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May 25, 2006
California Bests France, Again

Thirty years ago, a blind taste test horrified French wine aficionadoes when they selected California wines as the superior varieties. The Times of London reports that the French finally got their rematch yesterday -- and still selected California wines as the victor:

The nose-off began in 1976, when Steven Spurrier, an Englishman who owned a wine shop in the French capital, invited a panel of French experts to a blind tasting of some of their own classic vintages against some Californian reds. To the horror of the entire French wine industry, the Americans won hands down.

Last night Mr Spurrier and a group of British, French and American tasters took part in the 30th anniversary re-enactment to discover whether the shocking defeat for what was then the undisputed world leader in viticulture could be reversed.

A simultaneous sampling of the same wines was staged in the Napa Valley, California’s main wine-producing area, and at Berry Bros & Rudd wine merchants in London.

Despite the French tasters, many of whom had taken part in the original tasting, “expecting the downfall” of the American vineyards, they had to admit that the harmony of the Californian cabernets had beaten them again. Judges on both continents gave top honours to a 1971 Ridge Monte Bello cabernet from Napa Valley. Four Californian reds occupied the next placings before the highest-ranked Bordeaux, a 1970 Château MoutonRothschild, came in at sixth.

Congratulations to my native state. They may have screwed up government and business to the point of disaster, but at least we can salute the debacle with the world's best wine. For those who have never been to California, excellent wineries can be found throughout the state. The most storied are found in Napa Valley, but the Central Valley also has a number of formidable wineries, as seen in the film Sideways (a very entertaining movie). Newer vineyards in Southern California, in the Temecula area, also produce excellent and affordable varieties.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 25, 2006 6:52 AM

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» California Beating the French at their Own Game from Deep Keel
France is well known for many things but perhaps most famous as the place that makes the best wine in the world.  That reputation still lingers but it is no longer true.  Where is the best wine in the world now made?  California.  F... [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2006 2:36 PM


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