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07.29.2005

More Sniping at the Top of The Wine World

If it's not one thing, it's another. The American wine critics and the European ones seem to make it a habit to disagree on nearly everything, but its rare that they lash out with personal attacks. It does happen though. Last year it was a fierce battle of ego and interpretation of a particular vintage of Chateau Pavie. This week it's a general character assassination of Robert Parker by the venerable Hugh Johnson in his latest book.

Johnson called Parker the "dictator of taste" and compared his critical work to the "imperialist" government of the United States, saying he "deals with absolutes" and tends to "castigate backsliders."

Such attacks are expected I guess, when people become such powerful critics that they affect wine prices around the world, but it's funny that people can get so outraged over something that is clearly just about subjective opinion. Informed, of course, and marketmaking no doubt, but subjective nonetheless.

Who CARES if Robert Parker pisses people off? Like my colleague Tom over at Fermentations, I expect better of Hugh Johnson.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.