On May 24th 1976, a couple of expats living in Paris rented the courtyard of the Intercontinental hotel for a short period of time between a luncheon and an afternoon wedding party. Into this little courtyard, they brought a few of the top French wine writers and critics at the time, and they proceeded to serve them a series of wines to evaluate blind.

Mixed in with some of the top white Burgundies and red Bordeaux were a number of California wines that the organizers were hoping to introduce to their French colleagues as representative of what California could produce. Knowing that the French would be dismissive of California wines by default, Stephen Spurrier and Patricia Gasteau-Gallagher opted to serve them blind with the French wines for comparison, and with that simple decision, they changed the wine world forever.

Only one journalist was in attendance at the event that would become known as the Judgment of Paris. Given that he was the only journalist in attendance, Time Magazine’s George Taber was the only person at the event provided with a list of the wines being poured and the order in which they would be poured. It was just another boring wine tasting until Taber noticed that the French judges were routinely mistaking the California wines for their French counterparts.

The small story that Taber wrote in Time Magazine was only 4 paragraphs long, and appeared in the Modern Living section towards the back of the magazine. But that was enough to set the world of wine aflame, and change it forever.

Ten years ago, I attended a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris as part of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, which was attended by Stephen Spurrier and George Taber, among others. I chronicled their remembrances at here on Vinography.

In advance of the 45th anniversary of the event, wine concierge and events impresario Angela Duerr began speaking with Stephen Spurrier about holding an event to celebrate that anniversary, and to build on the idea behind the original tasting. Spurrier got very excited at the prospect, and in late 2019 the preparations began for a major celebration that would pit the wines of Napa against the best wines of the world in a blind tasting.

Of course, that was all before another world-changing event on an entirely different scale descended upon the globe.

The Judgment of Napa 2021

Despite the pandemic, Duerr persisted, and despite the sad passing of Steven Spurrier in March and further postponement, the event finally was held last week in Napa.

A number of different activities accompanied the event, the first of which was a vertical tasting of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ SLV, the 1971 bottling of which “won” the original blind tasting on that fateful day in Paris in 1976. This tasting was followed by festivities that offered the opportunity to taste a number of wines from producers whose wines had also been included in the tasting.

Notably, in addition to good wine and good food, this event at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars also involved the presentation of a resolution from the California State Legislature honoring Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher, Steven Spurrier, and George Taber for their role in changing the world of wine.

Here are my notes on the wines tasted that afternoon:

1987 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Medium to dark ruby in color with bricking at the rim, this wine smells of cedar, forest floor, leather, and bacon. In the mouth, the wine is distinctly salty with red apple skin, dried cherries, and a little green herb note along with the juicy umami character. Excellent acidity still, with some heat on the finish. Powdery, chalk-dust tannins. Contains 8% Merlot. Aged for 13 months in 100% new French oak. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $130.    

1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Dark ruby in color, this wine smells of cherry, sweet mushroom, and leather. In the mouth, fine, mouth-coating tannins wrap around a core of cherry, leather, earth, and dried herbs, all with great acidity and juiciness. Faintly saline, with still-sweet fruit, this is a delicious wine that seems like it might be at its peak. Includes 5% Petit Verdot. Aged for 18 months in French oak. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $250. click to buy.  

1995 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Medium ruby in color and throwing some sediment, this wine smells of forest floor and a hint of smoked meat. In the mouth. Red apple skin, mulling spices, cedar, and leather flavors mix with forest floor, with lovely cocoa powder and salty umami notes. Excellent acidity and length. Touch of heat on the finish. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $399. click to buy.  

2003 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry, licorice, cocoa powder, and a hint of floral aromas. In the mouth, wonderfully juicy cherry and black currant flavors are shot through with licorice, dried herbs and espresso. Fantastic acidity and very fine, restrained tannins. Quite pretty. Contains 1.2% Merlot, and was aged for 27 months in French oak. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $165. click to buy.  

2013 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry, cassis, and graphite. In the mouth, fine tannins drape like a fleece blanket over flavors of black cherry, cassis, cocoa powder and espresso. Comes across as quite smooth. Aged for 13 months in 100% new French oak. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $160. click to buy.  

