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10.26.2006

Kicking Them While They're Down

After you've added insult to injury, what is your next step? Do you pile on ridicule? I almost don't even want to blog about this, as it's really not my intention to poke my fingers in the eye of the French, whose wines and country I adore. But someone has, yet again, tried to do a comparative tasting between California and French wines and, yet again, California wines have come out on top.

The irony of the latest tasting is that it was engineered by the French, for the French, and in direct response to the last such tasting (the Re-Judgement of Paris, as it was dubbed) which was believed to have been faulty, or even, as some claimed, rigged. The prime complaint with the last tasting was that it was tasting a year (1976) that was a pretty mediocre one for Bordeaux wines. The suggestion being that had a good year been chosen, that the French wines would not have suffered such a defeat.

Well, in this latest tasting, a year that was excellent by everyones standard for both California and Bordeaux (1995) was chosen, and the results? Well, I won't editorialize. A double blind tasting of all the following wines conducted by wine experts from all over the world resulted in the following rankings:

1 Abreu (Madrona Ranch)
1 Beringer Private Reserve
3 Pahlmeyer Propriatory Red
3 Valandraud
5 Latour
5 Shafer Hillside Select
7 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve
7 Ausone
9 Leoville Les Cases
9 Phelps Insignia
11 Mouton Rothschild
12 Mondavi Reserve
13 Cheval Blanc
13 Palmer
15 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet
16 Trotonoy
17 Araujo
18 La Jota Anniversary Reserve
18 Le Bon Pasteur
20 Pride Reserve
21 Haut Condissas
22 Spring Mountain
23 Petrus
23 Rollan de By
25 Chateau Montelena
26 Mouton Rothschild
27 Monte Bello Ridge
28 Cheval Blanc
29 Dominus
30 Colgin
31 Margaux
32 Spotteswoode
33 Le Tertre Roteboeuf
34 Haut Brion
35 La Mission Haut Brion
36 Croix de Labrie
37 Screaming Eagle
38 Harlan Estate
39 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud