This week marks the 45th anniversary of a landmark event in the wine world. The Judgment in Paris 1976 was a blind tasting of red (Cabernet Sauvignon) and white (Chardonnay) wines that matched the elite Bordeaux chateaux against the upstart California producers.
Strong nationalism was evident among the French judges but a blind tasting leveled the playing field. To the surprise of everyone, California wines were judged superior to French wines and the French were in disbelief. Today, California wines are ranked with the world’s best but many Europeans (especially French) fail to recognize wines of other countries.
Nationalism is defined as “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations”. During my trips to Italy and France in past few years I have noticed the scarcity of American wines for sale in wine stores. In France, there were no American wines and only few Italian wines. In Italy Champagne was the only French wine. Is it Nationalism?
To prove my theory, I asked my Italian tutor in Tuscany (Carrara) to send photos of American and French wines sold in wine stores (negozio di vini). Not surprisingly, the photos showed no American wines, and the only French wine was champagne.
I’m Interested if there is another explanation – your thoughts?
Cheers, Bob the WineGuy
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