Book Review: Judgment of Paris

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.


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  1. Trackback: Introduction to Wine Structure « oxfood

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