Location: The Tents at Snug Harbor
459 Washington Street, Duxbury
Date: Saturday, September 30th, 2017
2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
As part of A Grand Tasting, all ticket holders are invited to attend this special series of presentations. Topics will range from historical moments in winemaking to wine-related travel, discussion of specific vineyards’ offerings, and food and wine pairings for the discriminating palate.
Presenters and topics will be added below as they are confirmed by Grand Tasting organizers. Please check back often for new additions!
George M. Taber on the Judgment of Paris
George M. Taber spent forty years as a reporter and editor, perhaps most notably as National Economic Correspondent and Business Editor for Time magazine, before turning his attention to writing books about wine.
In 1976 Taber published an account in Time about the famous Paris Tasting, when unknown California wines bested the best French wines in a blind Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon tasting. Nearly 30 years later, he delved into the story again in his Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine (Scribner, 2005), which became a best-seller. It was selected as the wine book of the year by Decanter, the British wine magazine. The movie Bottle Shock was loosely based on the story.
At our Grand Tasting, Taber will discuss the origins of that famed blind tasting, his memories as the only reporter there, and his thoughts on what impact that momentous day has had on winemaking in California and wine drinkers’ attitudes on both sides of the Atlantic. Taber will also be signing copies of his Judgment of Paris […] for Grand Tasting attendees.
(Copies will be available for purchase at the event.)
The Wines of Chateau Montelena
Just over forty years ago, two American wines shook the very foundation of the global wine establishment. Until the 1976 Paris tasting, it went without saying that the best wines in the world all came from France. While this assumption was nearly universal, nowhere was superiority more certain than in France itself, where connoisseurs snubbed their nose at California, equating its product with the wines of southern Italy and Spain, regions at which they had happily looked down their collective noses for ages.
At the Judgment of Paris, the first wines tasted were white– California Chardonnays and French Burgundies–all identified to the esteemed panel of nine French judges only by number. When the dust settled and rankings were tallied, one white wine rose above the rest. To the surprise of all and the consternation of many, a 1973 Chardonnay from Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena rated highest with the all-French judging panel (rankings of the American and British judges were not included in the calculation). The shock continued into the round of reds, when again an American wine bested its French counterparts.
It would not be hyperbole to say that one superior vintage of one superior wine from one superior California winery–Chateau St. Montelena–began to turn the tide for Napa wines on the global stage. Indeed, at the time of the tasting in 1976, fewer than 350 wineries were operating in California. Now, just over 40 years later, California wineries number over 4,000. The wine industry employs over 50,000 people nationwide and has experienced 23 consecutive years of growth, bringing in some $1.5 billion in 2015 (Wine Institute). It’s safe to say that without the victories in Paris, none of this would have been possible.
Not one to rest on its laurels, Chateau Montelena has continued producing remarkable wines–both white and red–ever since its watershed victory. Join a representative from Montelena’s New England distributor, Classic Wine Imports, for a discussion of Montelena’s current range of offerings. At the Grand Tasting, you can get a true taste of the winery that helped change the landscape of winemaking forever.