For any long time fan of the blog (hi Mum!) ye will know who I mean when I say the messiah of wine! For those of you who aren’t long time fans I am talking about Robert Parker Jnr- considered the worlds most influential wine critic! The man literally revolutionized wine- by standing alone as a wine critic he took the power out of the hands of the wine companies and put it firmly in the hands of the consumers. But we’ll get to all of that in good time- in fact what I really wanted to talk about was his 100 point score that so drastically altered the wine world!
Its pretty much like a school grading system- except for wine… every wine is giving a base of 50 points- which is half the battle really! Then general colour and appearance can merit up to 5 points, Bouquet and Aroma up to 15 points, flavour and finish up to 20 points and then “overall quality level or potential for further evolution and improvement-aging”- Basically the X-Factor!- can get up to 10 points! Well aren’t we a little Simon Cowell aren’t we???
So obviously the higher the better… pretty sweet deal really- he drinks wine and rates it and gets paid to do this… Is it a good thing though? Well in one way yes! You see I’ve realised that wine is like cricket- people love it, its associated with an upper-class even though it really isn’t that sort of a thing anymore and if I just took the time to learn about it I’m sure I would get into it… But you see I A/ couldn’t be bothered and B/ I wouldn’t even know where to start… Well when Parker introduced his rating system it allowed for a little bit of enlightenment to happen on a much bigger scale than ever before, and education is one thing that spreads like wildflower! But what sort of education were they getting? What wines tasted nice and how much should be charged… and this is great but like anything it became susceptible to manipulation… Winemakers would hold back on their prices until Mr Parker had tried their wines- if he liked them they knew they could charge a bucket load for them. Also because of this wines were being made specifically to suit Robert Parker and therefore there wasn’t a whole load of variety out there…
So what now for wine critics? Well first off , while he’s still probably one of the more influential, he is certainly not the only one with influence so all is not lost! Second of we now have every single bit of information at our fingertips with this whole internet thing! Which means everyone has the means to be educated and wine is now accessible to the world! So instead of being educated to a very limited degree (like Robert Parker did for us) we can now find out about different styles, about different varieties and different regions all at the touch of a button- yes it truly is a wonderful age to live! So this brings me onto one final point… A lot of ye will already have heard of him… some of you may not have but he’s definitely worth checking out… Gary Vaynerchuk! This is the ultimate example of how powerful a tool the internet is if its done right! Now some say he’s a little annoying but to be fair the guy is passionate, he knows his stuff and he does his best to present it in the most humourous and light-hearted way! And trust me I’ve seen a fair few of these wine video bloggers and the vast majority of them will do nothing short of send you straight to sleep! So essentially the info is out there now- if you want it! And the only way for the power to truly be with the consumer is if they know what they want- so if you like wine then take the time to learn about it! Its well worth it!