Judgment of Paris: California Vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine

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Scribner, Sep 13, 2005 - Cooking - 327 pages
Told for the first time by the only reporter present, this is the true story of the legendary Paris Tasting of 1976 -- a blind tasting where French judges shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France's best -- and its revolutionary impact on the world of wine.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History houses, amid its illustrious artifacts, two bottles of wine: a 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. These are the wines that won at the now-famous Paris Tasting in 1976, where a panel of top French wine experts compared some of France's most famous wines with a new generation of California wines. Little did they know the wine industry would be completely transformed as a result, sparking a golden age for viticulture that extends beyond France's hallowed borders -- to Australia, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, and across the globe.

Then Paris correspondent for Time magazine, George M. Taber recounts this seminal contest and its far-reaching effects, focusing on the three gifted unknowns behind the winning wines: a college lecturer, a real estate lawyer, and a Yugoslavian immigrant. At a time when California was best known for cheap jug wine, these pioneers used radical new techniques alongside time-honored winemaking traditions to craft premium American wines that could stand up to France's finest.

With unique access to the main players and a contagious passion for his subject, Taber renders this historic event and its tremendous aftershocks in captivating prose, bringing to life an eclectic cast and magnificent settings. For lovers of wine and anyone who enjoys a story of the entrepreneurial spirit of the new world conquering the old, this is an illuminating and deeply satisfying tale.

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User Review  - JohnCouke - LibraryThing

This is more than just the story of the 1976 Paris tasting. It is also a great read for wine novices, as it covers most wine-making regions and grapes used around the world, as well as the process of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cerfercat - LibraryThing

A very detailed account of wine-making in California. But it got bogged down too much in this detail for my tastes and, ultimately, I stopped reading three-quarters of the way through. Read full review

Contents

PROLOGUE
1
A Driving Dream
5
The Little Wine Shop in Cite Berryer
7
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

George M. Taber is the author of Judgment of Paris, the 2006 wine book of the year for Britain's Decanter magazine. His second book, To Cork or Not to Cork, won the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for best book on wine and spirits and the Andre Simon Award for best wine book. Before turning to writing wine books, Taber was a reporter and editor for Time.

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