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Tasted 30 years later: They're alive!

A rematch of the historic 1976 Paris event proves California reds age gracefully, as they topple French classics.

May 31, 2006|Patrick Comiskey | Special to The Times

"Thirty years ago no one knew we would be celebrating this event," said Winiarski, "and every year its impact seemed to get bigger and bigger."

What conclusion are we to draw from all this?

"There is great doubt in my own mind," wrote wine critic and author Nathan Chroman in The Times 30 years ago about the original Judgment of Paris, "as to whether these types of odious comparisons really prove anything more than that people who should know better like to indulge in them." But he goes on to say that it used to mean something to compliment a California bottling by mistaking it for French.

"Those days are gone forever," he writes, "as California wines can stand alone nicely, thank you."

Apparently those words age nicely too.



Judgment in Paris 30 years later

These are the results of the anniversary Judgment of Paris tasting of red wines from France and California held May 24, simultaneously in London, at Berry Bros. & Rudd, and in Napa, at Copia. The listing represents the combined scores of nine judges in London and nine in Napa. The second number, in parentheses, represents the rank of the wine in 1976.

For a complete list of results, including the rankings of younger vintage wines from California, Bordeaux and Burgundy from four subsequent flights and this one, visit 1971 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains (5)

2. 1973 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (1)

3. (TIE) 1970 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (9) and

3. (TIE) 1971 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (7)

5. 1972 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (8)

6. 1970 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Paulliac (2)

7. 1970 Chateau Montrose, Saint Estephe (4)

8. 1970 Chateau Haut-Brion, Graves(3)

9. 1971 Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases, Saint-Julien (6)

10. 1969 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (10)

-- Patrick Comiskey

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