Tuesday, May 24, 2011

35 Years After the Judgment of Paris and 2 Months After the Virginia Wine Bracket Challenge

If you haven’t seen the movie Bottle Shock, it is definitely worth watching, preferably with a bottle of wine or two. The movie depicts the organization of the Judgment of Paris wine tasting where California wines beat out their French counterparts through a blind tasting that was comprised of all French judges. The movie is very enjoyable, and not just because Severus Snape is cast as the wine merchant who organized the tasting.

35 years ago today, the Judgment of Paris put the international wine world on notice that terrific wine doesn’t need to come just from France or Italy. The New World is more than capable of creating high quality wines – and is even capable of producing superior wines – than those of the Old World. What constitutes "the New World" of wine keeps growing and expanding.

California is now part of the wine world’s Establishment – with Napa Valley wines rivaling those of France in terms of both reputation and price tag. What was true of the Judgment of Paris, however, is still true today: upstart wine regions are capable of holding their own against more established wine regions. Wines coming out of Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Oregon, New York and Virginia can stand toe-to-toe with wines from France, Italy, Germany, Napa and Sonoma Counties. What’s more, you can find much better values on wines coming from emerging wine regions than you can on wines from more established regions. I have recently had a Chilean Pinot Noir by Anakena, an Argentinean Syrah by Fingerprints, and a Virginia Rosé by Fabbioli Cellars that rival similar offerings from the Old World or California.

Our Virginia Wine Bracket Challenge was held two months ago, with wines from Virginia and Chile taking top honors. I’m not claiming that our tasting will put Virginia on the wine map the way the Judgment of Paris put Napa Valley on the wine map. For one thing this blog is far, far away from being Time Magazine. For another, the fact that great wine is now being produced all over the world isn't all that newsworthy. It seems like there's a hot new wine region emerging every year. As wine consumers, it means that we’re fortunate to be able to have such an abundance of high quality wines readily available to us at great prices. Some are from further away than we could ever have imagined while others are from our own backyard.

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