Six Questions with... Robert Parker, the world's most influential wine critic
How do you introduce the most influential wine critic of all time? Well, I suppose like that really. But for those of you who don't know, Robert M Parker is the most influential wine critic of all time. Period! Since the mid 1970s, his opinions on wine in general, and Bordeaux specifically, have not only aided people from all over the world in choosing what wine to buy, but have influenced the pricing and styles of wine made by producers who know that a good score from Parker will do wonders for their bottom line. He tries over 5000 wines every year, down from a peak of over double that. I emailed him through his website, thinking that I would get an email saying that he was too busy - this being Bordeaux En Primeur season and all.
Not only did I get a reply, I got extensive answers and a very pleasant end to the email, where he thanked me for giving him a few days to answer my questions!
Ever wondered what music Robert Parker likes, well we now know as I asked him six questions...
What is your most prized possession?
Assuming you are talking about some tangible/material item and aside from some bottles of wine from my birth year and wedding year, I would say it is the Medal of the Legion of Honor that was personally pinned on my lapel by France’s President Jacques Chirac in 1999.
What is your favorite book and why?
Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead, which I have read twice over the years, remains my favorite book. I believe she saw the dangers of collectivism, group lynch mob mentality, and the blind following of charismatic and often dangerous people.
Describe yourself in three words.
Optimistic, fun, transparent
What sort of music do you like listening to?
With the exception of rap, I listen to lots of different styles of music, but I tend to have a preference for songs with a message. Obviously the great Bob Dylan music from the sixties still resonates with me today, but I love the sound coming out of West Texas from songwriters and musicians such as Danny Schmidt, Gurf Morlix, and the relatively well-known songstress Lucinda Williams.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am actually a fairly skilled chef and I know almost as much about many of the world’s cuisines as I do about the world’s wines.
Three people real or fictional, living or dead, that would be guests at a dream dinner party and what would you be drinking?
1) Winston Churchill; 2) Jeremy Brett (the British actor famous for his role as Sherlock Holmes); 3) John F. Kennedy. As far as wines, I would probably use a great vintage of Dom Pérignon Champagne to cut any tension among the group, followed by several of California’s finest Chardonnays, such as Marcassin or Aubert, and then a combination of a series of mature 20-25-year old red Bordeaux followed by some 5-10-year old Grenache-based wines from Châteauneuf du Pape or from such California wineries as Saxum, Alban or Sine Qua Non.
As far as after dinner, I generally do not like or drink much Cognac, but I would offer the finest Cognac I have ever drunk, the Lot 29 Tesseron Cognac, which is supposed to be an unblended, unmanipulated, undiluted, pure Cognac from stocks of the Tesseron family all from 1929.