Saturday, May 27, 2006

Otra vez!

California Wines Beat French in Rerun of 1976 Tasting

May 25 (Bloomberg) -- A selection of Californian cabernet wines beat French rivals in a rerun of a historic tasting held in Paris 30 years ago that helped establish Californian vintages on the international wine market.

The tasting, hosted in London by the wine writer Steven Spurrier, who organized the original Paris contest in May 1976, awarded top marks to a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello from Cupertino. Second was a Stags' Leap 1973, which won the original contest.

Two panels of judges, including nine in London and nine in California, tested the red wines side by side. While the 1976 event was a blind tasting, judges were told this time whether the unmarked wines were from California or Bordeaux.

Spurrier said the 1976 tasting had been a ``wake-up call, the first crack in the wall of the superiority of French wine.'' He said advances in wine-making in the past three decades had improved production from both regions, and said he was surprised the Californian wines had been so dominant in this contest.

The top Bordeaux contestant was a Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1970, which came in sixth. All the Bordeaux wines were left-bank, cabernet-based wines, and no right-bank Merlots were represented.

The tastings were held in London in the cellars of the wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd, and in Napa Valley at Copia, the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts.

Each judge ranked the 10 competing wines in order, awarding their favorite a score of one and least favorite a 10. Following are the top six:

1. Ridge Monte Bello 1971 (61 points).
2. Stags' Leap, Napa Valley, 1973 (79 points).
3. Heitz Martha's Vineyard 1970; and Mayacamas 1971. Both Napa
Valley (86 points). Joint third.
5. Clos du Val, Napa Valley 1972 (92 points).
6. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac 1970 (93 points).


Post a Comment

<< Home