Robert Parker Jnr
What do you think of Chinese wine?
'When I was last in Shanghai and Beijing, I did taste some Chinese wines, the most impressive of which were not yet in bottle and were produced with the help of European wine consultants. I am scheduling a tasting in Hong Kong of current releases of Chinese wines, and I am truly looking forward to seeing the progress that has been made.'
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a wine critic?
'The most important component of becoming a wine writer or critic is to have an open mind, to look at it as a true profession and to immerse yourself in the field full time. It is hard to follow the world of wine just working part time. There has been such a proliferation of wonderful wines throughout the world, it is even challenging for someone such as me to keep abreast of all the developments. Nevertheless, there is enormous potential in the wine field, whether it is writing about wine, selling it, buying it or working as a sommelier. Every top restaurant in the world wants to have an effective wine programme and top choices, so there is unlimited potential for young people to get involved in this field.'
What would you say to people who want to start collecting wine on a moderate budget?
'People need to ignore the most prestigious regions and taste wines from up-and-coming areas that have not been fully developed or have not gotten a great deal of press. Many great wines are emerging from areas including much of Spain, southern France, southern Italy, South Africa, Argentina and Chile, parts of Australia, New Zealand and in the United States, the Pacific northwest, especially Oregon and Washington states, and Southern California. These regions do not carry the prestige and have not gotten as much exposure as the most famous wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne [in France], Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy, or Rioja in Spain, but potential collectors of wine need to pay attention to these regions and, at least, go to tastings to develop their palates and decide what they enjoy and find the most interesting.'
If you could plan your last meal on Earth, what would you eat, what wines would you drink and who would be there?
'I would probably drink French champagne, some C?te R?ties from the likes of Guigal, or some great old-vine grenache cuv?es from Ch?teauneuf du Pape, as well as some great Bordeaux wines from vintages such as 1982, 1961 or 1959. As for the food, it would be a diverse meal. I would probably want some shellfish such as langoustines, scallops, or crabs, simply grilled. I would have to have a Peking duck course, and I would also want a simple, wonderfully prepared roast chicken. The food would be relatively simple but would be made from the highest [quality] raw materials available and cooked with nothing more than careful preparation. Of course, to enjoy that last meal with me, I would want my wife, who has been my constant companion, dearest friend and confidante for well over 40 years.'
For information on the Parker in Asia 2011 events, visit www.parkerinasia.com