Usually this time in July a large portion of the sporting world turns its eyes to Europe and the Tour de France. Since its inception in 1903 through the 1970’s, the Tour title was regularly awarded to Frenchmen. Then a shocking event happened in 1986: American Greg Lemond upset the current champion, Frenchman Bernard Hinault. Lemond went on to win the Tour three out of the next five years. Subsequently, no Frenchman has won the Tour since Lemond’s victory. Something similar happened in the world of wine just a few years earlier. Called the Judgement of Paris, there was a wine competition pitting California Chardonnay and Bordeaux styled wines vs. French Chardonnay and Bordeaux. The blind tasting was set up to confirm French wine’s superiority over California except the judges picked the California wines!
The 11 judges (9 from France, 1 each from American and Britain) did more than choose a winner, the judges helped kick-start the California wine industry to the $30+ Billion in yearly sales juggernaut it is today! So please raise a glass and toast to the French for putting on the Tour de France and for putting on The Judgement of Paris.