In the 1970s, I met in France – and began to visit later – a charming wine shop called Les Caves de la Madeleine, opened on the right bank in 1971.
The first wine school open to the general public, called the Academy du Vin, was also used there. Nothing surprising, being in Paris.
Except for the fact that its owner was not French: he was an Englishman, Steven Spryrer, who died of undisclosed causes at dawn today, at the age of 79, surrounded by his family in Dorset, England.
His vividness to grant credentials about wine in France was clear. He loved, advertised and sold French wines, but he also did something rare in that country: promoting and selling Port, Jerez and Madeira wines from overseas.
But what made Spurrier and his shop famous was a tasting held there in 1976, known as the Paris Trial, in which – this time, inadvertently – he once again highlighted non-French wines .
The tasting was planned to compare the great French liqueur to others, largely unknown in the world, from the then obscure California valley of Nappa, a country with no wine tradition, to the United States.
Apparently a skirmish was so strange that even the French press did not attend the event – the only journalist present was from the American magazine Time (which would later make a bombing story about it).
On the other hand, the jury consisted of high-tasting ants (such as the owner of Romani-Conti wine, Aubert de Vilaine, editor of La Review du Vin de France magazine and sommeliers of great restaurants, and, although it was a blind tasting ( The jury did not know which wines she was tasting), Spurrier himself was certain that the French would win cleanly.
But among the Reds, all Cabernet Sauvignon grapes won the American Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon in 1973, defeating big Bordeaux like Morton-Rothschild and Haya Bryan. And among the Europeans, they also won the Nappa Chateau Montelana Chardonnay 1973 from California, defeating the French from Bogarogne.
At the same time, Americans entered the history of wine – just as the English spirits, even the French, claim that their wines, which would develop more slowly, were too young (yet their Will not be in splendor) water to compare with similar Americans.
Years after this incident, the British returned to their country of origin, where they were born in 1941 and where they began their careers in the 1960s, working at Chistopher, London’s oldest wine store.
Back home, he developed his career as a consultant for shops, wineries and importers, wrote books (such as, more recently, his autobiography titled “A Life in Wine”), published columns, and several in the important magazine Dexter Participated in editorial positions.
To close it, he established a winery – Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset, where he lived. But he was never remembered for the famous 1976 tasting.
The incident recently became a film. “Bottle Shock” (2008) or in Portuguese, “The Judgment of Paris”, is available on Amazon Prime Video, but, unfortunately, only in the dubbed version.
In it, Sperrier is portrayed by actor Alan Rickman as a snobbish and snobbish Englishman, which is inappropriate. I met Spierier, albeit (including Brazil), superficially, and he was always a handsomely dressed man, but courteous and kind.
As an honest wine lover you should always be there.