Napa Valley

The Judgment of Paris



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In 1976, a British wine merchant organized a blind taste test in Paris, pitting California wines against French wines. There was a popular assumption among the French wine aficionados that the French wines would claim an easy victory. The 11 judges (mostly French) went about tasting and grading – turning up their noses on this wine and that wine (clearly these were the American wines) — and giving high marks to the perfectly balanced, complex good wines (which of course could only come from France).

Or so they thought.

It was Chateau Montelena’s 1973 Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap’s 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon — both from right here in Napa Valley — that kicked ass, taking the top prize for red and white wines. 

Imagine the party.

...and that’s how Napa Valley became world-famous.

...the Smithsonian even houses bottles of the winning vintage in their permanent collection.

See the movie Bottleshock for a Hollywood version from Montelana’s point of view