A blog post explaining what is the judgement of Paris

The Judgement of Paris.

Today is an apt time to talk about “The judgement of Paris”. Not the event in Greek mythology but a wine tasting event held 47 years ago today, 24th May.

The late Steven Spurrier, who ran a wine shop in Paris at the time, organised a blind tasting of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California and France.

All the tasters were respected members of the French wine trade, bar one - an American living in Paris, in one way or another. Critics, restauranteurs, chefs, winery owners, and sommeliers.

The wines carefully selected by Spurrier were:-


France, Burgundy

1973 Meursault-Charmes Premier Cru - Domaine Roulot 

1973 Batard-Montrachet - Ramonet-Prudhon 

1973 Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles - Domaine Leflaive

1972 Beaune Clos des Mouches - Joseph Drouhin 

USA, California

1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 

1974 Charlone Vineyards 

1973 Spring Mountain Vineyards -

1973 Freemark Abbey Winery 

1972 Veedercrest Vineyars 

1973 David Bruce Winery 

Cabernet Sauvignon’s

France, Bordeaux

1970 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 

1970 Chateau Montrose 

1970 Chateau Haut-Brion 

1971 Chateau Leoville Las Cases 

USA, California

1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 

1971 Ridge Monte Bello

1970 Heitz Wine Cellars Martha’s Vineyard

1972 Clos du Val Winery

1971 Mayacamas

1969 Freemark Abby Winery

Whilst, as with all tastings, the tasters all ranked the wines differently the combined scores shocked everyone and sent ripples through the wine trade with a Californian wine coming top in both the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Showing that the wines of California could rival the best in the world and loosening France’s grip as the best wine producing country.

The winners were

1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 

1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 

The furore around the event has continued with a book, two films, Bottle Shock being one, the USA house of representative making it an officially important day for the countries wine industry and bottles of the two winners displayed in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Some of the wines from Bordeaux are still available in the market place, but the Californian wines are rarely seen now.

I think a fun thing to do would be to recreate it in 2026 to mark the 50th anniversary so let the hunting begin.


Photo Credit Zebra Press

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