Although he is not a winemaker, Robert Parker’s name is probably one of the most important in the world of winemaking. In a way, for several decades now, his influence has been a trend-setter for some producers, especially those who make their wines in search of his famous points. It is said that Parker likes wines with noble wood and a lot of extraction, with certain similarities to Bordeaux. In particular, I do not believe that there is a Parker taste, as he has different collaborators who are dedicated to tasting the different wines of the world and, obviously, each one has their own tastes and preferences.
In 1975, this lawyer and colleague began to write a wine guide that would eventually become the famous magazine “The Wine Advocate”. Nowadays, the reality is that Parker points can boost a wine and raise its price considerably. This is not a trivial circumstance, because let’s think of the economic consequences that a good score from the critic can have for any winery.
In Spain, Luis Gutiérrez is in charge of assessing and rating our wines, as well as in Argentina, Chile, and the Jura. In general, with few exceptions, I agree with his evaluations, so he is always a reference when it comes to drinking wine. Besides, they have placed our wines on the international scene, vindicating the quality of many wine regions that have traditionally been in the shadow of Rioja or Ribera del Duero.
Robert Parker’s score is not the only relevant reference; Wine Spectator, Jancis Robinson, or the Peñín Guide, the latter in Spain, also have their weight and followers. However, at this point, it is worth questioning the usefulness of establishing ratings. The detractors point out the injustice involved in rating a wine, which is always subjective, as well as the economic mistrust that can exist behind a good rating. Supporters claim the positive aspect of having the reference of contrasted experts. In any case, I am sure that everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, looks sideways at the points that critics and their collaborators’ award annually to the wines that most interest them. What I also have no doubt about is that every wine with a hundred Parker points, or with a score around that level, is no trifle.