Read the Book

The Point Man

I have a funny postcard that I picked up at Sherlock’s Wines in Atlanta. A guy tries a wine and tells the salesman it’s terrible. When the salesman tells him that the Wine Snob magazine gave it a ninety-seven, he says, “I’ll take a case!”

The Point Man is the guy who lives and dies by what Mr. Robert M. Parker has to say. He doesn’t actually read the reviews so much as he reads the little numbers at the bottom of the page. If it got ninety-five points, he wants it. He may not care for Condrieu or Amarone or Pinot Noir, but that’s hardly the point. It Got Ninety-Five Points! And that’s the point.

While there’s something that feels wrong about this approach, I can’t quite put my finger on it. If you’re at a store and you’re choosing between two wines at the same price, but one has a tag reading eighty-eight and the other says ninety-two, why would you buy the former? Aren’t Two Thumbs Up better than Two Thumbs Down?

The Point Man lives in a strict meritocracy; he gauges which wine he serves to whom based on how many points he thinks his company deserves.

One Point Man I know is drinking his cellar from bottom to top, so no matter how good the collection gets, you’re always guaranteed to get the worst bottle in it. By the time he dies, the cellar will be perfect.