Recognition of Californian Wines

In 1976, wine experts met at the Hotel Intercontinental Paris for a blind tasting of wines from California and France. Among the wine connoisseurs present were well-known editors of Wine magazines, gourmet restaurant managers, owners, sommeliers, talented winemakers and finally the organizers of the event, Steven Spurrier and Patricia Gallagher from Academy of Wine.

Participants had to note to 20 selected red and white wines exposed in neutral bottles not to be influenced by the label. After a glass of Chablis 1974, the tasting starts. Experts begun to attribute notes according to color and clarity, nose, mouth and harmony of each vintage.

Then, to everyone's surprise, at the end of the tasting, American wines came before the French Wines…

Imagine the scandal and controversy since up to this tasting, The wines of the New World have always been considered of lesser quality than their elders. The Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in 1973 received the best score of 14.14 among the red wines while the Chateau Montelena 1973 was designed the best white wine with a 14.4 grade.

Of course critics cried to stunt and manipulation, yet the result was obvious: for the first time in wine history, professionals have judged the California wines surpassing French wines.

Below the first five of the ranking by category:

White Wines (Chardonnay) :

  1. USA - Chateau Montelena 1973
  2. France - Roulot (Meursault Charmes) 1973
  3. USA - Chalone Vineyard 1974
  4. USA - - Spring Mountain Vineyards 1973
  5. France - Joseph Drouhin Le Clos des Mouches (Beaune) 1973

Red Wines :

  1. USA - - Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973
  2. France - Château Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac) 1970
  3. France - Château Montrose (Saint-Estèphe) 1970
  4. France - Château Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) 1970
  5. USA - - Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1971