2015 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, cassis, licorice and just the barest hint of nail polish. In the mouth, muscular tannins wrap around flavors of licorice, black cherry, and espresso tinged with the faint bitterness of almond skin. There’s a touch of heat on the finish. Very good acidity. Aged for 21.5 months in 95% new French oak. Score: around 9 . Cost: $200. click to buy.  

2018 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “SLV” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, cassis, and a hint of earth. In the mouth, fine, muscular tannins wrap around a core of cassis, violets, black cherry, and licorice. Great acidity and fantastic length in the mouth. There’s some lovely aging potential here. Aged for 20 months in 100% new French oak before bottling. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $190. click to buy.  

2011 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California
Bright yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd, pineapple and toasted hazelnuts. In the mouth, lemon curd and buttered popcorn mix with toasty sourdough and hints of pink grapefruit. Lovely balance between richness and bright acidity. Pretty saline notes. Tasted out of magnum. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $125 (for a magnum). click to buy.  

1997 Freemark Abbey “Sycamore Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of forest floor, thyme and rosemary, licorice and black fruits. In the mouth, gorgeous, powdery tannins wrap around a core of black cherry, blackberry, dried and fresh green herbs. Wonderful bright acidity and freshness still. Outstanding. 14.2% alcohol. Tasted out of magnum. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $150.

1979 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Medium ruby in the glass with orange at the rim, this wine smells of smoked meats, cedar, forest floor and crushed dried herbs. In the mouth, silky flavors of cedar, dried flowers, herbs, and a lovely umami note mixes with a darker mushroomy earth and leather note that lingers with licorice root in the finish. Tasted out of a 5L bottle. Score: around 9. Cost: $n/a.

Remembering a Momentous Day and a Remarkable Man

The main event, of course, was the blind tasting that pitted Napa wines against some of the best wines in the world. But before the tasting got underway, the guest of honor, Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher spoke a bit about how the Judgment of Paris came to be.

Of course, Steven Spurrier was on everyone’s mind throughout the event. Thanks to Duerr having begun preparations for this occasion long in advance (including sending video teams to meet with Stephen and George Taber—who also was unable to attend in person) the attendees were treated to video messages from Steven speaking about how much this event meant to him, and how much he wished he could attend in person.

In a poignant moment, we all raised a glass of Steven’s Bride Valley sparkling wine, even as he did so, months prior, in the video captured for the event.

The late Steven Spurrier offering a toast to the attendees of the Judgment of Napa

NV Bride Valley Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, Dorset, England
Pale gold in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of oyster shell and lemon oil. In the mouth, wonderfully bright lemon oil and a touch of orange peel flavors are delivered on a velvety mousse, zippy with fantastic acidity. Quite delicious mouthwatering finish with a saline kick. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $60. click to buy.

Surprise guests were promised as part of the event, but that didn’t keep Paul Draper from getting a standing ovation when he arrived to honor a request to read the statement written by Bella Spurrier, Steven’s widow.

At the conclusion of Draper’s reading, Gastaud-Gallagher rose to embrace him and to share just how much his long relationship with Steven meant to the late Spurrier.

George Taber’s son Dan was in attendance for the celebration, as was another figure who doesn’t get enough credit for her role in the Judgment of Paris: Joanne Dupuis, a wine tour operator and friend of Patricia’s who was responsible for bringing the California wines to Paris in time for the tasting.

Joanne Dupuis

Dupuis had set up a wine tour to bring some Americans to Europe, and Patricia had suggested to Steven that this might be the solution to getting the wine to Europe, since Steven didn’t have an import license.

“Steven called me and said, ‘Help, I need to get these wines to Paris and I don’t have any way to do it!’” recalled Dupuis. “So I said, ‘Um, sure.’”

Spurrier arranged to have three cases of wine delivered to Dupuis’ home in Napa but she wasn’t able to be home for the delivery, so she left the door open for the delivery.

“When I arrived home I found my son and some of his friends from Berkeley were there,” said Dupuis, “and as I walked in the door he said, ‘Hey Mom, some of those wines were really great.’”

Thankfully, he was joking, and the wines were successfully checked as baggage to Paris on TWA, arriving unscathed but for one broken bottle, which Spurrier was able to replace easily.

The rest, they say, is history.

