Our guest this evening is an award-winning journalist and wine columnist for both Bloomberg News and Decanter magazine. Her most recent book, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, garnered international praise.
She has also written for Food & Wine magazine, House Beautiful, The New York Times and House & Garden. She serves regularly as a wine judge in international competitions, appears on radio and television, and is a frequent speaker at wine festivals and industry events.
And she joins me live now from her home in Connecticut: Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Elin McCoy!
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Elin McCoy is an award-winning journalist and author, focusing on the world of wine. She is a wine and spirits columnist for Bloomberg News, where she writes for their global news wire, and is a columnist for Decanter magazine. McCoy’s most recent book is The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, which garnered international praise and has appeared in five foreign editions. She is also the co-author of Thinking About Wine.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, McCoy attended graduate school at the University of London and New York University. She was a contributing editor on wine at Food & Wine for 25 years and has been a columnist for House Beautiful, Las Vegas Life, Shattered, and Drink. In addition, she has written on a wide variety of subjects for many national publications, including The New York Times and House & Garden. McCoy serves regularly as a wine judge in American and international competitions, appears on radio and television, and is a frequent speaker at wine festivals, symposia and industry events.
Elin McCoy is at work on a new book set in California. When not traveling, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, writer/artist John Frederick Walker.
Robert Parker is considered one of the most powerful wine critics on the planet. What drew you to his story in the first place? Where were you? Why were you intrigued?
What was the most surprising insight you discovered while writing this book?
Do you think that some winemakers changed the way they made wine to suit their taste? Does that still happen?
What unusual or extraordinary things have winemakers done to get Parker’s attention, aside from changing the way they make wine?
Parker has sold his brand to an investment company, though still remains involved in the business. How has his role in reviewing diminished? Fewer wines/regions each year?
What’s the most interesting thing that someone has said about your book?
How did Robert Parker respond to your book? What did he disagree with?
What were the consequences or changes in the wine industry, or for the people involved, as a result of your book?
Apart from Parker, who are the leading (old school) wine critics today?
Does a 100-point score mislead consumers more than it helps them?
What is meant by the tyranny of the tasting note?
With the rise of internet wine bloggers and social media, is the old system of wine criticism (the ivory tower critic) with 100 point scores, over?
What proof do you see that they are less influential than they were?
In some regions, especially the expensive ones like Bordeaux, will they endure?
With thousands of blogs and social shares, is this more democratic or more confusing?
Is anyone really listening to them with so many clamouring for attention?
What’s the impact of having no fact checkers and copy editors?
What happens to balance in a story when it’s not mandated by publication guidelines?
What about the lack of independence, especially for paid influencers?
Should you criticize wines that are boring, overpriced?
Who are the leading lights of the new generation?
Describe one of the leading wine critics of the future, say 5-10 years from now. Who is this person? What does he/she write about? How does he/she reach her constituency?