In 2004 I decided to try an experiment… While I could not duplicate the exact wines from the now famous Judgment in Paris tasting of 1976, I thought matching up some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from Napa Valley and those of Bordeaux would be a fun, competitive way to spend an afternoon. Seven years and four tastings later, I have a veritable wine-bath on my hands. I thought it would be fun to look over the four tastings and see how things are fairing.

The first installment took place on October 16, 2004. I was looking to taste a set of six wines that were at equivalent quality levels with the same degree of maturity and drinkability. The results were as follows:

By Wine

Wine

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

(3 pts)

(2 pts)

(1 pt)

1991 Heitz Trailside Vineyard

0

1

1

3 pts

1987 Spottswoode

0

0

2

2 pts

1987 Forman

0

2

1

5 pts

1990 Leoville-Barton

1

1

0

5 pts

1990 Pichon-Baron

3

0

0

9 pts

1990 Haut-Brion

2

2

1

11 pts

By Region

Napa Valley

10 pts

Bordeaux

25 pts

The next installment took place on April 21, 2007. California was looking for payback, but we were committed to keeping an even playing field. Once again I tried to match wines of equal breeding that were showing well. The results were as follows:

By Wine

Wine

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

(3 pts)

(2 pts)

(1 pt)

1994 Forman

0

1

4

6 pts

1996 Dunn

6

2

1

23 pts

1994 Joseph Phelps Insignia

4

2

3

19 pts

1995 Fieuzal

1

4

1

12 pts

1990 Lynch-Bages

1

2

3

10 pts

1990 Haut-Brion

4

2

1

17 pts

By Region

Napa Valley

48 pts

Bordeaux

39 pts

So with the score tied 1 to 1, a rematch was called for and on October 10, 2009 Napa squared off against Bordeaux for the third time. In this installment I dug deep to find some really special bottles, wines that at the time of their release were considered spectacular. The results were as follows:

By Wine

Wine

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

(3 pts)

(2 pts)

(1 pt)

1987 Dunn

0

1

0

2 pts

1987 Opus One

0

0

0

0 pts

1987 Caymus Special Select

4

2

0

16 pts

1983 Kirwan

1

2

1

8 pts

1988 Cheval Blanc

4

1

0

14 pts

1986 Margaux

0

2

0

4 pts

By Region

Napa Valley

18 pts

Bordeaux

22 pts

France barely pulled out a victory, so it was inevitable that a fourth match-up would need to take place. On October 22, 2011 the mighty regions squared off again this time with wines from one of the best vintages of the last century. The results were as follows:

By Wine

Wine

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

(3 pts)

(2 pts)

(1 pt)

1987 Silver Oak

1

0

1

4 pts

1985 Dunn Howell Mountain

2

1

1

9 pts

1985 Heitz Martha’s Vineyard

0

0

1

1 pts

1985 Clerc Milon

0

1

1

3 pts

1985 Pavie

5

1

1

18 pts

1985 Lynch-Bages

4

4

0

20 pts

By Region

Napa Valley

14 pts

Bordeaux

41 pts

So after four installments, France has a commanding lead with 3 check marks in the win column. Point-wise the French have 127 points to Napa’s 90 points, a fairly sizable margin. Where does it go from here? Well if history repeats itself, I imagine a fifth match-up in 2013, either in April, or October…

Should be fun, as usual!

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