Tasting Napa Against The World

The blind tasting of Napa wines was not just against the wines of France this time, but against some of the world’s great wines.

The judging was done primarily by an “Event Panel” — a group of consumers (who paid for the privilege to taste these two flights of wine) joined by a set of VIP judges, including winemakers Andy Erickson, Aaron Pott, Ted Edwards, Angelina Mondavi, and Peter Mondavi, Jr.

In addition, a group of us made up a so-called “Expert Panel” of judges, including Masters of Wine Peter Marks and Susan Lin, Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, and wine writers Karen MacNeil, Patrick Comiskey, Clare Tooley, Virginie Boone, and myself.

These two groups of judges blind-tasted two flights wines: 10 whites and 10 reds.

Here are the wines in each flight, ordered as ranked by the Event Panel—i.e. the “official” ranking results of the competition.

White Wines and Their Event Panel Ranking

1) 2018 Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia
2) 2018 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches, Premier Cru, France
3) 2018 Kistler Vineyards “Vine Hill” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma California
4) 2018 Aubert Wines “CIX” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California
5) 2018 Hudson “Seashell” Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa, California
6) 2018 Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet, Grand Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
7) 2018 Peter Michael “Belle Cote” Chardonnay, Knights Valley, Sonoma, California
8) 2018 Gaja “Gaia & Reg” Chardonnay, Langhe, Italy
9) 2018 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault “Les Charmes” Premier Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
10) 2018 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles” Premier Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Look at that! The top wine for the was the cheapest Chardonnay in the flight and it comes in a screwcapped bottle!

Red Wines and Their Event Panel Ranking

1) 2016 TOR Wines “Beckstoffer To Kalon” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley, California
2) 2016 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
3) 2016 Château Léoville Las Cases, St-Julien 2ème Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
4) 2016 Colgin “Tychson Hill” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
5) 2016 Penfolds “Bin 707” Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia
6) 2016 Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy
7) 2016 Ridge “Monte Bello” Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
8) 2016 Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 1er Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
9) 2016 Château Montrose, St-Estèphe 2ème Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
10) 2016 Viña Almaviva Bordeaux Blend, Puente Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile

There was obviously great excitment (and yes, actual pyrotechnics) in the room when the TOR wine was announced as the popular winner and Napa had triumphed again.

Tor Kenward and Andy Beckstoffer celebrating the results

So what did I think of the wines? Well, here are my tasting notes, written blind for each of the wines, as well as my scores for them. Bear in mind, as judges we were given only about 20-30 minutes to evaluate these wines, so my notes are perhaps not as detailed or as complete as they could have been.

I have also ordered the wines how I personally ranked them from top to bottom, favorite to least favorite.

The ten whites we tasted blind
My White Wine Tasting Notes and Scores

2018 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru “Les Pucelles,” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of struck flint and lemon pith. In the mouth, bright acidity keeps lemon pith and lemon curd flavors lean and juicy while a stony core of the wine shines through with notes of wet pavement and flint. Outstanding. Meursault? Score: around 9.5. Cost: $475. click to buy.

2018 Ramonet Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and white flowers and lemon zest. In the mouth, lemon peel, lemon pith, and white flowers are shot through with a deep stony minerality that lingers with wet chalkboard notes in the finish. Excellent. Lean, bright. Burgundy. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $880. click to buy.

2018 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Premier Cru “Clos des Mouches” Blanc, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and white flowers. In the mouth, bright lemon curd and lemon pith flavors have a nice bright juiciness and very good acidity. Pastry cream with hints of vanilla layer in over the top. Classic Burgundian profile. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $190. click to buy.

2018 Kistler Vineyards “Vine Hill” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma California
Pale yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of pineapple and lemon curd. In the mouth, silky flavors of lemon curd and pineapple have decent but not fantastic acidity. Rich and juicy, but perhaps riper than I would like. The acidity is sneaky, actually and creeps up on you. Faint sweetness lingers in the finish. New World? Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $160. click to buy.

2018 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Premier Cru “Les Charmes,” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and lemon pith. In the mouth, wonderfully stony flavors of lemon pith and grapefruit pith have a delicate filigreed acidity. There’s not quite as much briskness here as I would like but the minerality here is undeniable. Definitely Burgundy. Score: around 9. Cost: $370. click to buy.

