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Encyclopedia > Paris Wine Tasting of 1976

French wines were generally believed by most people to be the very best wines in the world until 1976. In that year a wine merchant in Paris, Steven Spurrier, organized a prestigious wine tasting in Paris, now known as the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. Spurrier sold only French wines and later said "I thought I had it rigged for the French wines to win." The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...


The jury of nine tasters consisted of the creme de la creme of France's wine tasting experts. The tasting was done blind, so that none of the judges knew what was being poured.


First to be tasted were white wines. The comparison was with Chardonnay - matching the very best French Chardonnays (Burgundy) against California Chardonnays. The winner was a California Chardonnay. Third and fourth place also went to Californian Chardonnays. Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make a white varietal wine. ... Coat of arms of the 2nd duchy of Burgundy and later of the French province of Burgundy Burgundy (French: Bourgogne) is a historic region of France, inhabited in turn by Pre-Indo-European people, Celts (Gauls), Romans (Gallo-Romans), and various Germanic peoples, most importantly the Burgundians and the Franks. ... State nickname: The Golden State Other U.S. States Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) Barbara Boxer (D) Official language(s) English Area 410,000 km² (3rd)  - Land 404,298 km²  - Water 20,047 km² (4. ...


The red wines were then tasted. When the results were unveiled a California wine had again won top honors. Some of the judges tried to get their ballots back, presumably in order to change their evaluations.


The French tried to prevent publicity of the results, but Spurrier had invited a reporter for Time magazine to the event, who promptly revealed the results to the world. Leaders of the of French wine industry then banned Spurrier from the nation's prestige wine-tasting tour for a year, apparently as punishment for the damage his tasting had done to its former image of superiority.


The New York Times reported that several earlier tastings had occurred in the U.S., with American Chardonnays beating their French rivals. One such tasting occurred in New York just six months before the Paris Tasting, but "champions of the French wines argued that the tasters were Americans with possible bias toward American wines. What is more, they said, there was always the possibility that the Burgundies had been mistreated during the long trip from the (French) wineries.” The results of the Paris Wine Tasting in 1976 have subsequently been duplicated repeatedly, although no such comparison has ever again been made in France.


The Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 had a revolutionary impact on expanding the production and prestige of wine in the new world.


Sources

  • 1976 Paris Wine Tasting. California Trumps France: An Upset in the World of Wine
  • French Wine
  • Hinkle, Richard Paul. The Paris tasting revisited. Wines & Vines, August 1996, 77(8), 32-34.
  • Peterson, Thane. The Day California Wines Came of Age: Much to France's Chagrin: a Blind Taste Test 25 Years Ago in Paris inadvertently launched California's fine wine industry. Business Week, May 8,2001.
  • Prial, Frank J. Wine talk: California labels outdo French in blind test. New York Times, June 9,1976.
  • Prial, Frank J. The day California shook the world: May 4, 1976, blind tasting in Paris with U.S. winning highest scores. New York Times, May 9, 2001.
  • Rice, William. Those winning American wines. Washington Post, June 13,1976.
  • Winiarski, Warren. Zut alors! The French like California wine. Wines & Vines, April 1991. 72(4), 28.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (463 words)
French wines were generally believed by most people to be the very best wines in the world until 1976.
Leaders of the of French wine industry then banned Spurrier from the nation's prestige wine-tasting tour for a year, apparently as punishment for the damage his tasting had done to its former image of superiority.
Taber, George M Judgement of Paris: California vs France and the Historic Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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