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Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide: The Complete, Easy-To-Use Reference on Recent Vintages, Prices, and Ratings for More Than 8,000 Wines from All the Major Wine Regions Unknown Binding – Oct 2002


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  • Unknown Binding: 1696 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 6 edition (Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743238664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743238663
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Review

David Shaw"Los Angeles Times"Parker is the most powerful critic of any kind, anywhere, a man whose writings and ratings have enormous impact in virtually every country where wine is made, bought, or sold. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Feb 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a useful book for wine lovers and collectors. There are, however, some serious flaws in its scope and execution, as well as irritations for non-US readers.
Early on in the book, whilst advising readers how to serve wine, the author makes such an extended pitch for using one particular manufacturer’s wine glasses that it is hard not to conclude that he is a paid ambassador for that company. In my opinion, he goes too far into what reads like a commercial promotion.
Secondly, there is the sad and inexplicable omission of individual commentary on the wonderful dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac in the Bordeaux section. Furthermore, at the end of the book, the inclusion of just a half page on South Africa could be mistaken for an insult. Better to leave it out altogether, given that this is approximately the world’s 7th largest wine producer and makes a great many wines worthy of inclusion in what is supposedly a comprehensive wine guide.
This (the UK is the most important export market for SA wines) and repeated American consumer-oriented references spoil what is otherwise an interesting inclusion in a connoisseur’s bookshelf.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C.Elder on 15 May 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a very good effort to cover a lot about wine in one volume.Parker does have individual books available on bordeaux;burgundy;rhone;etc that are even more detailed and this volume is a compendium of parts of these individual volumes.As in any such endeavour there is no doubt that much has to be left out to give the purchaser an even chance of having a book that is liftable,and others have pointed out some examples of omissions.But frankly,this book covers the most popular zones and the most typical wine choices one is confronted with.Sauternes (which is sacrificed) accounts for only an infinitesmal part of the wine trade.And no one other than the Brits drinks S.A. wines-so no great loss here either.What remains is a very good reference book that covers 98% of what you need to know.His rating system also has been criticised as favouring young full-bodied;fruit driven wines.But that is a reflection of his taste,and if you don't like these kinds of wines then read between the lines of this book to find the ones that suit you better.The big plus is that he has no qualms about saying which chateaux are past it;which are improving and which will be the future stars.No other wine reviewer speaks so openly about this.So well done to him for puncturing some of the posturing that surrounds this industry.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael Thaidigsmann on 26 Sep 2003
Format: Paperback
Robert Parker has again published another huge tome and marked an enormous quantity of wines from all over the world. Some people might call this a wine bible, but it is not.

First of all, removing the numerous pages on Bordeaux, Burgundy and Californian wines would leave a mere 500 of the books 1,500 pages. This is all the more regrettable as there is lot more to discover in European wine countries such as Germany (a country almost completely overlooked by Parker and his assistant Rovani), Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Spain (from the latter not a lot except for Rioja, Ribeira del Duero and Priorat). New World wine countries such as New Zealand, Chili and Argentinia don't fare much better.

Even on France, Parker could have done better. A bit less on Bordeaux would have created some space for exciting, and lesser-known, wines from regions such as the Loire Valley, or the south of France. The detailed description of Bordeaux's famous châteaux and vintages should be reserved to Parker's special book about this wine region instead of the world-wide wine overview. Worse still, Parker forgets to include most of the sweet Sauternes wines and focuses instead mainly on top-notch reds.

As for Burgundy, the author talks extensively about many wines that are not only dead-expensive but also available in such minute quantities that in all likelihood Parker will remain one of the privileged few to have actually tasted them...

Parker's book is helpful mainly for American wine lovers, but for European ones, to discover all those nice Oregon pinot noirs and Californian cabenets described by the author may well prove to be an impossible task.

