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World Wine Cup

worldcup.jpgFrench wine writer Francois Mauss and his Grand Jury European just could not leave well enough alone. Instead of letting the Judgement of Paris 2 fade into memory they had to try, try, try again. Seeming determined to prove the superiority of French wines he staged his own head-to-head competition under what he deemed more fair conditions as he selected a year that was equally fine in both Bordeaux and Napa - the 1995 vintage. Once again the California wines whipped the French wines - much to the delight of the Californians. Check out the comments on the blogs listed here.

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I think both sides are missing the point as all such tastings do is show what wines taste better when compared with other wines. What they don’t show is what bottles will better grace your dinner table. Proving that we all come from the same genetic code, the French judges showed they have the same human faults as Americans when presented with rows and rows of glasses to rank the bigger, oakier and fruitier wines won out.

Think not? Check out the results for the most part the bigger wines are at the top of the charts, while more elegant bottles languish at the bottom. So you get winners like the Beringer, Valandraud, Latour and Shafer and losers like Margaux, Spottswoode, Dominus and Cheval Blanc.

It is ridiculous to try to prove somehow that French wines are better than California wines or Italian wines or Australian wines for that matter. The wines of each country and region are supposed to taste different. All these competitions do is fuel the fire that is burning away those individual characteristics in the pressure cooker of commercial realities.

Hopefully, someday we once again can think of wine as part of a meal instead a culinary World Cup. 

Below are the results of the Grand Jury. What each of these wines have in common is their excellence - something demeaned by putting them in such a ranking. There in last place at #39 is the Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill made by winemaker Al Brounstein who recently passed away.  Such a wine and such a winemaker deserve more respect. As the Californians rejoice over their latest victory they should remember as long as we judge wines in such a pointless way that their turn will come - just like it has for the French. We can only hope that the Australians don’t catch on.

1 Abreu (Madrona Ranch)
1 Beringer Private Reserve
3 Pahlmeyer Propriatory Red
3 Valandraud
5 Latour
5 Shafer Hillside Select
7 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve
7 Ausone
9 Leoville Les Cases
9 Phelps Insignia
11 Mouton Rothschild
12 Mondavi Reserve
13 Cheval Blanc
13 Palmer
15 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet
16 Trotonoy
17 Araujo
18 La Jota Anniversary Reserve
18 Le Bon Pasteur
20 Pride Reserve
21 Haut Condissas
22 Spring Mountain
23 Petrus
23 Rollan de By
25 Chateau Montelena
26 Mouton Rothschild
27 Monte Bello Ridge
28 Cheval Blanc
29 Dominus
30 Colgin
31 Margaux
32 Spotteswoode
33 Le Tertre Roteboeuf
34 Haut Brion
35 La Mission Haut Brion
36 Croix de Labrie
37 Screaming Eagle
38 Harlan Estate
39 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill