Monday, July 13, 2015

Excerpts from Parker's "The Emperor's Diaries"--Part Two

Editor's Note: The Emperor’s Diaries were only recently unearthed by an unemployed wine critic who found them in Antonio Galloni’s underwear drawer, right next to the 100 Point Lube (“100 Point Lube—Slip One In So They Hardly Notice!”). After a painstaking translation from Robert Parker’s native tongue, Hedonia, a few passages were provided to HoseMaster of Wine™ for publication before The Emperor’s Diaries are released in full to the public just in time for the James Beard Awards. The diaries are expected to handily win the Beard Award for "Best Book for Gluttons," ending the consecutive win streak held by Mario Batali. We are proud to be the exclusive outlet for excerpts from The Emperor’s Diaries. The diaries were authenticated by Maureen Downey, who noted, “The diaries are real, but as for the Lube, well, it’s a bit slippery.”

April 1983

I’m in Bordeaux to taste the ’82’s en primeur. I’m not sure I get the hang of this barrel tasting thing. They all kind of taste the same. Big, black and nasty, like Pam Grier. I wouldn’t put it past the French for them to actually be all the same. Like Jerry Lewis movies. You’d think that it would be harder for me to rate them when they all taste the same, but, actually it’s a lot easier. How can anyone say you’re wrong? They’ll never get to taste the same barrel, and even if they did, they won’t know what they’re tasting either. It’s very empowering. Of course, I already know the First Growths will get the highest scores, but I’ll be looking for those underrated wines, the ones that are a lot cheaper, but made at least one barrel as good as a First Growth.

I may have to tweak my 100 Point Scale for barrel tastings, though. I don’t mind putting a single integer on a bottled wine, but it seems presumptuous to be so precise for a barrel tasting. Especially since I have no idea what I’m doing. So if I decide I’m going to give the wine 95, and I’m definitely going to give a bunch of high numbers or why be here, I’ll just put (93-97). What makes it work, I think, are the parentheses. Gives it dignity. Indicates I deliberated long and hard over that barrel sample, when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that quotation marks are glib. “93-97”? Like I’m quoting somebody else, maybe. They’re almost sarcastic. Parentheses are whispers, secret code between me and my 57 subscribers, information I wouldn’t give to just anybody. Yeah, that’s cool. Plus, I’m awarding four scores instead of just one. Wish I’d thought of that seven years ago.

May 1983

I am so sick of Bordeaux, I could crap Peppercorn. What a nightmare tasting en primeur. Nothing but a bunch of stuffy old Brits sipping, spitting and proclaiming. It’s like the Royal Shakespeare Company performing “All’s Swill that Ends Swill.” Everybody pretty much ignored me the entire time. The only reason I even managed to taste the First Growths was because I shouted, “Look! Peter O’Toole!” and the old queens took off running.

I’m also beginning to think that a lot of the barrel samples I tasted had been doctored. Which might explain why there was a case of empty Caymus Special Selection bottles behind the Mouton barrel. Oh, maybe I’m just being paranoid. What possible motivation could there be for the Chateaux to manipulate their barrels? They don’t sell futures that much anymore anyway. Only the dribble that the English purchase as futures. Americans don’t buy Bordeaux futures. They’d have better luck trying to sell futures to the Chinese! Yeah, like that will ever happen. More likely we’ll elect a black man to be President before the Chinese ever give a Great Wall of Shit about Bordeaux.

I also overheard a lot of rumbling from the old sots that ’82 seemed like a below average vintage. I was thinking the same thing. They’re all kinda sweet and chewy. But I’m also thinking most Americans really like sweet and chewy, so I should give the wines high scores. And not just high scores, I should rave about the vintage in general. That’ll make people notice me. I know how to rave. How about this kind of quote:

“1982 is the greatest vintage in my experience.”

That sounds great. Though it’s a lot like saying, “Godzilla is the biggest dinosaur in my experience.” Ah, the best hype is the hype that’s the truth about lying. So I’ll stick my neck out and publish high scores for the ’82 Bordeaux. I’ll be the only one.

June 1983

It worked!  Oh, man, I’m a genius. Every major wine retailer in the country is taking out full page ads selling futures of 1982 Bordeaux, and guess who they’re quoting? I’ll give you a clue. It’s not the cast of “Cats.” Andrew Lloyd Webber isn’t the only untalented Brit whose work is about being a pussy, try the whole British wine trade. Those ads are quoting Robert Parker, Jr. (I added the “Jr.” part a while ago because it seems cool, like Sammy Davis, or Martin Luther King, or Mints.) My ratings and quotes are billboarded all over the place!

