Monthly Archives: July 2012
Born in Baltimore on July 23, 1947, Robert Parker was on a track to have a brilliant career as a lawyer, having completed his doctorate in law in 1973.
He practiced as a lawyer at a law firm in Baltimore and left in 1984 to pursue his passion: wine.
It was at the age of 21 that he discovered his passion for wine. Robert Parker was on vacation in Strasbourg, France. One day to satisfy his thirst, the young man ordered a glass of wine, finding soda too expensive. He loved it and there began his passion. Each summer he came back to France to visit wineries and to learn about oenology. Upon each return from France he published his wine tasting notes. Parker had his own newsletter that was named “The Wine Avocate”
His taste in wine
The American journalist and wine taster particularly likes wines made from ripe and healthy grapes grown in low yields, grown simply and vinified simply. He places an importance on respecting the character of the grape variety, the vineyard and the vintage. He likes, above all, wines from the Bordeaux region, those from the Languedoc, Provence and the Rhone Valley. He is also interested in other wines produced in Spain and Italy.
His role as a critic
Parker brought many innovations to the universe of wine tasting and critiquing. Amongst the most important, we can notably distinguish his fight to give the taster his independence from the press, distributors and wine producers. He also asked that blind wine tasting be systematic. Finally, it is to him that we owe wine tasting notes on a scale of 100. The ranking is given to each product no matter its nature and provenance.
His own ranking system
Robert Parker’s ranking system goes from 50 to 100 points and is named « Parker Points ». The 50 points are divided between these four criteria: mouth, the bouquet, the robe and the potential to evolve. If a wine has between 96 and 100 points it is considered “extraordinary”. If between 90 and 95 points, it is excellent. And up to the range of 50 to 59 points the wine is considered unacceptable.