For our latest 1WineDude.com interview, I’m tasked with the difficult job of introducing someone who requires no introduction (at least, not when it comes to the world of fine wine).
Today’s interview guest, Robert Parker, is arguably the most famous wine critic on the planet; what is beyond argument is that he is the most influential wine critic on the planet – his scores are capable of sending a wine’s market value into the stratosphere. He is the founder of the consumer wine review publication The Wine Advocate, which, not unlike a blog, began as a self-published journal – it now has tens of thousands of subscribers in dozens of countries. Parker is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the wines of Bordeaux, and his ability to taste (and recall past tastings of) wines is the stuff of legend.
Parker’s influence and fame at times makes him a polarizing figure (you knew this part was coming, right?). He established the “love-it-or-loathe-it” 100-point wine scoring review scale. His preference for wines with bold, fruit-forward profiles has, some have argued, divided the wine world into fractions of those who religiously follow Parker’s palate, and those who religiously avoid it. The divisive effects of his influence have been chronicled in both books and in film.
He has been described as a great equalizer of wine, liberating it from an era of poor quality offerings pushed onto the market at unfairly high prices; he has also been vilified as creating a market of “international style” wines crafted by winemakers attempting to solicit high scores from his reviews, at the expense of regional uniqueness and a sense of place in their wines.
Mr. Parker was a gracious interviewee, so much so that he has tied author Kathryn Borel for the quickest response to interview questions that I’ve ever received. He even expressed concern that his responses might be a bit dull for the 1WD readers – “thanks for giving me an opportunity to respond to your questions. I’ll try and keep my answers as succinct as possible so your readers don’t nod off while reading them.”
As the Wayne’s World guys might put it – As if!
Below, you will find a fairly intimate glimpse into Mr. Parker’s views on wine blogging, Bordeaux en primeur prices, my friends Gary Vaynerchuk and Tyler Colman, the booming Asian wine consumer market, the Big Lebowski (yes, seriously), and his own influence and professional legacy. It is very likely a side of Robert Parker that few in the on-line wine world have yet seen.
I’m grateful to Mr. Parker for taking the time and opportunity for what might be his first-ever wine blog interview. I’m equally grateful to Jeff Lefevere of GoodGrape.com, who acted as contributing editor on the interview questions.
Ok – appetizers are over; let’s get to the meat-and-potatoes!…
Read the rest of this stuff »
A strange thing happened to me recently. Actually, it happened to 1WineDude.com, not to me. And yes, I mean stranger than the normal level if strange on this blog.
I agreed to contribute content to a platform that I can’t really access and probably won’t use.
Specifically, I’ve let Hello Vino, the popular wine recommendation mobile phone application, have access to my wine reviews.
I’m part of a larger group whose reviews / recommendations are now appearing in Hello Vino.
It all feels a bit odd, since currently I don’t own a phone capable of running the app., and in general I don’t use quick wine recommendations (printed or otherwise) when shopping for wine at the store (I usually talk to the store employees about the available wines instead).
However, I was (quickly) convinced by the (compelling) arguments of others that having access to some of my reviews and recommendations would be valuable for the (many, many, many) folks who don’t think and act the way that I do (i.e., a nice way of saying that they are sane and normal and I’m, well, not quite normal)…
Read the rest of this stuff »
The International Malbec Days Festival (May 20th-23rd, 2010 in Cahors, France) is now behind us. Let’s take the Good, Bad and (in some cases, the very) Ugly of the festival, in reverse order:
The Ugly: Event Coordination and “Wines that Smell of Donkey Poop”
Organizing and executing a wine industry event the size of the International Malbec Days Festival, one that lasts several days and brings together well over 150 people from a dozen or so countries, is undoubtedly a Herculean undertaking, and one in which the organizers almost failed miserably. The 2010 version, at turns, bordered on chaos.
This wasn’t great for the wines, either, as Tannic and high-alcohol Malbecs were served in a meeting space that was easily over 80F, depriving even the best from showing themselves gracefully. The execution against our schedule was poor enough that it became a distraction, as essential personnel (e.g., those organizing the various groups of participants from hotels to the various events) by and large were given little (and in some cases, no) information needed to do their jobs. At one point, our bus driver got lost in the 2km distance between the airport and our hotel for the final evening – and he was using a GPS system.
Score one for French logistics – that is, if the purpose is to distract you from being able to adequately work and instead is trying to break your will. I felt bad for our handlers, who were trying to do an impossible job with almost no help from their superiors (I encouraged them to totally dookie sock their bosses, but they didn’t seem too keen on the idea) .
Speaking of dookie: as for the Ugly when it comes to the wines, a not-insubstantial portion of the Cahors Malbecs on display at the event were quite bretty – and not in a “smells kind of like bacon” charming way; they were bretty in a “did I just step in some donkey poop?” way. Which leads us to…
Read the rest of this stuff »