Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Emperor of Wine

This is a must-read book if you have any interest in the current state of wine, both in the US and around the world. Elin McCoy's The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005) is a fascinating look at the man who transformed wine reviewing, scoring, and had a huge impact on how winemakers the world over approached oenology once he became well-known. Woven through the story of his rise to the top of the wine world are fascinating bits of history, tracing winemaking method from traditional methods to current technology. Globalization and a desire to please Parker made some vintners turn their back on terroir, but a counter-revolution since the early 2000's has made the taste and variety of wine ever-expanding. Wine is made in all 50 states, though you wouldn't know it from either Robert Parker or the Wine Spectator, another power in the wine world.

What's the most unusual wine you've tried? Any from a state or region you wouldn't expect to have wine?


  1. I'm going to have to put this on my kindle..sounds really interesting.

    I love wines from all over the world. Malbec from Argentina is a current favorite. I do want to get down into Virginia's "wine country"--I'm hearing good things about it from several wine-loving friends.

  2. I love love love wine, but I don't know that I've really had any unusual ones other than a homemade plum wine when I was really too young to drink. I was on a perfect Christmas tree finding trip in the woods with a friend's family and they had big (and multiple) jugs of this stuff with whole plums at the bottom of each jug. It must have been good...I've been enjoying wine ever since.

  3. Is there anything about South African wines? There are some really good wines from here. I don't think I've drank wine from the US yet.

  4. Amanda, I've heard good things about VA as well. Parker lives in Monkton, MD, so pretty close to you!

    Julie, I've never had plum wine, but have had slivovitz, plum liqour, and liked that!

    Johann, I think there might be a mention or 2 of South African wines, but Parker was very focused on France and Northern California. Really unfair to all the other winemaking regions, but there you have it.

  5. The most unusual has to be a Baco Noir from NY State. Needless to say, I won't drink it again.


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