From the thoughtful New York Times obituary:
An author, educator, amusing public speaker and leader of wine tastings. But most of all he was known for having conceived and arranged the Judgment of Paris, the famous 1976 wine tasting at which little-known American wines triumphed over their august French counterparts and won a toehold in the perception of wine lovers worldwide who had up to then dismissed them.
Steven was also the proprietor of L’Académie du Vin, a small shop in Paris that brought in wines from different parts of the world. Mr. Spurrier’s work and the Judgement of Paris was turned into one of my favorite films, Bottle Shock. It’s a dopey, entertaining movie that includes some of my favorite actors Alan Rickman, Dennis Farina, and Bill Pullman.
Steven Spurrier helped to propel California wines to a global stage in a very unusual way. From another remembrance from the NYT:
It was hardly thought to be a fair fight. As has been recounted countless times, the judges were thoroughly convinced that California wines were inferior.
“Ah, back to France,” one judge sighed after tasting a Napa Valley chardonnay. Another, sniffing a Bâtard-Montrachet, declared: “This is definitely California. It has no nose.”
When all was done, a shocking consensus revealed the favorite wines to be a 1973 chardonnay from Chateau Montelena and a 1973 cabernet sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Cellars, both in Napa Valley.
Thank you Mr. Spurrier for all of your contributions that helped make a better world. Cheers!➵