When the UK Decanter admitted Robert Parker Jr to his Hall of Fame for 2020, they wrote in a well-crafted online article: „He has received the highest civilian honours offered to individuals in France (an Officier of the Légion d’Honneur, bestowed by President Chirac), Italy (a Commendatore in the National Order of Merit, bestowed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and President Carlo Ciampi) and Spain (the Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil, bestowed by former King Juan Carlos I). His achievements are perplexingly unrecognised back home in the USA, where his only honours outside the wine world have come from the state of Maryland and its academic institutions: meagre tribute for a great American who dominated his field around the world for three decades.” Exactly.
This confirms my supposition that the American interest in the European wine market served American winemakers, especially in California, and that the wine market in the United States used Parker as a marketing instrument. A stunning career is nothing special for America. It is embedded in the American genetic makeup, which is what everyone in America should have, because „the best is yet to come„. Europe remembers Parker because they in Europe earned money because of him.
Well, maybe less than that. Those earned who already had something. Fortunes were made on the banks of the Gironde, in Burgundy, or on the Rhone, and were limited to those that could be daring enough to raise prices by 500% in line with the trend set by the brilliant American wine critic. It was not a universal phenomenon; there were places of rebellion against the uniformity of taste, perhaps Burgundy was the first to emerge, and it was so. No wonder France has never forgotten Parker.
Spain still makes money on the Parker myth, although there are also swallows of disobedience. Anyway, today Parker, or rather his Wine Advocate once, has little in common with America. Michelin, it means France has become the owner of Wine Advocate. So why would America admire him? Similar maces are in every American backpack.
There have always been essential friends in Italy, and still in love with Parker. In Piedmont and Tuscany, above all. Connections have always been meaningful there, and Gaja is not without them. Globally, however, looking at the Parker phenomenon, France, which knows to be generous to those who gave her soul, earned the most selling wine to America. Still, Parker indeed fell in love with France irretrievably, but not indiscriminately.