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Unreserved Wine Talk

238 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


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

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with author Elin McCoy, who is the wine columnist for both Bloomberg News and Decanter magazine. Elin shares her controversial perspective on one of the juiciest topics in the wine world: the power of wine scores. Do wine scores still have sway over the way we buy wine? How is this changing with millennials and social media? Are scores actually a valid way of appraising a wine? How is the use of scores in liquor stores sometimes misleading? Elin explores all this and more, including why Robert Parker made such an interesting subject for her book, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste. Enjoy!



  • How did a trip to a Mendocino vineyard turn the fancy wine writer stereotype on its head?
  • What is Elin’s approach to wine scoring?
  • What is Elin’s take on wines produced by brands like Walmart and Trader Joe’s?
  • Is the traditional wine critic still relevant, or is social media drowning them out?
  • How does Elin decide which wines to recommend?
  • What was it about Robert Parker that made him rise to prominence?
  • Why write a book about Robert Parker?


About Elin McCoy


Elin McCoy is an award-winning journalist and author, focusing on the world of wine. She is a wine and spirits columnist for Bloomberg News and a columnist for Decanter magazine. McCoy’s most recent book, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste, garnered international praise and has appeared in five foreign editions. She is also the co-author of Thinking About Wine. Elin serves regularly as a wine judge in American and international competitions and is a frequent speaker at wine festivals, symposia and industry events.


To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the show notes.

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