Frank Prial dies at 82

frank prial Frank Prial, who wrote the Wine Talk column for the Times for the better part of three decades, has died. An obituary in the Times has details on his career and important place in the history of wine writing, particularly in the 1970s when specialty wine publications had yet to emerge.

He had previously worked at the Wall Street Journal and brought a business reporter’s sensibilities to the task and often sought the business or political angles in his stories.

He also had a human touch. I recall him once telling a group of us scribes about the best wine he ever had. Even though he had the opportunity to taste many of the world’s finest wines over the course of his career, the best wine he ever had was some rotgut American “Chablis,” the first wine he had back on American soil after serving in the Korean war.

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One Response to “Frank Prial dies at 82”


  1. I still have a copy of an article he wrote in 1981 in which he stated that the drinking of wine in America was on the verge of becoming inbred and precious; that where else would people ask about Brix levels; that an opthalmologist would defend a wine because it had taken top place in his last 15 tastings- “Exactly, this wine was designed for competition and should not be used for family dining.” Mr. Prial was anti-Parker before Parker existed. He was a gentleman in the true sense of the word; a gracious and intelligent man who truly loved wine because wine meant a great table with family, friends, food and interesting conversation.

    I just pulled Prial’s “Wine Talk” off the book shelf – he acknowledges Alexis Bespaloff, Gerald Asher, Peter Sichel, Alexis Lichine and Abdallah Simon. I consider myself blessed to have come of wine age in the world of these men. Thank you, Mr. Prial, for many thought provoking columns.


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