A new – unauthorised – biography of Robert Parker is due to hit the shelves in America within the next few weeks, and Parker himself hopes it will finally allow him some peace.
The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M Parker Jr and the Reign of American Taste, is written by wine journalist Elin McCoy.
Parker has made one of his periodic appearances on the bulletin board of his website eRobertParker.com to unofficially endorse the book, which promises to be a ‘warts and all’ portrait of the Maryland master.
‘I read it several weeks ago,’ he writes. ‘I would rather let others post on its merits or lack thereof.’
He continues, ‘the good news is that this book should finally exhaust all future attempts to write about me and all of my alleged power, and I look forward to that happening, and hopefully getting as far under the radar as possible.’
Parker is unfazed by the fact that – as he sees it – a good deal of the book is not strictly true.
‘Several stories in the book are completely false, and I told Elin so, but she printed them anyhow.’
One of the stories, which Parker happily admits to and which has caused hilarity on eRobertParker’s bulletin board, concerns a ‘Japanese hussy’ whose ‘serious assets’ spilled out when she jumped into his lap at a tasting. Her career suffered no harm from the incident.
And one of the most extraordinary episodes – concerning Burgundy producer Hubert de Montille – has occasioned a good deal of rancour on eRobertParker.com.
The eminent Burgundian, dining in the Regalade restaurant in Beaune, told Parker’s collaborator Pierre-Antoine Rovani he ‘felt fine, especially after 9/11’ – and afterwards apologised fulsomely in a three-page letter. De Montille’s daughter Alix confirmed it happened, telling decanter.com her father was in ebullient mood after attending two weddings that day.
Despite the incident’s happening in 2003, Parker’s web correspondents are unwilling to forget. Several threaten to destroy their stocks of de Montille wines. One says ‘I never much liked the few wines of de Montille’s I’ve had, and I can’t imagine they would taste much better to me now.’
The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M Parker Jr and the Reign of American Taste is published in the US by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, on 28 June
Written by Adam Lechmere