Forty years ago, the name “Napa Valley” meant little to anyone who wasn’t already living there. To those in the wine industry, it was something of a cute experiment, the residents of the area apparently harboring some vague and unrealistic notion that they could make wine that the rest of the world might be willing to drink from grapes they were growing in orchards originally cleared for plums. But forty years ago this month, that position was reversed almost overnight when in one fell swoop at the famous Judgment of Paris, Napa Valley wines bested French wines in a blind tasting, held in France, and with expert French judges. The winning red was a 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon made by Warren Winiarski, his first vintage, while the winning white was a Chardonnay of the same vintage, crafted at Chateau Montelena by Miljenko ‘Mike’ Grgich… [read more]*
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