May 27, 2006


At the tasting of 10 red and 10 white wines, evenly split between French and American in both classes, the panel awarded the top place in both categories to Californian wine. A Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973 topped the white wines, beating famous French names such as Puligny-Montrachet.

In the red category, a Stag’s Leap Cabernet-Sauvignon 1973, now unobtainable, beat names such as Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1973 (now roughly £100 a bottle).

There was only one journalist there. The French media stayed away, assuming the result would be a bore.

It wasn’t.

UPDATE: More on the new result here:

French and California winemakers marked the 30th anniversary of the storied Judgment of Paris tasting with another sip-and-spit showdown.

California won — and by more than a nose.

The domestic wines took the top five of 10 spots, with a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello cabernet sauvignon from the Santa Cruz mountains coming out on top Wednesday.

“Today was a snapshot in time and all the stars were aligned properly. We had a lot of fun,” said Peter Marks, director of wine at Copia, the Napa Valley wine and arts centre where the New World end of the tasting was held. A European panel of tasters met at a London wine merchant to give their rating.