Film row over French wine-tasting debacle

1st August 2007, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Aug 1, 2007 (AFP) - The producers of two rival Hollywood films are locked in a nose-to-nose row over an infamous Paris wine-tasting event which embarrassed France's top experts, a report said Wednesday.

LONDON, Aug 1, 2007 (AFP) - The producers of two rival Hollywood films are locked in a nose-to-nose row over an infamous Paris wine-tasting event which embarrassed France's top experts, a report said Wednesday.

A British merchant who organized the 1976 blind tasting -- in which French experts hailed Californian wines over some of France's finest vintages -- is caught up in the middle of the dispute, according to the Guardian daily.

At the event, 11 distinguished experts including the editor of La Revue de Vin de France and a top restaurant owner had to compare some of France's best wines with little-known Californian bottles, without knowing which was which.

To the stupefaction of the French wine world -- which at the time considered its products the world's undisputed best -- they came out hugely in favour of the US wines.

Now two films are being made about the debacle, one claiming to present the official version of events and another starring British actor Alan Rickman and Danny deVito.

British wine merchant Steven Spurrier, who is involved in the "official" version called "Judgment of Paris," has lashed out at the rival film accusing its makers of "defamation and gross misinterpretation".

"There is hardly a word that is true in the script and many, many pure inventions as far as I am concerned," Spurrier told the industry magazine Decanter magazine, referring to the rival movie "Bottle Shock."

A spokeswoman for "Bottle Shock," which is currently being filmed, said the film was about an historical event "and nobody owns the rights to that."

The British merchant, who at the time owned a wine shop in central Paris, recalled how the French judges were mistakenly confident of what the result would be.

"They were saying things like "this is rather rich, it must be Californian", when it was a French wine, and they gave top marks to a wine convinced it was French.

"When they found out it wasn't there was general consternation," he said. "One of the judges wanted her notes back to change them, then wrote an article saying I had rigged the tasting."

And he added: "What we showed in 1976 was that the Californian wines were better than the best French wines. It was a wake-up call to French winemakers. Sadly, it is a wake-up call they didn't heed."


AFP

Subject: French news

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