2018 Peter Michael “Belle Cote” Chardonnay, Knights Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of faintly tropical fruits with a hint of yeastiness. In the mouth, tropical notes of mango dance with lemon curd and faint floral notes. Softer acidity, and a riper aspect. There’s something exotic about this wine. But I wish it had more briskness. New World. Score: around 9. Cost: $125. click to buy.

2018 Aubert Wines “CIX” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and lemon curd. In the mouth, silky flavors of lemon curd and wet pavement have a sneaky acidity that creeps up on the palate, while white floral notes and lemon zest notes linger in the finish. There’s also a touch of alcoholic heat here. Tough, but… old world? Score: around 9. Cost: $220. click to buy.

2018 Hudson “Seashell” Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa, California
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and melted butter. In the mouth, melted butter, lemon curd and vanilla cream soda flavors don’t have enough acidity to keep them truly brisk, leaving a somewhat heavy, satiny feel to the wine. New World. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $100. click to buy.

2018 Gaja “Gaia & Reg” Chardonnay, Langhe, Italy
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of pineapple and a hint of brewers yeast. In the mouth, soft flavors of lemon, yeast, and pineapple have less acidity than I would like. Bright lemon curd and a hint of candied pinapple linger in the finish. New World. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $250. click to buy.

2018 Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia
Palest gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of lemon. Pineapple, and oak. In the mouth, toasted oak and nutty notes mix with lemon curd and pink grapefruit. Decent acidity and brightness, but a little heavy handed on the oak. New World. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $85. click to buy.

* * *
I think it’s kind of funny that my rankings were almost diametrically opposite the Event Panel when it came to the white wines. I don’t think that’s so surprising knowing my tastes, especially when it comes to Chardonnay. I also felt pretty good about my guesses for new vs. old world on the whites, but hats off to Marc Aubert for making me guess Burgundy.

OK, on to the reds.

The ten reds we tasted blind
MY RED WINE TASTING NOTES AND SCORES

2016 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of lush, sweet black cherry and black plum fruit. In the mouth, sweet cherry and plum fruit is juicy and bright with fantastic acidity. Gorgeous muscular tannins wrap around the core of this wine which comes off as aromatically sweet more than on the palate. Rich, plush, and tasty, with a hint of graphite in the finish.Napa for sure. Score: between 9.5 and 10. Cost: $950. click to buy.

2016 Château Léoville Las Cases, St-Julien 2ème Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry, wet pavement and graphite. In the mouth, extremely juicy black cherry and cassis flavors mix with dried and green herbs, and fantastic acidity. Tight, fine-grained tannins. But the acidity. Wow. Old world. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $500. click to buy.

2016 Colgin “Tychson Hill” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of super-ripe cherry and raisins. In the mouth, rich plum and black cherry flavors are nestled into fleecy tannins that coat the mouth and stiffen over time. But there’s wonderfully plush dark fruit here that doesn’t approach overripe even though the nose suggested it. Just deep rich black cherry fruit that’s powerful and dark and aromatically sweet. Napa? Score: around 9.5. Cost: $695. click to buy.

2016 Penfolds “Bin 707” Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry and black cherry with a hint of eucalyptus. In the mouth, flavors of black cherry, blackberry and mint peg this squarely as an Australian Cabernet perhaps with Shiraz added. Pinfolds Bin something or other? Bright acidity, juicy and delicious. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $500. click to buy.

2016 Château Montrose, St-Estèphe 2ème Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet with purple highlights, this wine smells of boysenberry and wet earth. In the mouth, really stony flavors of blackcurrant and black cherry are wrapped in a thick muscular fist of tannins. Excellent acidity and that deep stony earthy note makes me think this is Bordeaux. Faint hints of graphite on the finish. Really damn pretty. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $220. click to buy.

2016 Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac 1er Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and herbs, with a touch of graphite. In the mouth, fantastically bright acidity makes dark cherry flavors stony and bright while tight tannins coat the mouth. Deeply mineral and bright, but slightly austere at this point in its evolution.Old World. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $850. click to buy.

2016 Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of ripe cherries and raisins, dark chocolate and tobacco. In the mouth, plush tannins that gain muscle over time wrap around a core of black cherry and cassis fruit mixed with dark chocolate, tobacco leaf, and a hint of bitter wood and alcoholic heat on the finish. Excellent acidity. Napa? Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $250. click to buy.