The book makes a nice read if you're interested in wines for whatever reason. But for beginners and for European (quality) wine buyers, there are certainly better books on the market than this one.
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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "kristercnn1" on 19 Feb 2003
Format: Paperback
First of all, spare me the usual "Parker only likes full bodied California cabs and the heavier the better, and those scores of his has ruined the wine market" criticism usually offered by every wine nerd who hasn't read the man, but only seen the scores.
If you don't like his scores, if you don't like his views on certain wines, don't bother reading them.
The real benefit of Parker is his vast experience and knowledge of most of the wines on this planet, and his lack of romantic connections with the industry. Too many wine journalists are more wine lovers than journalists, and you cannot trust them to give a poor score to a wine maker they know. Parker will not stand for that, and we have his power in the market to thank for it. As a journalist, and a wine lover, I can only admire the work that Parker does.
That said, let's talk about this book. It's full bodied. It's complex. It's inviting to newcomers, and it's overpowering to us who think we know wine, but only really know 1 per cent of what there is out there. I have the 4th edition before this, and a lot of the basic and background information is still there, plus the new vintages of all the wines that Parker finds essential.
It's hugely informative, and interesting. It's a bible, not only in size, but in the way it is not really meant for reading in a straight line. When you need a bit of advice, that's when you open it, even when you don't know what you need. There is always something there that you didn't know, or if you read it again, there is a new light in it.
So, why only a four, when I sound like a master's servant?
I think Parker could make it more innovative. It's still the best comprehensive wine book compared to everyone else, but he should raise his own standards.
And I think his passages on some parts of the book, Champagne, Austrian wines, are too summarily written. Sure, how much can you put in a book, but still. Surprise us.
Look forward to the next edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 46 reviews
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
So much wine, so little time... 22 Oct 2002
By mr-peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This sixth edition of Parker's wine-buying guide is the result of Robert Parker and his accomplice, Pierre Rovani, tasting their way through more than 8,000 wines. Parker introduces the book as a "consumer's guide to wine." Although Parker and Rovani both write very well, this book is not an effort at creative writing. My review focuses on the utilitarian aspects of the book -- look to others for analysis of character development, plot devices, etc.
My paperback copy of the book has 1635 numbered pages (not 1696 as the Amazon web blurb indicates). About 40 pages (2.5% of the book) are devoted to introductory material ranging from tasting glasses to notions of terroir. The index takes up another 2.3%. The rest (over 95%) is about the wines; these are covered by geographic region. Each region is briefly introduced (several with maps) with a summary of the kinds of wine produced (and grape varietals employed), recent vintages are characterized, and wine producers of the region are ranked from 5 stars (outstanding) to 2 stars (average).
Breaking the geographic coverage down in terms of page volume, Europe takes up 69.5% of the book, North America 19.8%, and the rest of the world the remaining 5.9%. France alone takes up 53% of the book. Six major wine regions consume over 75% of the pages: Bordeaux, 16%; the Rhone, Provence & Languedoc 16%; Burgundy (& Beaujolais) 14.5%; Italy 12.5%; and California 16.7%. Australia and New Zealand weigh in together at 5.6%. South Africa and South America get 2 and 3 pages, respectively. Previous editions of the book have been criticized for this seemingly "undemocratic" coverage.
The vast bulk of the book is tasting notes and numeric ratings for individual wines, organized by producer and vintage year. Parker or Rovani assign a numeric rating or score to each wine; these range from 100 points down to 50 points. A wine rated 90-100 points is excellent to outstanding (grade A), 80-89 points good to very good (grade B), and so on. Tasting notes describe each wine in terms of nose, flavor, body, etc., and these really are the crux of the review: the numeric score attempts to rate the wine relative to its peers, but you still want to know what it tastes like. Reviews for most producers cover the most recent two or three vintages that have been released; some have up to five or six vintages covered (e.g., many Bordeaux chateaux).
Very few wines included in the book are rated at less than 85 points; apparently many wines that were tasted by the pair (and described in Parker's bimonthly *Wine Advocate*) did not make it into the book. By not devoting space to describe lesser wines, the authors are able to point us toward more of the very good and excellent wines. The other side of this coin is that they do not often explicitly steer us away from not-so-good wines. Moreover, if a wine is not included in the book, we don't know if it didn't measure up or simply was not tasted. But many unreviewed producers are at least rated in a general way in the 2- to 5-star tiers for each region/varietal.
Wine prices are indicated by a letter code, from A (inexpensive) to E (expensive) to EEE ("luxury"). Bargain hunters may be dismayed upon randomly scanning the pages to see that A and B priced wines are relatively uncommon. But a closer look reveals a few regions that do have reviews of many reasonably priced wines (the south of France, for example).
So how good is the book? It is not difficult to find fault with it. Some will find the geographic coverage uneven ("Not a single wine from Texas!"). Some will gripe that inexpensive wines are inadequately covered. But Parker and Rovani did not set out to give us a random, representative sample of all the world's wines. They chose to tell us about 8,000+ mostly very good to outstanding wines. The amount of useful information in this book is just incredible -- hundreds of pages of informed tasting notes on good to great current wines. It would be churlish to even think about downgrading the book by a star because of anything it omits. It is an amazing value and most wine consumers will benefit greatly from owning it.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Reads like several different books 26 Jan 2004
By Stefanie N - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As has been alluded to in other reviews, the usefulness of this book varies with Parker's commitment to any given wine region. For Bordeaux, Rhone and Languedoc I believe he is excellent. For California and NW United States wines, the book is helpful but also frustrating because so many of the entries are "cult" wines with 500 or so case production. I noticed that some of the more widely available California producers that were included in the fifth edition are left off of this one. While many of the French wines are available in a good wineshop--good luck finding any of the Calfornia ones he raves about. If you start now, you may be able to get on some of the winery mailing lists in five or ten years. In many cases the amount of wine produced is not mentioned, which can be a cause for frustration.
I think this book is an invaluable resource used in connection with other guidebooks and a trustworthy retailer. It's a truism that Parker is the most influential wine critic in the world. Many would argue that wineries are crafting their wines to win his high ratings. That being said, it's helpful to read his views as they give a clear snapshot of the state of winemaking in our era.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Best overall guide around 5 Oct 2000
By monsieurms - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You can make up your mind whether you agree with Parker's tastes or not, but he is thorough, accepts no ads, ranks high in the integrity column, and is consistent. If you are looking for a guide, you should not just examine Parker's book. There are many wine viewpoints that are helpful in the world. But it is also hard to think of anyone that does such a comprehensive job with such talent and integrity. You don't have to agree with every opinion or every review to appreciate this unique resource.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A curious combination of the invaluable & the useless 8 Dec 2003
By chefdevergue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I find myself very much in agreement with other reviewers, and I am relieved to discover that I was not alone in this. On the one hand, when one reads Parker's chapters (on Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley in particular), one recognizes the invaluable nature of the guide.
On the other hand, one then turns to the incomprehensible gobbledygook that is the chapter on Burgundy. Proceeding on, one encounters the appalling 11-page chapter on Germany, written by someone who evidently despises most german wines on principle, and which includes absolutely no tasting notes whatsoever. One also gets to enjoy complete howlers like the Loire chapter, which starts with the question "Why are the Loire's wines so little known?" Gee, maybe it is because of 12-page chapters that offer no useful information. All of this is thanks to the rather inept contributions of Pierre-Antoine Rovani.
The result is a wildly uneven guide that should be used with some caution. Parker's chapters for the most part are quite informative. For the reviewer that complained that most of these wines are long since off the market, one only has to read the Bordeaux chapter in regards to the 2000 vintage, which is still available in abundance. If one is looking for good sleeper wines among the 2000 Bordeaux, this guide is worth the price. However, reading Rovani should be regarded as complete waste of time. Like someone else said, he is just deadweight.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Classic that requires a new Update 12 April 2007
By Miguel P. Pakalns - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The reason the "sheep" (word used in negative rating postings) follow Parker's guidance, and the reason Robert Parker's are the only reviews that influence price fluctuations for Bordeaux, is that Robert Parker combines impeccable taste with a relentless dedication to objectivity. Parker's 100-point Wine rating system has been near-universally adopted. Parker was the first Wine critic to seriously denounce Filtration practices that destroy Wines for merchant/commercial utility (ability to ship without regard to horridly high temperatures) -- Many other tasters (shills?) throughout the 1970's and 1980's insisted that filtering had no impact, or even influence, on taste. This pre or non-Parker view is now universally rejected, to the great benefit of Red Wine consumers.

