In modern times a new dynamic is speeding up the consumption of Fine Wines, pushing them to become even rarer, Robert Parker Jr. He is acknowledged to be the most influential wine critic in the world. He publishes his reviews in his magazine, The Wine Advocate, which has been publishing since 1978. There are 40,000 subscribers in each American state and is distributed across 38 Countries. This publication is referred to as the 'Wine Bible' due to its almost religious following.
The Robert Parker 100-point wine-scoring scale:
96–100 – Extraordinary.
90–95 – Outstanding.
80–89 – Barely above average to very good.
70–79 – Average.
60–69 – Below average.
50–59 – Unacceptable.
His simple scoring system is easy to follow. He scores wines between 50 - 100 points. This score represents the quality of a wine which then directly influences demand, as Fine Wine consumers and investors compete to own the very best wines. There is no denying that his influence pushes up the prices from the word's very best wines.
A very small group of wine critics receive world-wide attention. These include Robert Parker Jr, James Suckling, Neal Martin and Jancis Robinson. They reach a huge audience through their magazines and newspaper columns. The influence of these critics is enormous.
ROBERT PARKER'S HONOURS
Robert Parker Jr is the only wine critic in history to be given the highest Presidential Honours by Two French presidents. In 1999 President Jacques Chriac of France signed a decree authorising Robert Parker Jr to be a "Chevalier dans l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur". He was decorated directly by President Jacques Chirac, stating that "Robert Parker Jr is the most followed and influential critic of French wines in the world, something I (President Chirac) witnessed recently when choosing wine for (then) President Bill Clinton, who automatically referred to Robert Parker as his reference for making a proper wine buying decision."
In 2002 Parker was made a Commander in Italy's National Order of Merit, The countries highest honour. Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi thanked Robert Parker Jr for his efforts in recognising the quantity of Italian wine in his publication The Wine Advocate.
In 2005 President Chriac Promoted Robert Parker Jr to an "Officer" in France's Legion of Honour, an extremely rare distinction, recognising the extraordinary contributions he has made to the education of wine consumers around the world.
Robert Parker Jr isn't the only wine critic to rub shoulders with the world's elite. In addition to her column in the Financial Times, Jancis Robinson is also the personal wine adviser to Queen Elizabeth II.