Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George M. TaberThe Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest -- a blind tasting -- a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over Frances best.
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 aftershocks -- repositioning the industry and sparking a golden age for viticulture across the globe. With an eclectic cast of characters and magnificent settings, Judgment of Paris is an illuminating tale and a story of the entrepreneurial spirit of the new world conquering the old.
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Movie ‘Bottle Shock’ recounts the historic 1976 Paris wine-tasting contest
The director and cast, including stars Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman, and hundreds of others gathered to view the film, which is loosely based on the Paris Tasting that helped put California on the world's wine map. Anticipation has been running high for Bottle Shock since the crew began filming in Napa and Sonoma counties last summer. Comparisons to Sideways are inevitable, but Bottle Shock stands comfortably on its own: It's a crowd-pleaser, charming and surprisingly funny, though schmaltzy and calculatedly Hollywood at times. Considering its limited budget, the movie is visually beautiful, relying largely on locations around the city of Sonoma. East Napa Street, just off the plaza, substitutes for Paris, for example. Concerned about reaching a broader audience than just wine aficionados, director Randy Miller used the Paris Tasting as a backdrop to tell personal stories albeit highly fictionalized stories about real people.
It started as a small-business owner's publicity stunt. It created a small-business revolution. Confident that French wines had no competition, the most prestigious wine experts in France agreed to judge. The outcome: Top honors went to California wines, both red and white. The wine world was shocked. Worldwide, opportunities opened up for small, entrepreneurial winemakers. Steven Spurrier owned a small, struggling wine shop in Paris.
I am a shepherd. Rickman is a hoot as Spurrier, though nothing like the actual man -- who is not at all a snob, though indeed guilty of having a tony British accent. Making the wine merchant a pompous ass obviously works better for the plot. The sight of Rickman in a three-piece bespoke suit languidly dipping his hand into a bucket of KFC that sits beside him in the crummy car he rents to explore Napa Valley may just be worth the price of admission. It also omits until the closing credits any mention of the wine that triumphed over the French in the red wine category. And as Jim Barrett, the former L. The winery is going to make it after all.
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Bottle Shock is a American comedy-drama film based on the wine competition termed the "Judgment of Paris" , when California wine defeated French wine in a blind taste test. Sommelier and wine shop owner Steven Spurrier Alan Rickman , a British expatriate living in Paris , is concerned with how to save his business in his daily conversation with Maurice Dennis Farina , a wine lover from Milwaukee who is Spurrier's regular sometimes only customer. He concocts a plan to hold a blind taste-test intended to introduce Parisians to the quality wines coming from elsewhere in the world. Spurrier travels to the not-yet-famous Napa Valley in search of contestants for his Judgment of Paris taste test, where a chance meeting introduces him to founding vintner Jim Barrett Bill Pullman of Chateau Montelena. Barrett wants no part in it, believing it to be a set-up designed by the French to humiliate New World wine producers. Barrett's son, Bo Chris Pine , secretly passes Spurrier a couple of bottles of the Chateau's chardonnay for the competition. Comely and nonconformist university graduate student Sam Futon Rachael Taylor arrives at Chateau Montelena seeking an internship, and is promptly put to work while stirring up interest among Bo and vineyard foreman Gustavo Freddy Rodriguez.