Judgement of Paris 1976 French vs Californian wines

Judgement of Paris 1976 French vs Californian wines


I've been reading the excellent book by George M Taber called "Judgement of Paris" - California vs France and the historic 1976 Paris tasting that revolutionised wine. 

The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or "The Judgment of Paris" was a wine competition held in Paris on 24 May 1976 organised by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, who owned a wine store in the city. French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons of the highest quality wines from California and France, one of Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). 

The results were surprising and ground breaking given that a Californian wine won in both the red and white competitions despite a notable French judging panel. The event was so controversial that some of the judges withdrew their ratins and Odette Kahn of the Revue du Vin de France criticised the tasting saying it was biased against the French wines.

The tasting panel in 1976 consisted of:

  • Pierre Brejoux of the INAO, Claude Dubois-Millot, Michel Dovaz and Patricia Gallagher of the Academie du Vin, Odette Kahn, editor of the Revue du Vin de France, restaurateur Raymond Olivier, Pierre Tari of Chateau Giscours, sommelier Christian Vanneque of Tour d’Argent, Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Jean-Claude Vrinat of the restaurant Taillevant, and George Taber of Time magazine.

The results of the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting

White wines:
United States – Chateau Montelena 1973
France – Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973
United States – Chalone Vineyard 1974
United States – Spring Mountain Vineyard 1973
France – Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin 1973
United States – Freemark Abbey Winery 1972
France – Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon 1973
France – Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive 1972
United States – Veedercrest Vineyards 1972
United States – David Bruce Winery 1973

Judgement of Paris Grades White Wines

Red wines:
United States – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973
France – Château Mouton-Rothschild 1970
France – Château Haut-Brion 1970
France – Château Montrose 1970
France – Château Leoville Las Cases 1971
United States – Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1971
United States – Mayacamas Vineyards 1971
United States – Clos Du Val Winery 1972
United States – Heitz Wine Cellars ‘Martha’s Vineyard’ 1970
United States – Freemark Abbey Winery 1967

Judgement of Paris Grades Red Wines

Winning Red: Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 1973

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Winemaker Warren Winiarski

Winemaker Warren Winiarski

Winning white: Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973

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Wine maker Mike Grgich

Wine maker Mike Grgich