As the only journalist who actually bothered to show up for the famous "Judgement of Paris" back in 1976, George Taber gives us a riveting behind-the-scenes look at a tasting that completely altered the landscape of wine making across the world. A contest organized by British wine merchant Stephen Spurrier pitting little-known California vintages against what was thought to be superior French wines, everyone--including Spurrier himself--thought that France and its iconic terroir would easily rule the day. But to the shock of oenophiles everywhere, California's Chateau Montelena and Stag's Leap won best Chardonnay and red wine respectively. Sending shock waves across both oceans, suddenly California, largely seen back then as a backwater wine producing region, became the cool, hip thing to drink. Some great chapters in this book deal with the history of California viticulture, which was nearly wiped out after Prohibition and rose like a Phoenix in the decades following the Second World War. Much like a last place sports team rebuilding for future championships, you can't help but root for the underdog as you read Taber's book! Forget the movie Bottle Shock--read the Judgment of Paris instead!!
Quite a long book with much detail on Napa wines and the history behind their development. The Judgement story is quite well done.
The Judgment of Paris - the blind tasting between California and French wines in Paris circa 1976 - a momentous event in the world of wine! A compelling read for non-oenophiles and wine enthusiasts alike. Recounted in a cheerful manner without too much technical argot, the story is fascinating.
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