Great Chardonnay Showdown
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The Great Chardonnay Showdown, held in the spring of 1980, was organized by Craig Goldwyn, the wine columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the founder of the Beverage Testing Institute, with help from three Chicago wine stores. A total of 221 Chardonnays from around the world were selected for the blind wine competition. France and California were heavily represented, but entries from many countries around the world were included.
Five panels of five judges each first selected 19 finalists. Then ten of the original judges reviewed the finalists a second time. The winning wine was the Grgich Hills Wine Cellar Sonoma County Chardonnay 1977, which was the new winery's very first vintage. The winemaker was Mike Grgich, who had earlier made the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won first place among white wines at the historic Judgment of Paris wine competition.
- Grgich Hills Estate celebrates the 35th anniversary of The Great Chicago Chardonnay Showdown: Chicago Tribune called 1977 Chardonnay "The Best Chardonnay in the World" January 15, 2015, PRNewswire/Grgich Hills Estate
- Taber, George M. Judgment of Paris: California vs France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine. New York: Scribner, 2005.