I’ll Drink to That: Wine Legend Steven Spurrier

Episode 418 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Steven Spurrier, a Consulting Editor for Decanter Magazine. Steven is famed for conducting the “Paris Tasting” of 1976, wherein wines from California bested the French in a blind tasting.

Steven Spurrier changed the course of wine in a single day considerably further than many do with a career. Spurrier’s 1976 Paris event, which pitted California wines against the French in a blind tasting, marked the beginning of a new era for wine appreciation across the world. It opened the door to global competition in wine production, and put aside any assumptions that only certain regions could make great wine. Spurrier couldn’t have guessed what effect his tasting in May 76 would end up having, but it does seem that he has lived a sort of charmed life from the beginning. We are in fact talking about someone who seriously considered retiring from active employment while still in his 20s, by his own admission. But we are also talking about someone who had a remarkable tendency to be in the right place at the right time, a sort of luck that may have been created by his tendency to go where others were not going. “Everyone else was going to Italy, and I went to Spain,” Spurrier says in this interview, by way of explaining his fascination with bullfighting. As a young man, Spurrier continued to charge ahead by taking up the wine trade in Paris, instead of in London. That he was an English speaker in the Paris metropolitan area gave his shop a distinct advantage with the American firms headquartered nearby. And that then paved the way for the tasting that would set the Spurrier name indelibly in the wine world.

Listen to this episode:

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine