Judgment of Paris 1976

On May 24, 1976 a British wine merchant Steven Spurrier organized a competition in Paris in the form of blind tasting between French and Californian wines. Best French wines competed against the best Californian ones.

Steven Spurrier lived in Paris and traded only with French wines. As anyone who has come across French wines, Spurrier expected a total defeat of Californian wines in favour of the French ones. During his visit to the US, however, he became convinced that one can taste really fabulous wines even in California. So he chose the best wines and brought them to Paris.

Spurrier invited leading experts, restaurant owners, hoteliers and others, see the list below, to a wine tasting. Given that it was a blind tasting, none of the jurors knew which wines were being tasted. Each wine could have been ranked with up to twenty marks. There were no criteria to assess wine. Finally, all the votes of the jurors were counted and each wine got calculated arithmetic average ratings. On this basis, the wines had been sorted. It is interesting that ranking from a single representative from the US and also from Steven Spurrier were not counted as they didn´t come from France.

To the surprise of the whole world, Californian wines won the category of white wines (Chateau Montelena Chardonnay), as well as the category of red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon Stag's Leap). This event has become a huge sensation and Californian wines gained great popularity.

Steven Spurrier repeated this event in 2006. This time he was absolutely convinced that French wines prevail. But he was wrong. Californian wines won again.

Final results

White wines

1. Chateau Montelena (USA)

2. Meursault Charmes Roulot (France)

3. Chalone Vineyard (USA)

4. Spring Moutain Vineyard (USA)

5. Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin (France)

6. Freemark Abbey Winery (USA)

7. Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon (France)

8. Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive (France)

9. Veedercrest Vineyards (USA)

10. David Bruce Winery (USA)

Červená vína

1. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (USA)

2. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (France)

3. Chateau Montrose (France)

4. Chateau Haut-Brion (France)

5. Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello (USA)

6. Chateau Leoville Las Cases (France)

7. Heitz Wine Cellars Martha's Vineyard (USA)

8. Clos Du Val Winery (USA)

9. Mayacamas Vineyards (USA)

10. Freemark Abbey Winery (USA)

Judges

Pierre Brejoux (France)

Claude Dubois-Millot (France)

Michel Dovaz (France)

Patricia Gallagher (USA)

Odette Kahn (France)

Raymond Oliver (France)

Steven Spurrier (GB)

Pierre Tari (France)

Christian Vanneque (France)

Aubert de Villaine (France)

Jean-Claude Vrinat (France)