On May 24, 1976 a group of 11 judges sat down for a blind tasting of red and white wines in Paris, looking to see if French or American wines were better. The first battle was six California Chardonnay against four French Burgundies, followed by six California Cabernet Sauvignon against four French Bordeaux. Nine of the judges were French, one was British, and one was American. The assumption all along (and that of organizer Steven Spurrier) was that French wine would be superior and of higher quality than the California wines that were in the competition. Each judge scored wines out of 20…and the results sent shockwaves around the wine world and changed the way that we look at wine. Yes, not only did California’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars take home the prize for best red, Chateau Montelena from California also took first with their white. This is what people now refer to as The Judgment of Paris.
This showed the world (and especially the French wine makers, merchants, and critics) that American wine was just as good…and if not better than French wine. You can learn more about this monumental event and ruling at Stew Leonard’s Wines at 55 Westport Avenue in Norwalk on 4/25 from 6:30-8:30. Bill McPharlin Jr., Northeast Regional Manager of Grgich Hills Estate Winery, will be showing a 12 minute movie entitled “The Life and Wines of Mike Grgich.”
Who is Mike Grgich you ask, and what does he have to do with the Judgment in Paris? Well, he was the winemaker that crafted the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that took first place. McPharlin will also be on hand to talk about George Taber’s book, Judgment in Paris, as well as to provide free tastings of Grgich’s Fume Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel.
The Life and Wines of Mike Grgich and Tasting
4/25/14 from 6:30-8:30
55 Westport Avenue