Food: The Man with a Paragon Palate

For countless wine lovers, Robert Parker's tastes are infallible

One of the world's leading wine critics is preparing for a hard day's work. On the cluttered wet bar of his home office in rural Parkton, Md., nine stubby, stemless glasses, narrower at the top than at the bottom, are lined up. Behind them stand nine uncorked bottles of California red wine, their labels obscured by foil wraps. The critic rinses the glasses with wine from three of the bottles. Then he pours an inch or so of red liquid from the first bottle into the first glass and holds it up to the light. "Good color," he says, "but that's...

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