Wine writer Robert M. Parker Jr, founder of The Wine Advocate and creator of the 100-point scale for scoring wines, joins a host of prestigious names in the Decanter Hall of Fame.
‘His writing increased regional sales, boosted prices and raised expectations; that in turn encouraged quality increments,’ writes Andrew Jefford in his interview with Parker, in the upcoming August 2020 issue of Decanter magazine, on sale 1 July.
‘He made the tasting, drinking and collection of wine a sexy, aspirational and culturally rewarding activity for many around the world,’ writes Jefford.
After a wine-free upbringing, Parker said he never gave it much thought until a trip to Paris in 1967, where ‘a bottle of Coke was more expensive than a carafe of French wine’.
To find ‘a beverage low in alcohol, with an alluring perfume and vivid red and black fruits was a revelation… I was hooked,’ he told Jefford.
Parker founded the then-named Baltimore Maryland Wine Advocate in 1978, saying he took inspiration from British wine writers, including the late Michael Broadbent MW and Hugh Johnson, but with a clear mission: ‘to unearth and enumerate great value, and to call out mediocrity, no matter how lofty a wine’s origins might be,’ said Jefford.
Parker also started scoring wines out of 100 points, rejecting the more common 20-point scale of the era. The 100-point scale is widely used across the wine industry today, including by Decanter.
After stepping back from tastings over a few years, Parker formally retired from The Wine Advocate last summer. The publication is now owned by the Michelin Group.
Jefford writes, ‘This year’s Hall of Fame laureate also elucidated the wine world for millions, inspiring them to nurture and pursue a passion for wine; and empowered wine producers around the world to try harder and create ever finer wines when nature gave them the chance to do that.
‘No one individual before or since has changed the world of wine as dramatically, or as beneficially, as Robert M. Parker Jr.’
- Read Andrew Jefford’s full, extended interview on Decanter.com with Robert Parker here
- Decanter Premium subscribers have exclusive access Robert Parker’s own reflections on a selection of his 100-point wines