Synopses & Reviews
Told for the first time by the only reporter present, this is the true story of the legendary Paris Tasting of 1976 -- a blind tasting where French judges shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France's best -- and its revolutionary impact on the world of wine. andlt;BRandgt; The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History houses, amid its illustrious artifacts, two bottles of wine: a 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and a 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. These are the wines that won at the now-famous Paris Tasting in 1976, where a panel of top French wine experts compared some of France's most famous wines with a new generation of California wines. Little did they know the wine industry would be completely transformed as a result, sparking a golden age for viticulture that extends beyond France's hallowed borders -- to Australia, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, and across the globe. andlt;BRandgt; Then Paris correspondent for andlt;Iandgt;Timeandlt;/Iandgt; magazine, George M. Taber recounts this seminal contest and its far-reaching effects, focusing on the three gifted unknowns behind the winning wines: a college lecturer, a real estate lawyer, and a Yugoslavian immigrant. At a time when California was best known for cheap jug wine, these pioneers used radical new techniques alongside time-honored winemaking traditions to craft premium American wines that could stand up to France's finest. andlt;BRandgt; With unique access to the main players and a contagious passion for his subject, Taber renders this historic event and its tremendous aftershocks in captivating prose, bringing to life an eclectic cast and magnificent settings. For lovers of wine and anyone who enjoys a story of the entrepreneurial spirit of the new world conquering the old, this is an illuminating and deeply satisfying tale.
"In 1976, a Paris wine shop arranged a tasting as a gimmick to introduce some California wines; the judges, of course, were all French and militantly chauvinistic. Only one journalist bothered to attend, a Time correspondent, looking for a possible American angle. The story he got turned out to be a sensation. In both red and white blind tastings, an American wine won handily: a 1973 Stag's Leap cabernet and a 1973 Chateau Montelena chardonnay. When the story was published the following week, it stunned both the complacent French and fledgling American wine industries and things have never been the same since. Taber, the Time man, has fashioned an entertaining, informative book around this event. Following a brisk history of the French-dominated European wine trade with a more detailed look at the less familiar American effort, he focuses on the two winning wineries, both of which provide him with lively tales of colorful amateurs and immigrants making good, partly through willingness to experiment with new techniques. While the outrage of some of the judges is funny, this is a serious business book, too, sure to be required reading for American vintners and oenophiles. Photos. Agent, Wendy Silbert. (Sept. 27)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The only reporter present at the mythic Paris Tasting of 1976and#8212;a blind tasting where a panel of esteemed French judges chose upstart California wines over Franceand#8217;s bestand#8212;for the first time introduces the eccentric American winemakers and records the tremendous aftershocks of this historic event that changed forever the world of wine.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contestand#8212;a blind tastingand#8212;a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over Franceand#8217;s best.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;George M. Taber, the only reporter present, recounts this seminal contest and its far-reaching effects, focusing on three gifted unknowns behind the winning wines: a college lecturer, a real estate lawyer, and a Yugoslavian immigrant. With unique access to the main players and a contagious passion for his subject, Taber renders this historic event and its tremendous aftershocksand#8212;repositioning the industry and sparking a golden age for viticulture across the globe. With an eclectic cast of characters and magnificent settings, andlt;iandgt;Judgment of Parisandlt;/iandgt; is an illuminating tale and a story of the entrepreneurial spirit of the new world conquering the old.
About the Author
George M. Taber is the author of andlt;iandgt;Judgment of Parisandlt;/iandgt;, the 2006 wine book of the year for Britain's andlt;Iandgt;Decanter andlt;/Iandgt;magazine.andnbsp;His second book, andlt;iandgt;To Cork or Not to Corkandlt;/iandgt;, won the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award for best book on wine andandnbsp;spirits and the Andre Simon Award for best wine book. Before turning to writing wine books, Taber was a reporter and editorandnbsp;for andlt;iandgt;Time.andlt;/iandgt;