|Christian G.E. Schiller with George M. Taber at the EWBC 2011 in Brescia|
George M. Taber
George M. Taber spent forty years as a reporter and editor, primarily on business affairs, before turning his attention to writing wine books. He was National Economic Correspondent and Business Editor for Time magazine and then started the weekly newspaper NJBIZ, which covered business news in New Jersey. He sold the company in 2005 to concentrate on wine writing.
In 1976, George published an account in Time about the famous Paris Tasting, which put California wine on the world wine map. Nearly 30 years later, he delved into the story again and wrote Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine (Scribner, September 2005). It was selected as the wine book of the year by Decanter. The movie Bottle Shock was loosely based on the story.
George has also written To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle (Scribner, October 2007). In October 2009, George published In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism.
A Californian by birth, George M. Taber graduated from Georgetown University and received a Masters degree from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. He and his wife now split their time between Florida and Rhode Island.
The 1976 Judgment of Paris Tasting
The Judgment of Paris Tasting was a wine competition organized in Paris in 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, in which French judges carried out two blind tasting comparisons: one of top-quality Chardonnays and another of red wines (Bordeaux wines from France and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California). A California wine was rated best in each category – Cabernet Sauvignon: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 and Chardonnay: Chateau Montelena 1973 - which caused surprise as France was generally regarded as being the foremost producer of the world's best wines. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win.
|George M. Taber being interviewed during the Soave trip. For the interview with Christian G.E. Schiller see:|
Although Spurrier had invited many reporters to the tasting, the only reporter to attend was George M. Taber, who promptly revealed the results to the world: “Last week in Paris… the unthinkable happened: California defeated all Gaul,” wrote George. Just those few sentences by George, in a four-paragraph scoop, shook the wine world to its core.
The Judges were (in alphabetical order):
• Pierre Brejoux (French) of the Institute of Appellations of Origin
• Claude Dubois-Millot (French) (Substitute to Christian Millau)
• Michel Dovaz (French) of the Wine Institute of France
• Patricia Gallagher (American) of l'Academie du Vin
• Odette Kahn (French) Editor of La Revue du vin de France
• Raymond Oliver (French) of the restaurant Le Grand Véfour
• Steven Spurrier (British)
• Pierre Tari (French) of Chateau Giscours
• Christian Vanneque (French) the sommelier of Tour D'Argent
• Aubert de Villaine (French) of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
• Jean-Claude Vrinat (French) of the Restaurant Taillevent
California Cabernet Sauvignon versus Bordeaux
1. Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 USA
2. Château Mouton-Rothschild 1970 France
3. Château Montrose 1970 France
4. Château Haut-Brion 1970 France
5. Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1971 USA
6. Château Leoville Las Cases 1971 France
7. Heitz Wine Cellars Martha's Vineyard 1970 USA
8. Clos Du Val Winery 1972 USA
9. Mayacamas Vineyards 1971 USA
10. Freemark Abbey Winery 1969 USA
California Chardonnay versus Burgundy Chardonnay
1. Chateau Montelena 1973 USA
2. Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973 France
3. Chalone Vineyard 1974 USA
4. Spring Mountain Vineyard 1973 USA
5. Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin 1973 France
6. Freemark Abbey Winery 1972 USA
7. Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon 1973 France
8. Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive 1972 France
9. Veedercrest Vineyards 1972 USA
10. David Bruce Winery 1973 USA
The Key Note Speech in Brescia
The organizers of the 2011 European Wine Bloggers Conference managed to fly George M. Taber over to Italy to give the key-note speech at the conference. 'Telling stories' was the theme; here are a few snippets from George's speech:
"Story not about you. It is about your subject."
"Small detail important. Small details bring the character alive."
"Describe the thing that makes a character interesting and do it in detail and do it accurately."
"Best stories not from the source but from their friends and, in particular, their enemies."
"Wine bloggers not in the pocket of the wine industry."
"More honesty from wine bloggers than Robert Parker."
At the Final Dinner
I also networked with George during various tastings and shared the table with him – and Snooth Editor-in-Chief Gregory Del Diaz (who selected the wines and poured the wines at our table) - during the final dinner.
Visiting Soave with George
We both went on a post-conference day trip to the Soave region.
schiller-wine: Related Postings
The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna
Blogging, Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont
Wining and Blogging in the Soave Region, Italy
Christian G.E. Schiller’s Views on Soave – a Video Interview