Shock of shocks, in the 30th Anniversary re-creation of the Judgment of Paris tasting, the 1971 Ridge Montebello reportedly has finished first in dual Napa and London tastings. Second place went to the 1973 Stag's Leap and tied for third were the Mayacamus and 1970 Heitz Martha's Vineyard. The best french showing was by the 1970 Mouton, which finished sixth.
Curiously, I had the privilege of tasting the Ridge Montebello out of magnum a few days earlier and it was not a wine that i would have expected to finish first. While the wine still had good color and decent structure, it was definitely past its peak and showing its age with its tea leaf quality, contrary to one of the descriptions offered by one of the judges. It was a wine i thought that english tasters would appreciate for its mature complexity, as they apparently did, but so did the California tasters.
while i am happy for the california vintners, i do not look forward to the next stage of sticker appreciation. in case no one has looked lately, the latest vintage of the 2001 Heitz Martha's Vineyard is $225. i am sure they believe it is justified as most super seconds are close to $200, and first growth even more expensive.