We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The New Yorker, despite its antique, loony brie-and-chardonnay radical chic politics, still has the ability to find writers who can make any subject interesting. Such as wine fraud.
Now we are going for a little ride before the rain comes. The vet seems to have cured the gimp in my usual comfortable ride (a hunter, not a quarter horse), who/which I can compare to the ride of an old BMW 650 cruising bike. Smooth.
French wine, as the best of all wines, has been a fraud forever .
I don't recall the exact year but during one of the "scandals" a French jury pronounced that one could not choose a French wine from many others, Bartles and James excepted.
The Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976 also proved the same thing.
Until 1976, France was generally regarded as having an unchallenged reputation as the foremost producer of the world's best wines. In that year a British wine merchant, Steven Spurrier, organized a prestigious wine competition in Paris, now known as the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 or the Judgment of Paris, which was a blind tasting of California and French Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignon. Spurrier sold only French wine and believed that the California wines would not win.
The 11 judges were Odette Kahn, editor of the Revue du Vin de France, Jean-Claude Vrinat of the Restaurant Taillevent, Raymond Oliver of the restaurant Le Grand Vefour, the sommelier Christian Vanneque of Tour D'Argent, Aubert de Villaine of the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Pierre Tari of Chateau Giscours, Pierre Brejoux of the Institute of Appellations of Origin, Michel Dovaz of the Wine Institute of France, Claude Dubois-Millot, Steven Spurrier (British), and Patricia Gallagher (American) of l'Academie du Vin. Only the votes of the French judges were counted in the official tabulation.  Blind tasting was performed so that none of the judges knew the identity of what was being tasted.
The white wines were tasted first. The comparison was of Chardonnay — matching French Chardonnays (Burgundy) against California Chardonnays.
 White wines (Chardonnay)
1. United States - Chateau Montelena 1973 (winemaker Mike Grgich)
2. France - Meursault Charmes Roulot 1973
3. United States - Chalone Vineyard 1974
4. United States - Spring Mountain Vineyard 1973
5. France - Beaune Clos des Mouches Joseph Drouhin 1973
6. United States - Freemark Abbey Winery 1972
7. France - Batard-Montrachet Ramonet-Prudhon 1973
8. France - Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive 1972
9. United States - Veedercrest Vineyards 1972
10. United States - David Bruce Winery 1973
All 11 judges awarded their top scores to either Chalone Winery or Chateau Montelena, both of California.
Red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Rank – Country – Wine – Average grade (out of 20)
1. United States - Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 – 14.14 (winemaker Warren Winiarski)
2. France - Château Mouton-Rothschild 1970 – 14.09
3. France - Château Montrose 1970 – 13.64
4. France - Château Haut-Brion 1970 – 13.23
5. United States - Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 1971 – 12.14
6. France - Château Leoville Las Cases 1971 – 11.18
7. United States - Heitz Wine Cellars 'Martha's Vineyard' 1970 – 10.36
8. United States - Clos Du Val Winery 1972 – 10.14
9. United States - Mayacamas Vineyards 1971 – 9.77
10. United States - Freemark Abbey Winery 1967 – 9.64
"The wine that one judge said bespoke 'the magnificence of France' turned out to be a Napa Cabernet." Similarly, "'That is definitely a California. It has no nose,' said another judge — after downing a Batard-Montrachet '73." The comments and results of the tasting indicated that the judges could not distinguish California from French wines.
Three of the four Bordeaux wines in the competition were from the 1970 vintage, identified by the Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux as among the four best vintages in the past 45 years or more. The fourth Bordeaux was a 1971, described by the Conseil as "very good".
The Bordeaux Wine Office rates the 1970 vintage for
Pessac (Chateau Haut-Brion) as the best between 1966 and 1978 , Pauillac (Chateau Mouton Rothschild) as the best vintage between 1961 and 1982 (tie with 1975) , Saint Estephe (Chateau Montrose) as the best vintage between 1961 and 1982 , and the 1971 vintage for Saint-Julien (Chateau Leoville Las Cases) as good.
"When the results were tallied and announced, several judges behaved badly, refusing to give up their notes, and one even tried to change his numbers before Spurrier whipped away the scorecards." (McCoy)
One of the judges, Odette Kahn, tried to get her ballot back at the close of the event. Spurrier declined to provide it, after which she refused to speak to him, except to charge that he had falsified the results of the tasting. One of the winning winemakers, Warren Winiarski, received letters from people in the French wine business telling him that the results were a fluke. In essence, their letters argued that "'everyone knows' French wines are better than California wines 'in principle' and always will be." As recently as 2005, some of the judges refused to discuss the tasting, saying that to do so would be "too painful ."
Although Spurrier had invited many reporters, the only reporter to attend was George M. Taber from Time magazine, who promptly revealed the results to the world. Leaders of the French wine industry then banned Spurrier from the nation's prestige wine-tasting tour for a year, apparently as punishment for the damage his tasting had done to its former image of superiority.
The French press almost ignored the story. After nearly three months, Le Figaro published an article titled "Did the war of the cru take place?", describing the results as "laughable," and said they "cannot be taken seriously."  Six months after the tasting Le Monde wrote a similarly toned article.
The New York Times reported that several earlier tastings had occurred in the U.S., with American Chardonnays judged ahead of their French rivals. One such tasting occurred in New York just six months before the Paris Tasting, but "champions of the French wines argued that the tasters were Americans with possible bias toward American wines. What is more, they said, there was always the possibility that the Burgundies had been mistreated during the long trip from the (French) wineries.”
Hell, I r'memb'r do'in some tub'in on the Ichetuknee River and we done had a starfum cool'r of Bartle and James, whoow wee did we get some fine wine buzz. Course da wildwood weed don 'er part too reckon.
Well we gets out and builds us a fire, opens some beenie weenies and sardines....right thar ..feast o the gods.
I did have some frenchy food once at Hardees..it be a brekfest crusant, with extree mayo.