Do Wine Scores Matter? Bloomberg Columnist Elin McCoy on Robert Parker


In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with writer Elin McCoy, who’s the wine columnist for each Bloomberg News and Decanter journal. Elin shares her controversial perspective on one of many juiciest subjects within the wine world: the facility of wine scores. Do wine scores nonetheless have sway over the best way we purchase wine? How is that this altering with millennials and social media? Are scores truly a sound manner of appraising a wine? How is using scores in liquor shops typically deceptive? Elin explores all this and extra, together with why Robert Parker made such an fascinating topic for her e book, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste. Enjoy!



  • How did a visit to a Mendocino winery flip the flamboyant wine author stereotype on its head?
  • What is Elin’s method to wine scoring?
  • What was the of tasting and scoring Starbucks wine choice expertise like?
  • What qualities would lead Elin to present a wine a really low or zero rating?
  • How do publishers, wine producers and the general public react to low wine scores?
  • What is Elin’s tackle wines produced by manufacturers like Walmart and Trader Joe’s?
  • Why are youthful folks much less concerned with wine scores?
  • Is the normal wine critic nonetheless related, or is social media drowning them out?
  • How is the world of wine in the present day a mirrored image of our bigger life?
  • How lots of wines does Elin actually style per 12 months?
  • How does Elin determine which wines to suggest?
  • What was it about Robert Parker that made him rise to prominence?
  • Why write a e book about Robert Parker?
  • What was the fascinating American-like trait of Robert Parker that made him so profitable?
  • Why did Robert Parker have such a stunning response to Elin’s e book?


About Elin McCoy

Elin McCoy is an award-winning journalist and writer, specializing in the world of wine. She is a wine and spirits columnist for Bloomberg News and a columnist for Decanter journal. McCoy’s most up-to-date e book, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, garnered worldwide reward and has appeared in 5 international editions. She can also be the co-author of Thinking About Wine. Elin serves often as a wine choose in American and worldwide competitions and is a frequent speaker at wine festivals, symposia and business occasions.




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Transcript & Takeaways

Welcome to episode 39!

In in the present day’s episode, we’re chatting with Elin McCoy, the wine columnist for each Bloomberg News and Decanter journal.

We’re going to dive into one of many juiciest subjects within the wine world: the facility of wine scores.

  • Do they nonetheless have sway over the best way we purchase wine?
  • How is that this altering with millennials and social media?
  • Are scores truly a sound manner of appraising a wine?
  • How is using scores in liquor shops typically deceptive?

Elin explores these subjects in her fascinating e book about Robert Parker, extra on that in a minute. I’ll put a hyperlink to her e book within the present notes, together with hyperlinks to wines that I’ve scored 90 factors or greater which can be in shops now. You’ll discover all of those at

I’d love your assist in spreading the phrase about this podcast. Please submit a assessment on Apple Podcasts, previously iTunes, or on social media. If you do this, let me know and I’ll provide you with a shout out on this podcast.

Plus, in case you do, I’ll ship a free copy of my Ultimate Food & Wine Pairing Guide. It’s a fast template protecting the foremost meals matches for pink, white, rose and dessert wines. It’s visually very interesting and I do know you’ll get tons of use from it. All you must do is submit a assessment on Apple Podcasts or on social media. Then simply e mail me at and I’ll ship it to you.

So as promised, I’d wish to share a highlight on a member of our podcast group with you. Peter Humphries from Hamilton posted on Instagram – quote, “Natalie, I simply completed listening to your podcast with Tilar Mazzeo. I cherished it. I sat on my again deck with a glass of Pinot Noir and soaked in each phrase; an effective way to spend a heat sunny late afternoon.

I take pleasure in historical past and her story of the grand girl operating the vineyard was fascinating. I really like studying about gutsy individuals who stick it out leading to a profitable final result. I additionally loved her method to not including sulphates to her wine. Not a typical method.

I really like wine devices and her thrift retailer buy of a cork remover for glowing wine sounded nifty. However, for me, taking a bottle of champagne exterior and letting the cork launch excessive within the bushes is thrilling. But go inside, and this gadget is nice.

Thank you a lot for protecting me and your listeners knowledgeable and entertained, I would like you to know it’s actually appreciated. I stay up for your third e book as I devoured your first two (whereas quenching my need with wine).

Keep up your superb work. A fan.

Peter Humphries”

Thank you, Peter! I’m thrilled that you simply loved the chat with Tilar in episode 37. I do know you’re going to like this one with Elin.

On with the present. Enjoy!


You can even watch the video interview with Elin that features bonus content material and behind-the-scenes questions and solutions that weren’t included on this podcast.


Well, there you’ve gotten it! Here are my takeaways from this terrific dialogue with Elin:

  1. I really like Elin’s tales concerning the less-than-glamourous lifetime of a wine author from climbing muddy hillsides to tasting wines at Starbucks which can be .
  2. She has an actual egalitarianism that comes by way of in different tales corresponding to Walmart providing its personal wines and seeing this as a chance for extra folks to expertise the pleasure of wine fairly than its snobbery.
  3. She makes a superb anaolgy that style isn’t like imaginative and prescient: excellent at 20/20 or not. Rather style is much extra subjective. You might take pleasure in wines that don’t get excessive scores, and conversely, it’s possible you’ll not like these with excessive scores.
  4. She believes that youthful persons are much less impressed with scores, and rely extra on mates’ suggestions by way of social media. There are many voices now fairly than the dominant considered one of Robert Parker, significantly since he lately retired.
  5. It’s insider data that liquor shops are likely to submit the best rating they will discover for a wine as a result of they wish to promote it. It’s not as a result of the critic occurs to be their favorite critic.
  6. She factors out that sommeliers don’t method your desk on the restaurant and inform you the wine’s rating: as a substitute, their going to inform you what the wine tastes like, meals pairings and maybe a narrative behind the wine. She sees this as a extra holistic strategy to method wine.
  7. Elin notes that wine writing is altering: shifting away from merely scores to embrace a wider view of wine inside society and its position in the best way we stay.

You’ll discover hyperlinks to Elin’s vineyard web site, social media handles, the video model of this interview and the wines I like to recommend that rating 90 factors or greater within the present notes at

Did you could now hearken to this podcast in your good speaker? Just say: “Hey Google” or for Amazon’s Echo, use her identify that begins with A … I gained’t say it now because it’ll set off your gadget and mine.

So I’ll say Madame A as in “Madam A — play the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast.” I’d love to speak about wine with you when you’re watching the youngsters play soccer, refilling the water cooler or sorting socks … it’s all the time wine time.

What was your favorite tip or quote from this episode? Share that with me on Twitter or Facebook and tag me @nataliemaclean, on Instagram I’m @nataliemacleanwine.

If you preferred this episode, please inform a pal about it, particularly one who’s concerned with how wine scores have an effect on the wines we drink. My podcast is straightforward to seek out, whether or not you search Google on its identify Unreserved Wine Talk, or on my identify.

Finally, if you wish to take your means to pair wine and meals to the subsequent degree, be part of me in a free on-line video class at

I can’t wait to share extra wine tales with you.

Thank you for taking the time to hearken to this one. I hope one thing nice is in your glass this week, maybe when you’re ingesting a wine that scored 90 factors or greater!



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