Criticisms that Parker spends too much time focusing on French wines (esp. Bordeaux) are true but largely miss-the-point. If you want a comprehensive guide to California Wineries, you should definitely look elsewhere. Specialty books abound on California Wines, especially here in the States, and to fault a Wine book containing 1,596 pages of Text for lack of comprehensiveness is near absurdity. Parker includes some "cult" California producers for, I think, obvious reasons: The "cult" offerings are far superior to overcropped, overpriced-even-at-$10-$12 California Wines that have saturated the US Market (does this really need to be stated?!). Parker ignores cheap, insipid California offerings just as he largely ignores cheap, insipid Italian Whites (again, note that I agree). You might just as well question why he doesn't rate jugs of Carlo Rossi. There's no conspiracy there.

It is certainly true that Parker prefers full, tannic, flavorful Red Bordeaux (and Bordeaux-like) Wines. He is a Bordeaux specialist who has received 2 knighthoods from the nation of France for his Bordeaux tasting ability: Can you blame Wine Producers for courting his taste, or Wine Consumers for buying his selections?? Still, I don't think his preference is as all-encompassing as some critics suggest: I am personally a huge fan of Rieslings, and I have very rarely disagreed with Parker's ratings of Alsace and German producers.

The biggest issue with this work is that it is getting out-of-date (though the superb quality of 2005 Bordeaux's may force Parker to pen a new version quickly). Also do take note if you do not have access to New York or California Wine stores you will only have access to most Parker-reviewed wines through online outlets.

Some specific viewpoints also beguile some consumers who take insufferable offense: Parker loves Champagne and largely disparages 'Sparkling Wines' (a view I happen to share), Parker likes/loves Gewurztraminer which is not a crowd-pleaser, Parker hates Italian Whites, and Parker prefers the finest Red Bordeaux over the finest Red Burgundies (note that co-author Rovani penned the Burgundy section).

For those interested in Value -- Best French values are generally found through trying Wines from Parker's noted producers in Alsace, Languedoc/Roussillon, the Loire valley and the Rhone appellations. Many of these Wines are under-appreciated and generally under-valued. Further, though Parker's sections on Spain, Australia and N.Z. are anything but comprehensive, his noted 'outstanding' and 'great' Producers are trustworthy for all but the worst vintages.
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