The United States likely wouldn’t exist without France, and how did we repay them? By taking the thing they held most dear – wine. Yes, The Judgment of Paris proved that California wine is better than French wine.
More on that below. If you’re a wine lover in Chicago, this event is for you. Morton’s Steakhouse is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1976 Judgment of Paris with a reception and dinner featuring top shelf (not that wine goes on shelves) American wine pairings from from Chateau Montelena, Heitz, Ridge, Freemark Abbey, Clos du Val, and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.
It’s a guided tasting, with representatives of each winery on hand to answer your burning questions, like “What exactly does “earthy” mean?” (Hint: “smells like barnyard”). This is the perfect chance to learn while you swirl that very expensive Cabernet.
Morton’s Judgment of Paris event info
The event takes place on Thursday, August 4th, at the Original Morton’s at 1050 North State Street. Reception begins at 6:30pm with dinner at 7:00pm. Tickets are $200 per person and are inclusive of tax & gratuity.
They used the term “once in a lifetime experience” in the promo below, and that might actually be true for once. Unless you rock a sizable wine collection or regularly spend a fortune on bottles, you’ll likely never put this collection of wines together at what turns out to be a very reasonable price.
- Heitz, “Martha’s Vineyard”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
- Clos du Val, “Stag Leap District”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
- Ridge, “Montebello”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
- Freemark Abbey, “Bosche”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
- Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, “SLV”, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
- Mayacamas, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa
- Chateau Montelena Chardonnay
So what’s this whole The Judgment of Paris thing we’re celebrating? Only the best thing to happen to American wine since Manifest Destiny. A British wine merchant, Steve Spurrier, organized a wine competition in Paris in 1976. Spurrier only sold French wine, so he essentially brought the poor little American wineries there to embarrass us.
The competition pitted French Bordeaux wines against American Cabernets as well as Chardonnay from both countries. After the blind taste-testing was through, an American wine scored highest in both. And boom goes the dynamite.
If you want to learn more, just watch the Alan Rickman and Bill Pullman movie, Bottle Shock.
There were a host of problems with competition, which the French lean on to dismiss the results, but at the end of the day we won. Mediocre planning is just a testament to how arrogant the French were that their wine was so much better they didn’t need to worry about scoring techniques or sample sizes.
Obviously France wanted another shot at the champ, but the U.S. cabernets have won every re-match since the original Judgment of Paris. Further proof that American wine is awesome.