Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: Bottle Shock: Could Colorado Ever Pull Off Its Own "Judgment of Paris?"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bottle Shock: Could Colorado Ever Pull Off Its Own "Judgment of Paris?"

The wine buzz surrounding the movie Bottle Shock is probably the greatest since Sideways. And with reason. For starters, there aren't too many good movies about wine...the documentary Mondo Vino comes to mind, as does John Cleese's wittily instructional Wine for the Confused. But Google "wine" and "movie" and the filmography you return is surprisingly slim.

Bottle Shock tells the story of the now fabled 1976 blind tasting, the so-called "Judgment of Paris" where California wines dominated over French wines. It put Napa and Sonoma on the map. But the question is, could tiny, artisan Colorado wineries ever dominate California or French wines in a blind competition? To be sure, the medals lining the walls of many of our state wineries attest to their quality. But a shut out? Our terroir is kinder to whites than red, because the growing season is so short, but we don't have the rots and blights of warmer climates. Although we can medal in specific categories, Colorado can not match the breadth or volume of California wines. Sheer acreage determines this, as much as anything. It's like we're a tiny country at the Olympics competing against a massive, well funded country like America or China. Just being in the competition is an honor. Anyway, go see the movie and celebrate by cracking open a bottle of Colorado wine afterwords.

In the Houston Chronicle, Dale Robertson writes:

"Bottle Shock tells an important tale. As every oenophile knows by now, "The Judgment of Paris" (the headline Time put on George M. Taber's story about the tasting) gave California its rightful place on the world's wine map. The 1973 Château Montelena Chardonnay and the '73 Stag's Leap Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon defeated some of the greatest wines Burgundy and Bordeaux had to offer in this 1976 blind tasting, organized by Parisian wine merchant Steven Spurrier at the Intercontinental Hotel (which resembles not at all the picturesque ruin of a chapel where the movie places it).

"California's rise to global prominence was perhaps inevitable. The Napa-Sonoma terroir was perfect, and the best American winemakers at least as skilled as their French counterparts, not to mention hungrier. But the tasting's surprising outcome — the judges all were members of France's wine elite — surely fast-forwarded the process.

You can read the rest of the article here.

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