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The Judgement of Paris in recent portrayals


Completely O/T but there is no current thread I can attach to and it is not worth starting a fresh one for.
The latest mail shot from the WS includes Society News and on the inside page an article on Stephen Spurrier promoting his book, there is a photo of the now famous Judgement of Paris tasting that had a Napa Valley red beat the famous Bordeaux blends, but the photo shows all holding glasses of which would appear to be white wine, it can’t be water as the judge on the right of photo has two glasses both white and there is no red in sight, mystery or logical explanation ?

Own Label Good thing Bad thing,

The Judgement of Paris tasting was of 10 reds AND 10 whites so I guess that is a logical explanation?


That explains it though I have never seen or heard, till now, about any white wines bieng involved as only the red result is ever mentioned, thanks for that.
I looked on the web and it is indeed Chardonnays that were tasted alongside ! the reds very little is said about that side of the tasting even though an American Chardonnay won that side of the competition as well, I admit to never having looked beyond the initial result for the reds…

What was interesting is that the experiment was repeated with similar results on later dates, no wonder the French were upset.


The film Bottle Shock (starring the late, great Alan Rickman as Stephen Spurrier) focusses on the Judgement of Paris. The main protagonist is the son of one of the American winery owners, Chateau Montelena who won for their Chardonnay.


Bottle Shock is, arguably, not the place to go for accurate historical representation of this event :wink:


Bottle Shock, is it curable, just asking…


I think I have a book somewhere (Judgement of Paris)… is that the right place?


It’s by George Taber, I haven’t read it, obviously !, but I have seen it quoted.


Quoting @Tamlyn’s excellent review:

It didn’t just change the world of wine. It changed Spurrier’s life. And for the last 40-odd years he’s been known primarily as the man who orchestrated The Judgment of Paris – the most written-about wine tasting in history. This has, ironically, been not quite a curse but, as he admits in this book, is a source of frustration. It brought him a world of opportunity, but it’s also overshadowed his other achievements, of which there are many. Add to that the Hollywood misrepresentation of the Judgment of Paris in the movie Bottle Shock, in which Alan Rickman stars as Spurrier in a script so riddled with inaccuracies that Spurrier called it ‘deeply insulting’, it’s entirely appropriate and timely that he’s finally decided to write his memoirs and in doing so not only set the record straight but present a much more three-dimensional picture of his fantastically interesting life.


So @szaki1974 you could try reading George Taber’s book, or buy Steven’s own one :slight_smile:


Bottle Shock is a travesty in just so many areas.

No one would have known about this tasting if American journalist George M Taber hadn’t written a small piece about it in Time magazine

If you want to know what really happened read Taber’s book ‘Judgement of Paris’.

It’s good


There is now - this very much sidetracked the previous topic and has some interesting comments of its own :slight_smile:


It’s funny that everyone remembers the reds and not the whites. I would have said that the triumph of the whites makes more sense - I’ve always thought that putting quality clarets (15+ years in the cellar advised) up against Californian reds which tend to show well from the outset was always a bit of a stretch. Admittedly these were the days before the massively overblown Cali Cabs scene really hit its stride, but still…


One glaring irritation of Bottle Shock (apart from the tasting being filmed unmistakeably in California insted of a Paris hotel) is that Alan Rickman portrayed Steven Spurrier.

Spurrier was 35 at the time of the tasting, Rickman was 62 when he portrayed Spurrier.

The movie is basicallly ‘good ole Americans whup the ass of cheese eating surrender monkeys’…


Not everyone…

Montelena Chardonnay was the highest scoring of all the wines


You are right of course! But I think it is generally the case that the reds come to mind first in public discourse.


Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t suggesting the film was a solid work of truthful historical film-making (Sergei Bondarchuk’s Waterloo it ain’t), simply that it was how I first became aware of the tasting and it does heavily feature the white wines.


Unfortunately some of us (by which I mean me) are old enough to remember it at the time…

Up to then few US and even California restaurants featured many CA wines, and when they were listed it was often at the end of the list under the heading of ‘Domestic’. And they were keenly priced.

After the tasting, prices shot up…


Thanks for this, just picked up George Taber’s book on Amazon! :slight_smile:


The tasting was rerun on the 30th anniversary to test the theory that the French reds would show better with age but the result was the US showed better than the first time.