“The ’82 Margaux is legendary, and should rival the ’59! (96-100)”*

“Wise buyers will be lining up to purchase the brilliant ’82 Cheval Blanc, the greatest wine from this estate since the ’47! (96-100)”*

“Serious wine collectors will want a case of ’82 Lynch-Bages, a tour-de-force that surpasses even the legendary 1870, which was only released to the wine club. (92-96)”*
*Robert Parker, Jr.

My phone has been ringing off the hook with people who want to subscribe. I may have to hire someone to work in my office just to keep track of all the samples I’m receiving. Someone I can trust, and who knows about wine. Come to think of it, I met a guy who might be perfect. German guy, what was his name. Rodenstock! Hardy Rodenstock. I think I’ll give him a call.


Quizicat said...

More, it gave me a Meinhard!

Fenton said...

Yes, give us more! These diaries provide important context and make everything clear to those of us who have not been drinking good wine since the 1970s. I did not know how RP developed that brilliant parentheses thing. Wow.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Not my intention. But thanks.

I think Parker originally wrote it 93...97. That didn't work, so the parenthetical triumphed over the ellipsis.

I don't know yet, but I'll probably continue "The Emperor's Diaries." More pages just keep showing up. That Parker is a prolific bastard, ain't he?

Marcia Macomber said...

Yea, to more Emperor's Diaries. These are a blast. And as Fenton says, they provide interesting context (with tongue jabbed [stabbed?] in cheek)!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,
I wonder if Parker is writing "The HoseMaster Diaries." Yikes, that would be scary. Especially when the highest score I receive from a woman is "84."

I didn't say more diary for sure, Love. Only probably. Hard to insist that there has been an overwhelming demand... But at least you're here, Love.

Quizicat said...

(Meinhard) is (Rodenstocks) actual first name.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Ah, yes, I'd forgotten. If I ever knew. Nice bit of trivia. I never did read "The Billionaire's Vinegar." Though I probably reviewed it. You know me.


Unknown said...

Like a Dule de Leche treat from HoseMaster, the piece is juicy and fun. All Swill Ends Swill - yes, bring it on.

How about something divergent: What if Parker & his 100-point score system never came into existence? As other agricultural products, wine may have been remaining its unassuming self - a beverage for common taters to consume. I see so much room for one's imagination to roam around in a world without Parker & 100-point. And of course, HoseMaster will be a million times better than me for rambling on about it.


wine man boy said...

Nice piece of shit. I recommend you read my book when it comes out. Flyday 18 November 2015. Also, I've a new wine that's going to be released 'Let he who has not sinned cast the 1st stone. It's a hybrid wine, like the Prius but this one you can taste. Rudy Kurniawan

Bob Henry said...

Dear Clifford Irving:

Nice "inside baseball" pun about David:

Is Parker the Emperor of Freedonia, where Hedonia is the official spoken language?

(The rest of you can look it up:


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Susan Baby,
Thanks, Love, for the sweet words. Your premise of thinking about a world without the 100 Point Scale is pretty interesting. It's a world that once existed, of course, and I'm old enough to remember it. But where would we be now if it had never been introduced? I'll mull it over. Who knows, a piece may come of it. In which case, I owe you dinner and a 100 Point Wine.

A Million Smooches to You, Love.

I just may release pages from your diary, too. Man, my common taters have given me a bunch of ideas today. Nice work.

Hedonia is just south of Libido, along the Sea of Mediocrity, where wine bloggers originated. Freedonia is near Cleveland.

WV.AVAs said...

Ahh, the timing couldn't be better...

In the following link the number crunchers (AAWE) attempt to come to terms with en primeur scores in a post-Parker apocalypse. Priceless!

One of your nine non-industry subscribers.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I can't make any sense of that article. So it's perfect when talking about en primeur, which is essentially a bunch of con artists massaging the egos of wine writers in order to sell wine. Correlating numbers is stupid. What's the ultimate meaning of crunching the meaningless?

And so it goes.

Thanks for subscribing, Alden. I have far more people who are non-interested than are non-industry.

Wines for the People said...

Thanks for the Peppercorn exegesis, Bob. I knew I had missed the joke, but had no clue how to decipher it. Thanks for Clifford Irving, too.

Now Duck Soup, that I've known a long time. Hail, Hail Freedonia!