"With his stubborn disregard for the hierarchy of wines, Robert Parker, the straight-talking American wine critic, is revolutionizing the industry -- and teaching the French wine establishment some lessons it would rather not learn "
The most influential critic in the world today happens to be a critic of wine. He is not a snob or an obvious aesthete, as one might imagine, but an ordinary American, a burly, awkward, hardworking guy from the backcountry of northern Maryland, about half a step removed from the farm.
His name is Robert Parker Jr., Bob for short, and he has no formal training in wine. He lives near his childhood home, among the dairies and second-growth forests in a place called Monkton, which has a post office but no town center.
A new interstate highway has reduced the drive to Baltimore to merely thirty minutes, but otherwise has had little effect. Monkton remains rural and bland -- a patch of forgotten America as culturally isolated and nondescript as the quietest parts of the Midwest.
Parker likes it that way. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Pat, with whom he has a teenage daughter named Maia, adopted as an infant from a Korean orphanage. The family has a quiet and apparently idyllic domestic life. Parker seems to be a happy man. In repose he has the staid face of an affluent farmer. In his baggy shirts and summer shorts, with his heavy arms hanging wide, he looks as if he could wrestle down a cow. "