2016 Ridge “Monte Bello” Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Inky, opaque garnet in color, this wine smells of rich black cherry, blackcurrant and chocolate. In the mouth, black cherry, cassis and black plum flavors have a plum skin brightness thanks to fantastic acidity even as a weighted blanket of fine-grained tannins sits heavy on the palate and constricts through the plummy finish. Massive but with acidity enough to keep it drinkable. Comes across as a little high octane? This one needs some time. Napa? Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $270. click to buy.

2016 TOR Wines “Beckstoffer To Kalon” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of finely medicinal notes graphite and black fruit. In the mouth, fine grained muscular tannins close in a fist around a core of deep black cherry and Japanese red bean paste and pencil lead. Licorice and floral notes in the finish but this is a dark brooding tannic beast. Southern Hemisphere? Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $310. click to buy.

2016 Viña Almaviva Bordeaux Blend, Puente Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile
Dark garnet in the glass with ruby highlights, this wine smells of stewed vegetables and herbs layered over red fruits. In the mouth, black cherry and plum flavors mix with chopped herbs and a hint of that vegetal note. I think there’s some brett here. Decent acidity. New world. Chile? Score: around 8.5. Cost: $150. click to buy.

* * *
I’m not entirely surprised that I chose the Scarecrow as my first choice, as that wine impresses me every time I taste it, no matter the vintage. I am shocked that I enjoyed some of the Bordeaux wines as much as I did, as I don’t consider myself particularly a great fan of Bordeaux in general.

I’m personally a little ashamed that I didn’t spot the Monte Bello—a wine that I’ve tasted a lot, that I think is quite distinctive and recognizable, and that one could have bet would be included in this tasting. And I called it high-octane when it was probably the lowest alcohol of all the New World wines. Oh well, that’s blind tasting for you. I did manage to spot both the Australian wine and the Chilean wine (!) quite easily, so that makes me feel good. It’s a bummer the Almaviva didn’t show very well in comparison to the rest.

I was fairly surprised that there wasn’t an Argentinean wine in the flight or a South African. But I guess there were only so many slots.

Here’s the combined/averaged rankings of our Expert Panel for both flights, in case you were interested.

EXPERT PANEL RANKING: WHITES

1) 2018 Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” Chardonnay, Margaret River, Australia
2) 2018 Ramonet Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
3) 2018 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru “Les Pucelles,” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
4) 2018 Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Premier Cru “Clos des Mouches,” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
5) 2018 Aubert Wines “CIX” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California
6) 2018 Hudson “Seashell” Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa, California
7) 2018 Kistler Vineyards “Vine Hill” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
8) 2018 Gaja “Gaia & Reg” Chardonnay, Langhe, Italy
9) 2018 Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Meursault Premier Cru “Les Charmes,” Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
10) 2018 Peter Michael “Belle Cote” Chardonnay, Knights Valley, Sonoma, California

Expert Panel Ranking: Reds

1) 2016 Château Léoville Las Cases St-Julien, 2ème Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
2) 2016 Château Montrose St-Estèphe, 2ème Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
3) 2016 Ridge “Monte Bello” Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
4) 2016 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
5) 2016 TOR Wines “Beckstoffer To Kalon” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa Valley, California
6) 2016 Colgin “Tychson Hill” Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
7) 2016 Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 1 er Cru Classé, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
8) 2016 Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy
9) 2016 Penfolds “Bin 707” Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia
10) 2016 Viña Almaviva, Puente Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile

* * *
As you can imagine, it was great fun to taste these wines, and the challenge of doing so blind always adds some excitement to the process.

The tasting itself aside, the event proved a wonderful, nostalgic tribute to the Judgment of Paris, and an intimate look into a momentous occasion in the modern history of wine. And of course, the whole thing was quite a poignant celebration of Steven Spurrier, who is dearly missed by everyone who knew him, myself included.

As the event concluded, Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher stood up one last time and entreated everyone present to keep doing these kinds of tastings, not just in celebration of the event she and Spurrier put together, but because she believed this kind of tasting was truly meaningful.

So stay tuned, there may be more “Judgments” to come in the future.

Photos by Rebecca Skidgel courtesy of The Cultured Vine.