goal-line and emerge with a heartbreaking loss. This is because there is a wealth of health-related insight that could come out of the Lancet study, and they chose to focus on the one aspect that the data don’t actually support directly; that conclusion is controversial at best, and is only loosely inferred from the analysis, based on the facts and results cited in the very study itself.
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