The Judgement of Paris at The UK’s Wine Hotel in Berkshire
24 Apr 2015
• May 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the seminal wine tasting in 1976
• Guests at The Vineyard can recreate The Judgement of Paris Blind Wine Tasting
• Sample the finest French and Californian wines paired with award-winning cuisine by Daniel Galmiche
• Five-course Judgement of Paris dinners can be tailored to other wines fusing Old and New worlds
The Judgement of Paris (or the Paris Wine Tasting of May 24 1976) is seen as one of the most pivotal moments in wine history. A blind wine tasting of French and Californian wines, nearly forty years ago, that forever changed the future of winemaking when unknown Californian wines were chosen over some of France’s finest by some of France’s top wine aficionados. Organised by British wine merchant Steven Spurrier, excellent Californian Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons were tasted alongside white Burgundies and Bordeaux reds. For Californian winemakers—and for winemakers around the world—the event transformed the industry.
Those in attendance included journalists Odette Kahn the editor of La Revue du Vin de France and George M. Taber from Time Magazine. A comedy drama film; ‘Bottle Shock’, was released in 2008 and is based on the Judgement of Paris and stars Alan Rickman.
From then on Sir Peter Michael, owner of The Vineyard, was inspired. The Paris tasting set him on a journey to California in search of a suitable vineyard location, which he found in 1982 starting the Peter Michael Winery in Knights Valley, Sonoma.
In 1998 he opened the five-star Vineyard hotel in Berkshire, now established as the UK’s leading wine hotel. Here, amongst some 30,000 bins in the Vineyard’s striking glass wine cellar, over 800 Californian wines on the list include a unique collection from Peter Michael’s own vineyard.
The story of the Paris tasting lives on at the Vineyard. The hotel’s impressive art collection includes a huge canvas of the legendary 1976 Judgement of Paris commissioned by Sir Peter in honour of the event. Steven Spurrier was invited to The Vineyard to unveil the extraordinary work of art.
Here, in an atmosphere devoted to gastronomy, guests may recreate their very own blind tasting with wines matched to each of seven delicious courses prepared by French chef Daniel Galmiche. Traditionally a French and Californian glass are served with each course and the diner decides which they prefer. The sommeliers can also suggest alternative old and new world wines for diners to compare and ultimately judge. Each Judgement of Paris dinner also includes two blind taste tests to decide where the wine originates from; France or California.
At the end of the dinner, guests raise a glass east to California or west to France. Which country gets your vote?
The Judgement of Paris seven course menu is priced £184pp including twelve tasting wines. Accommodation and breakfast is priced from £247 based on two guests.
The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU 01635 897589