Tempest in a Wine Glass

Tempest in a Wine Glass


Who says that the world of wine is sedate? Two new books have caused a tempest in a wine glass this week. Both have just been published in French, and without English translations yet as far as I can tell from Amazon.com.

Jonathan Nossiter, who directed the excellent documentary Mondovino about the globalization of the wine industry, has written Le Gout et le Pouvoir (Taste and Power). According to early reviews, it touches on similar themes as those in the movie, and in particular, criticizes scoring wines with points, a system that U.S. critic Robert Parker popularized.

In response, Parker has said that, "Anyone with half a brain can see through Nossiter's transparency easier than a JJ Prum riesling. It is Nossiter and his ilk (call them scary wine gestapo) chanting ...

... the same stupid hymn that demand wines be produced in one narrow style.

Meanwhile, Hanna Agostini, who used to translate Parker's work into French and arrange tastings for him, has published her own book entitled Robert Parker: The Anatomy of a Myth. In it, she accuses Parker of making errors in his work, of not updating his facts from one year to the next and of cronyism with those in the industry.

I'm sure there'll be many postings across the web about these two books and the issues that they raise. What's your view on Parker or on rating wines in general? Do you plan to read either book? Did you agree with the points Nossiter made in Mondovino?


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