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London Wine Fair to host ‘Judgement of Paris’ inspired tasting

Published:  27 March, 2024

London Wine Fair (LWF) will host a homage to the late Steven Spurrier’s (pictured) landmark ‘Judgment of Paris’ blind tasting in 1976, which saw Burgundy and Bordeaux pitched against California, with the latter comparing favourably to the former, sending shockwaves around the wine world.

The 2024 version, aptly named the ‘Judgement of London’ will see a broader inclusion of European icon wines and the rest of the world equivalents, reflecting the breadth and maturity of today’s global fine wine market.

Curated by Ronan Sayburn MS, CEO of The Court of Master Sommeliers, alongside Sarah Abbott MW, MD of Swirl Wine Group, the tasting panel will comprise around 20 judges, including leading buyers, top sommeliers and wine writers.  

The tasting will take place under exam conditions in a private room at the Olympia, the host venue for the LWF. The wines will be tasted in pairs – one European and one from the rest of the world, matched according to grape variety, style and texture, with the selected producers submitting a vintage drinking at its best, within a window of five to 15 years old.  

Eight pairs of whites will be tasted in the morning, followed by eight pairs of reds in the afternoon. The wines will be scored out of 10, with half marks allowed. With 20 judges, each wine will then have a final score out of 200. The scoring system allows for eight key findings, all of which will be revealed on Centre Stage the following day.  

Jancis Robinson OBE MW, who will be one of the judges, said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of the tasting panel for the carefully designed Judgement of London tasting on the first day of the London Wine Fair – a fitting tribute to the late Steven Spurrier, whose London flat was so close to Olympia where we will be tasting a range of  the world’s finest wines blind in order to celebrate what progress has been made since his 1976 Judgment of Paris.”

Sarah Abbott MW, added: “I’m honoured and excited to be working with such a great team on this important tasting. The world of wine is rightly moving on from ‘Old World versus New World’, but Stephen Spurrier’s lesson – that great wine is of the whole world – is as important and timely now as it was when that iconoclastic tasting was held nearly 50 years ago.” 

Judgement of London will take place at LWF on Monday, 20  May, with the results announced on Centre Stage on Tuesday, 21 May at 4:45pm.