The US has emerged victorious in a blind tasting last night by experts in London and California pitting US and French wine against each other. The contest recreated a tasting 30 years ago in which France was defeated after French experts decided wines from California were better that year. The result 30 years ago was seen as a blow to French national pride and shocked the country's wine industry.
|France takes on US rivals in historic blind winetasting at Berry Bros. & Rudd to win coveted title of `World's Finest Wine' Producer.|
Part of the point of the exercise was to see whether the 1970s Californian reds had aged as well as the great Bordeaux first growths. The tasting took place at two locations. One tasting was at Berry Bros & Rudd's London Wine Shop in St James's Street. The US tasting was held at Copia, the US centre for wine, food and the arts, in the Napa Valley, California.
Nine judges there sampled ten unlabelled glasses of decades-old wines. The combined scores from both panels gave victory to wines from California's Napa Valley. A 1971 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon received the highest points.
"I'm very impressed," said Christian Vanneque, a French judge who was at the original tasting in 1976. "I don't know if I will be able to go back to France," he added. "After a second time, they will kill me."
On the European side, the contingent was headed by British wine writer Steven Spurrier, who organised the original tasting. "I expect the outcome to be much friendlier this time," Mr Spurrier said. "The results last time caught the judges off-guard, and I'm afraid many of them reacted rather badly."
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May 24 story: Judgment of Paris: 1976 France v US winetasting duel to be recreated on 30th anniversary