In the circles of wine lovers I travel in, many folks make a common observation about the evolving landscape of wine criticism. Namely that the era of Robert M. Parker, Jr. is coming to a close, and a new world of wine critics are emerging. I'm not sure I'd personally describe what I see happening in the wine world in quite those terms, but it's clear that Parker has been doing some succession planning in the past couple of years with many of the new additions to his staff. It's also clear that there are many new voices in the world of wine criticism, and some of them are beginning to carry serious weight.
One in particular seems to be rapidly gaining in power and influence, to the point that he is making markets for wine -- when he writes about a wine, it flies off the shelves and skyrockets in price.
His name is Shizuku Kanzaki, and he is a cartoon character.
Specifically, he is the sommelier hero of the Japanese comic book series Kami no Shizuku, or "Droplets of the Gods." Long time readers will remember that I have written about him before. But apparently he's gone from novelty to downright phenomenon. And when I say that he is gaining in power and influence, a single number may suffice to demonstrate that fact:
Number of subscribers to Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 50,000
Estimated number of individual readers of Kami no Shizuku: 500,000
Influence on wine prices and inventories aside, the most impressive impact of this imaginary wine critic seems to me to be the fact that sommelier classes for women are "fully booked" in Japan.
How cool is that? Beats the heck out of the "Sideways Effect."
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
Ridiculous Recommendations about Wine and Pregnancy Vinography Images: Storm Clouds I'll Drink to That: Brad Hickey of Brash Higgins Winery The 25th Annual Zinfandel Experience Tasting: February 27, San Francisco Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 2/1/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 24, 2016 I'll Drink to That: Paul Roberts of Colgin Cellars Vinography Images: Forward and Back Martha Stewart's Wine Cellar is a Disaster I'll Drink to That: Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga of Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune