SF: The Judgement of Paris Fêted at Battery Wine Tasting

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John Ridding, Xochi Birch, Michael Birch, Robert Kamen
John Ridding, Xochi Birch, Michael Birch, Robert Kamen

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The Napa Valley wine world had much to celebrate last week with the 40th anniversary of the Judgement of Paris. The Judgement of Paris was a legendary tasting—on May 24, 1976—that put California winemaking on the map. French wine connoisseurs blind tasted top-quality Chardonnays and red wines (French Bordeaux and Californian Cabernet Sauvignon); A California wine rated best in both categories. The Napa Valley wines at the competition were from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Ridge Vineyards, Geitz Wine Cellars, Clos Du Val Winery, Mayacamas Vineyards, Freemark Abbey Winery, Chateau Montelena, Chalone Vineyard, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Veedercrest Vineyards, and David Bruce Winery. To commemorate the historic achievement, Michael and Xochi Birch, hosted an event, called the Judgement of Paris 2.0, at their private club, the Battery. The tasting was also a fundraiser for North Beach Citizens, a nonprofit founded by Francis Ford Coppola that helps homeless and low-income residents rebuild their lives.

Judgment of Paris 2.0Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Over 75 tech and wine luminaries attended the tasting which raised $25,000 for the North Beach Citizens. Guests included Ryan and Molly Graves, Medium founder Evan Williams and his wife, Sara, Mason and Anna Morfit, Nat Simons, SF Wine School founder David Glancy, and George and Pam Hamel of Hamel Family Winery. Robert Kamen, a vintner and screenwriter who is coming out with a film about the Paris Tasting next year, raffled off four non-speaking roles in his upcoming film. The party took place in the gorgeous penthouse at the Battery with 16 different wines stationed around the room. The Battery’s wine director, Christophe Tassan, selected the wines and the passed appetizers—scrumptious croque monsieur with gruyere and black forest ham, steamed chickpea cakes with turmeric and pineapple chutney, and shaved beef tenderloin with horseradish cream on black sesame rice crackers—that guests nibbled on during the tasting.

Alain Mutricy
Alain Mutricy

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

A group of respected wine influencers also tasted the 16 varietals, so that participants could compare their wine scoring talents to the professionals’s opinions. The top-rated wines included 2012 Philippe Melka CJ Napa Valley Cab Sav, 2013 Dumol Chardonnay, and 2012 Château Mouton Rothschild. After the tasting, guests mingled and enjoyed a more substantial meal of grilled Kobe beef and salmon plus a delectable trio of desserts—dark chocolate mousse tartlets, mini fruit tartlets, and vanilla rum cakes.

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