The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste

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9780060093693: The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste

This is the story of how an American lawyer raised on Coca-Cola caused a revolution in the way wines around the globe are made, sold, and talked about.

The world's most influential wine critic, Robert M. Parker, Jr., has dominated the international wine community for the last quarter century, embodying the triumph of American taste. Using Parker's story as a springboard, author Elin McCoy offers an authoritative and unparalleled insider's view of the eccentric personalities, bitter feuds, controversies, and secrets of the wine world. She explains how reputations are made and how and why critics agree and disagree, and she tracks the startling ways wines are judged, promoted, made, and sold -- while painting a fascinating portrait of a modern-day cultural colossus who revolutionized the way the world thinks about wine.

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About the Author:

Award-winning journalist and international wine judge Elin McCoy has chronicled the world of wine for thirty years. She is the wine and spirits columnist for Bloomberg Markets, and a longtime contributing editor at Food & Wine. Her writings have also appeared in the New York Times, House & Garden, and many other publications.

From Publishers Weekly:

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.
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