If you are a lover of the wines from one the world's finest and greatest wine regions (ie. the wines of Bordeaux; the other region being Burgundy)then you have to buy or have access to this book. It really is as simple as that. No other guide to Bordeaux wines is as complete, as consistent or displays as much scholarship and applied and intelligent research as does this one. For all the bric bats that are thrown his way, for all of the carping and moaning, for all of the jealous mutterings of his rivals, Robert Parker's consistently excellent tasting and writing talents continue to stand him out from the crowd. As with any wine critic and wine writer, you may find that his tastes do not coincide with yours. That is not a problem. I have a cellar that is full of wines that have been rated anywhere between 86/100 points and 100/100 points by Parker. There are days and occasions when the 86 pointer is just what I wish and need, and there are others when the 100 pointers are chosen to form the centrepiece of a grand and memorable dining experience. Parker does not profess to lay down taste requirements or criteria. He judges and comments on the quality of the wine. Think of chocolate. The finest chocolate, most would agree, is made by Belgian chocolatiers and are refined, elegant and linger on the palate, long after the chocolate has been consumed. However, it may well be the case that some of us do not enjoy chocolates which are made at that level of refinement or we cannot tolerate it on a daily or regular basis. We may be much happier munching a Snicker bar or a Reeces pieces. And so it is with wine. A wine which obtains a high Parker score will be a wine which deserves, through sheer quality, to be rated highly, in terms of its demonstrated quality, as objectively (yes, objectively) assessed by Parker. What we, the consumer, do with that information/advice is up to us, and Parker has never, so far as I know, ever sought to suggest that it should be any way otherwise.
The book covers every Bordeaux estate that you can think of and many others besides (the one famous exception being Dome, owned by Jonathan Maltus), and provides a description of the property, its ownership, the nature, and quantity (in terms of numbers of bottles or cases of 12 bottles)of the wines produced, the volume of wine produced per hectare (a significant indicator of potential quality of the wine) and a vintage by vintage description and scoring of the principal wines produced by the various properties. Typically, there will be twenty or so recent vintages of the top Chateaux described, and perhaps half a dozen or so vintages of the less grand, but still grand wines. Of the lesser (but still very good wines), there will be general descriptions of the type and quality of wine produced, without any vintage by vintage scoring or descriptions. Advice is given in all cases as to the probable longevity of the wines, and the periods of their plateaux of maturity - the period of time during which the wine is fully evolved and at its peak. All in all, then, an excellent book. Buy it.