The Judgment of Paris
Come on now, you know you’ve watched Bottle Shock like 500 times. … …. What? … No. This aggression will not stand, dude. Go watch Bill Pullman be a jerk to his hella grown son in the 70’s at least 5 times and come back, only then can we talk.
Okay cool, glad you’re back. So apparently this Paris tasting they did in 1976 actually happened, and of course Chateau Montelena won for the whites, and at least 50 people cared at the time. The red side of the competition, while lacking in overt communism, pitted California Cabernet Sauvignons, which can’t be less than 75% Cab Sauv grapes, against Bordeaux reds, which are typically a blend of five grape varietals that are traditionally cultivated in the Bordeaux winegrowing region on the banks of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers.
– Side note – I’ll never forget the day we went to Dominico, an extremely urban winery on the Peninsula, and the dude in the tasting room asked me immediately after pouring the first wine, “What are the five Bordeaux varietals – GO!!” and then he stared at me for several hella intense, uncomfortable seconds while I first swallowed the sip I had just taken, and then tried to reassemble the shambles of my on-the-spot memory. “Ummmm, I think one is Cab Sauv? YES. Umm, maybe umm, … COME ON. YOU KNOW THIS. (P.S. this was the first time I’d ever met him) Ummmm Merlot? YESSS. WHAT ELSE?!! Oh boy, uhhh, CAB SAUV CAB FRANC MAL-BEC MER-LOT PETIT VERDOT. Oh yes, of course, thank you!” I’ll never forget those varietals ever again. – End side note –
Sooo. Judgment of Paris, right. CA Cabs had to be at least 75% Cab Sauv, and Bordeaux reds had to be a blend consisting of the only five varietals allowed, as mentioned above. If you use the average scores for the reds, the Clos du Val 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon placed 8th, although even being included in the tasting was clearly really difficult because Alan Rickman can be a tough bastard.
But what’s even better? They had a reunion tasting in 2006, where they tasted the exact same wines and vintages, 30 years later to see which ones had held up the best. And the Clos du Val 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon hella placed 5th (but only because two other wineries tied for 3rd, so that technically makes Clos du Val 4th. Just sayin is all…)
All of this proves that 1. Clos du Val makes a pretty fantastic Cab, and 2. It sure is hard to get a little respect, even as a world-class wine maker.
And as a random “yes I’ve been drinking” factoid (hopefully these are rare in the annals of this blog), in my inner soul, I feel that all Clos du Val wines have a certain “purple” character to them. Is it lavender? Is it lilac or violet? Not sure, maybe it’s all of them, but it’s definitely Clos du Val.