Larger than life: Profiling Parker

In terms of scoring, what’s the difference between a very high score and a perfect 100-point score?

Robert Parker

To me the difference is the emotions of the moment – the wine must evoke emotion – just like art or music or beauty, there should be an emotional response, and great wines should be emotional. And when the wine in your mind is the best example you have ever tasted of this particular wine, you have an obligation to give it a perfect score. Now, with more experience I felt more confident [giving perfect scores] more frequently, because once you’ve tasted across the field of play multiple times, year after year, you have a sort of encyclopaedic memory of what great wines are and how good this wine is. I realise that when you give 100 points, whether you are a movie or theatre or restaurant critic, the expectations of the readers are almost impossible to fulfil – you are almost setting them up for disappointment; I understand that. But, at the same time, I balance that out with the sense that if I really think this is best I’ve ever tasted of Pichon-Lalande for example, or Chevalier-Montrachet from somebody, then I’ve got to put that stake in the ground and be held accountable. I also think it creates it excitement, and I think that the person who can’t give 100 is really dodging responsibility, because there’s no way they haven’t tasted a wine that is the best example they have tasted from this producer, the best example they could ever think of. I think it’s irresponsible not to give a perfect score if you think the wine is perfect.

Are you ever disappointed by your own perfect scoring wines?

You mean how often do I go back and re-taste a wine that I gave 100 points and repeat the score? Probably about 50% of the time, but most of the time – and there have been a few exceptions – I can understand why I did see it as perfect at that time.

One Response to “Larger than life: Profiling Parker”

  1. Cyrene says:

    A Hard-working man, modest, with a solid sense of humor, who love wines and food, with a true dignity and a sense of honesty that most journalists could only dream of. He did a lot for the world, getting dozens of millions to understand and aprreciate wine. Thank you Sir Robert, for what you have done and for always being true to your word. The wine world owes you a colossal statue to show its gratitude.

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