They did it again!

Though it’s not exactly baking and pastry-related, I can’t let the news of recent 1976 “Judgement of Paris” rematch pass without comment. The original event, now commemorated in a terrific book by George Taber, started out as just a bit of harmless fun to celebrate America’s bicentennial: an American vs. French wine tasting. Yet it tuned out to be a watershed in wine as California reds clobbered the classic French chateaux in a blind taste test. It was the event that put the American wine-making industry on the map.

Just last week the tasting was repeated, this time in London, to see how the same wines from the ’76 tasting would hold up with age. The big, lush American wines, it was assumed by all, would fall apart in the cellar like so many week-old roses. Wrong again. The American wines crushed the French competition, again in a blind taste-test among some of the world’s most respected critics.

The moral here? That nobody’s got the market cornered when it comes to great food and drink. Great wine, like great bread, can be made just about anywhere.

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