On the Judge­ment of Paris

Decanter - - LETTERS -

MR BRuNo’S lET­TER (Au­gust 2016 is­sue) ques­tions the re­sults of the 1976 Paris Tast­ing.

This event – which was cre­ated by Pa­tri­cia Gal­lagher and my­self un­der the aus­pices of my wine school l’Academie du Vin, to draw at­ten­tion to the qual­ity of wines made by ‘bou­tique winer­ies’ in Cal­i­for­nia in the early 1970s – is cov­ered in depth in Ge­orge Taber’s book The Judg­ment of Paris (Scrib­ner, 2005). At the end of the book are the in­di­vid­ual judges’ scores for each wine. Ex­am­in­ing the rank­ings of the two wines that ‘won’, you will see that Chateau Mon­te­lena re­ceived six 1st places, one 2nd, one 5th and one 9th. Meur­sault-Charmes, sec­ond on the 20-point scale, re­ceived six 2nd places, two 3rds and one 5th. Stag’s leap Wine Cel­lars re­ceived two 1st places, four 2nds, one 3rd, one 6th and one 8th. Mou­ton-Roth­schild, which was placed sec­ond on the 20-point scale, re­ceived one 1st place, four 2nds, two 3rds, one 4th and one 10th.

In se­lect­ing the Best of Show wines from all the Plat­inum medal win­ners in the De­canter World Wine Awards, five judges taste all the wines within their cat­e­gories and rank them, their top wine re­ceiv­ing one mark, their least favourite that of the num­ber of wines in the flight, the win­ner be­ing the low­est to­tal scorer.

one can dif­fer as to the va­lid­ity of marks out of 20 or 100 if they are added up and di­vided by the num­ber of tasters, as they were at the Paris Tast­ing, but one can­not ar­gue with rank­ings. The Paris Tast­ing gave Mon­te­lena 132 points and Meur­sault-Charmes 126.5, a judge­ment con­firmed by Mon­te­lena’s 22 to 23 on the rank­ing sys­tem. Stag’s leap Wine Cel­lars re­ceived 127.5 points and Mou­ton-Roth­schild 126, 27 to 29 on the rank­ing sys­tem. Steven Spurrier, Lon­don

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