How much you enjoy Judgment of Paris depends a lot on what you want to get out of it. The book tells the story of a famous blind tasting in Paris of "California versus France", as well as giving a good history on California wine making and effects the tasting had on New World wine. It's well written, very readable, and surprisingly accessible for a book on wine- you don't need to have a good knowledge of wine to get a lot out of this book, and there is much to learn about the history of wine in California.
What it isn't, though, is a detailed analysis on the wines themselves and the reasons why some were rated higher than others. There are over 160 pages before you get to the wines that were actually included in the tasting- and even then, the stories about the people involved seem to take precedence over the wines and vineyards. There's also a pretty clear New World bias throughout- so if you like French wine, it can make for tough reading at points. Definitely a "popular wine" book.
Even if you did want a more technical read, this is still a fun book. There are some great romantic stories about how poor immigrants came to California with wine-making skills and work their way up to be wine-makers beating the top French vineyards, and how people spent their life savings to get a chance to make wine. You really get a good sense of the way attitudes to wine-making and selling have changed over time, and the tasting itself is a pretty important one, so it is nice to have a book written on it. Overall: a fun, light read: 7/10.
I found this book to be entertaining, well written and thoughroughly researched. The author details each California character's background, qualifications and history with some interesting anecdotes. There is also reference to some current day wine characters. I found all their stories captivating and the history of wine in California particularly helpful. If you are looking for a lot of detail on the French side, there is not as much but it's a great book for anyone interested in wine and particularly those studying wine.
A must for wine lovers.A detailed and involving story about the people and events that changed Californian wine from it's jug-wine image to becoming a match for the best of French wines. It traces the beginnings of a small group of dedicated wine makers who struggled to achieve the dream of making wine from Napa and Sonoma the best in the world and the culmination of their efforts in 1976 when the wine world was changed forever. The book is out of print but good used copies can be found at sensible prices.Demand is rising because of the two films of this book recently released.It is not a book you can read at one sitting as there is a huge amount of detail so it is best read in sections.It will wet your appetite to holiday in Napa area , see these wineries and taste the wines .
Well, what a well written & entertaining book. It takes a while to get to the actual tasting but only because of the wonderful descriptions of the key players. For instance, just read, appreciate and admire Mike Grgich's journey from early days in Croatia right up to star winemaker. Determination, commitment, focus on excellence etc etc; no wonder the wines are so good!!
All in all, a wonderfully enlightening insight into a key event in the wine world and this, normally slow reader, finished it in under two days!!
A truly mesmerising and informative insight into the rise of the global wine trade and the amazing progression achieved by a select few who believed in a dream and made it come to pass bearing those fruits in the stunning backdrop of Napa valley and nearby Sonoma.
Exceptional book and an absolute must for anyone with even the remotest interest in wine. Couldn't put it down!
This was given as a gift to my father-in-law, who is a wine enthusiast in his mid-60s. He was delighted with it and tore through it in 2 days, and now keeps dropping little tidbits of information into conversation.