Though certainly at what many would consider well-deserved retirement age (he turns 65 this year), Robert Parker – still the single most influential critic of any kind in the world – is not retiring any time soon.
If you’ve read the interview with Parker by sommelier David D. Denton in the April 15, 2012 issue of Sommelier Journal, you already know that Parker has called the rumor of his retirement “totally not true.”
You’d also know that he has critical words for overzealous followers of fresh produce in the restaurant world (“I don’t need the entire history of the vegetable from the time it was planted to the time it was harvested”), fervently believes that former Wine Advocate contributor Jay Miller and MW Pancho Campo are innocent of any pay-to-play wrong-doing (“this guy Jim Budd seems to have something against him, and I don’t know what goes on there” – he’s apparently lawyered-up and hired an investigative service called Kroll to find out), and that he considers himself the first wine blogger (an interesting comparison that I think was first explored here on the virtual pages of 1WineDude.com during my interview with Parker).
And if you’d read that SJ interview, then you’d also know that Parker reserves his most vitriolic words for author Alice Feiring and her position at the forefront of the crusade to bring natural wines into the public consciousness (links and emphasis mine):
“We don’t promote this, but Beaux Frères [ the Oregon wine producer of which Parker is a co-owner ] is biodynamically farmed, the wines aren’t fined or filtered, and I’d say that for most of the vintages we’ve done to date, we didn’t need to put SO2 on the label because the levels were so low. So when we talk about all these catchphrases like ‘natural wine,’ I can tell you that people like Alice Feiring are charlatans – I think they are no better than the snake-oil salesman of yesterday. They are selling a gimmick. Most wines are natural.”
Think the critic doth protest too much? If you asked me that question, the answer would be “probably, but I’m more concerned with how the rest of us are going to look now”…
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Looks like I’m far from the only one with a penchant for interviewing rock stars about their vinous habits: the Winter 2011 issue of Guitar Aficionado has been dubbed “The Wine Issue” with interviews with wine-making and wine-collecting rockers – and it prominently features a (pretty cool) guitar-shaped decanter on the cover (see inset pic).
According to the GA website:
“In Guitar Aficionado’s Winter 2011 issue, we bring you the rockers, vintners, and oenophiles that celebrate the grape. Rush’s esteemed guitar and bass duo, Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee, discuss their decades-long love affair with the world’s finest wines; the Police’s Andy Summers talks wine and guitars; celebrated vintner and guitarist Paul Gargiulo says there’s a little music in every bottle that leaves his idyllic estate; and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Daytona drive’s Scott Pruett tell tales of their winemaking ventures.
The issue also features articles on the wine tourism opportunities in Chile, as well as wine-and-music pairings by celebrity restaurateur / vintner Joe Bastianich (whose line-up of wines are generally pretty darn good, by the way).
Might just have to go get myself a copy of that, even if it does celebrate an instrument with at least one too many strings on it…
By the way, if you’re looking for rock star wine-related interviews, we got some right here:
I think traditional American wine-writing may have totally jumped the shark.
Yeah, I am actually going there. And yeah, it will probably take around 1100 words.
You see, last week marked my (extremely) long-overdue second contribution to Nomad Editions’ iPad wine magazine, Uncorked. The long-overdue part is entirely my fault – things have been busy, as in senator-on-the-campaign-trail-trying-to-hide-his-mistresses-from-the-press level busy, enough so to keep me from contributing weekly.
The Uncorked story is titled “My Andean Adventure: One wine dude’s search for the soul of South American wine” and it’s core topic is more-or-less my bout with the Chilean version of Montezuma’s Revenge (you know the title isn’t mine, because I would have called it “Joe’s Colon Vs. The Diabolically Banal South American Budget Wines” or something similarly tasteless), and includes photos of mine as well, taken on a camera that costs less than $200, and so marks one of the few times that I’ve also been a contributing photographer (cue eye-rolling from any serious photographer reading this). You’ll have to subscribe to read the article, but at less than $1 per month for a weekly wine mag that includes regular contributors like Tom Johnson (of Louisville Juice) and sommelier / award-winning author Courtney Cochran, you’d have to be a pretty hard-ass cheapskate wine lover to pass it up.
The thing that got me musing about wine writing jumping the shark was that my first draft of the Andean wine travels article was rejected summarily by Uncorked’s editor, (writer and winemaker) Stephen Yafa. Stephen’s words from the Editor’s Note of last week’s issue:
“When Joe Roberts sent in his article on wine-touring in Chile and Argentina, the piece was wrong for all the right reasons. It was objective, balanced and unemotional. It wasn’t Uncorked, or Joe.”
Stephen is an excellent editor, and like all good editors he has knack for being right…
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