Thirty-one years ago, France lost what must have been at least its fifth war against the United States. On the hallowed battleground of the vineyard (actually, in Paris), Californian wines bested French wines in a blind tasting, 12-8. This was an incredible blow to the French psyche and national pride, which were understandably shaky. Nevertheless, the Judgement of Paris (or the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, as it is less dramatically known), represented the grand entrance of Californian (and American, for that matter) wines onto the world stage. Of course, there was backbiting and recriminations following the judgement - anger about tabulation methods and so forth - but year after year at tastings, Californian wines seemed to have the edge. At last year’s 30th anniversary tasting, California topped France by a hair.
This year, lowly you can participate in the (well, a) 31st anniversary tasting at Park Grill, this evening from 5:30pm-7:30pm ($35, includes tax and tip!). The tasting list is as follows: Montelena, Chalone, Spring Mountain, Puligney Montracet Pernot, Domaine Roger Lassert, Seguinot Bordet (All Chardonnay); Stag’s Leap, Clos Du Val, Heitz, Chateau Haut Brion, Les Enfant Terrible, Chateau Haut Chatain (all Bordeaux or Bord. Blends). Plus, there will be an assortment of French and American cheeses, pates, sausages and pastries. We think the price is right, and given the competitive nature of this event, maybe fisticuffs!
A tidbit: in blindfolded (not just blind) tastings, many amateur drinkers cannot tell the difference between red and white wines at the same temperature. This would be a fun activity for a dinner party, no?