Everything changed for the California wine industry in 1976, thanks to a now famous blind tasting where California wines surprised international tasters. Before that momentous match, real wine only came from very specific regions of France. Now we have legitimate bottles from all over the world.
Bottle Shock is an entertaining telling of how Paris wine shop owner Steven Spurrier orchestrated the event. It’s a look at the early days of California wine-making, and though not completely accurate in the details, offers a glimpse of the birth of world wines. There have been many disputes over the real tale, apparently documented in the book Judgment of Paris , by George Taber (the only reporter present at the 1976 tasting). You can see a quick glimpse of the facts here.
The world may now recognize wines from other continents, but don’t go looking for them on wine lists in France. The French still make claim to the only real wine in the world. And that’s okay, because drinking anything else in France would be a serious shame. But we suggest exploring beyond the classic Bordeaux’s and bottles of Burgundy. There are other interesting wine frontiers to discover in France. Here’s a New York Time’s article about the surprising wines from our southernmost region of France, and why Americans like them.