Le roi est mort, vive le roi! Famed (and controversial) wine critic & publisher Robert Parker official retired this week.
The Wine Advocate’s Editor-in-Chief Lisa Perrotti-Brown announced the departure in a nicely worded tribute on Thursday (5.16).
“As I retire from The Wine Advocate,” said Parker, “I have the honor of passing the baton to our wonderful team. The time has come for myself to relinquish all editorial and board responsibilities with immediate effect. I raise my glass to all of you for being part of this journey and hope all will continue to share the enthusiasm for discovering wines with our dedicated reviewers.”
The move is no surprise. Over the last decade, the now 71-year-old Parker slowly phased himself out of operations at Wine Advocate, the publication he founded 41 years ago. In 2011, he passed the baton of Burgundy and California tasting to Antonio Galloni. (Galloni then left the magazine in 2013 and Neal Martin and Jeb Dunnuck assumed those duties.)
In 2012, Parker sold the bulk of his share in the publication and stepped down as editor. From 2015 through 2016, Martin also took the reins of the prestigious Bordeaux tastings from Parker.
Most recently, the founder’s role at the publication was confined to tasting notes and musings in a column dubbed ‘The Hedonist’s Gazette.”
It’s hard to quantify Parker’s immense influence on the wine world. However, Parker did pioneer quantifying the wine, itself; he is responsible for inventing the now-ubiquitous 100 point rating system. Over the last four decades, that system has been credited with making wine accessible to Americans; dumbing down wine tasting; inflating prices; standing up to profiteering prices (like the ’00 Bordeaux Fiasco), skewing too far towards “big” wines, and encapsulating the America palate.
Regardless of one’s opinion of the man’s work, his impact was undeniably immense. So, raise a glass as the oenophiles attempt to fill the void.