Wine runs deep in the blood of America’s elite politicians – especially our Presidents.
If you’re a wine drinking history-buff, you probably already know that many big decisions in our nation’s history were made over a few glasses (or bottles) of wine. Thomas Jefferson, of course, was well known to be one our country’s greatest oenophiles. #1? Yes, he too was known for the love of grape.
For this President’s Day we thought it’d be fun to dig into a few presidential wine facts and offer up some 90+ selections we’d like to think these fine POTUS’ would have enjoyed.
It is reported that George Washington spent $6,000 (that’s equal to over $170,000 in today’s currency) on alcohol in a period of seven months around 1775 – most of which was spent on Madeira Wine.
Back then, Madeira was favored because it was one of the only wines that managed to survive the long voyage overseas to the Americas without spoiling. Madeira was so loved, in fact, that during the signing of the Declaration of Independence the Founding Fathers consumed 50 bottles of the wine… along with another 60 bottles of Claret and 22 bottles of Port. So, considering there were 56 delegates present, that’s about two and a half bottles per delegate. Perhaps a little overkill… But, who are we to judge?
Although 90+ Cellars doesn’t have a Madeira in our portfolio, we do have a few “Clarets” (red blends made with Bordeaux varietals). Given his enjoyment of these wines, we think old GW would have loved our Lot 150 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is big, bold and high class… just like our first President.
“Wine brightens the life and thinking of anyone.” – Thomas Jefferson
It’s often said that Jefferson was America’s first true wine geek. As an ambassador to France, he gained appreciation for French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese wines, and while it’s widely said he favored Madeira and Bordeaux, his collection contained almost everything imaginable. Jefferson had a special appreciation for age-worthy wines, putting him well ahead of his time.
What wines to serve to the geekiest of wine geeks? Well, we believe Jefferson would be drawn to our Classic Series collection for their European descent, and classic complexity. In particular, we think he would have really enjoyed our Bourgogne Rouge Reserve and Bordeaux wines out of France.
Richard Nixon was one of the first presidents to introduce California wine to the White House, and he almost exclusively served California wine to every guest he had join him. Despite serving California wine, however, Chateau Margaux remained his personal favorite. In fact, it is said that oftentimes he would serve his guests less expensive wines while indulging in a nicer bottle himself. Of course, in true Nixon form he would have his servers hide the bottle under a towel so it wouldn’t be seen!
For Tricky Dick, we’d recommend our Super Cuvee – one of our top California wines that contains juice from one of the most sought-after Napa wineries. The contents of this wine are so secret, in fact, that even Nixon himself wouldn’t have found out.
As a California native Ronald Reagan was an avid supporter of the domestic wine industry and is known for revolutionizing the way the White House viewed American wine. He preferred Beaulieu Vineyard’s Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, and exclusively served American sparkling wine in place of Champagne. It’s even said that the Cold War was ended over glasses of Sonoma’s Iron Horse with Gorbachev.
Like Washington and Jefferson, President James Buchanan was also known for how much wine he purchased. At one time, his annual wine budget was around $3,000 – that’s almost $80,000 today!
He was also known for his capacity to drink, and once consumed 16 toasts on the Fourth of July.
With James’ propensity to drink in large quantities and spend a lot of money, we thought we’d keep him to our more “gulpable” and cost-effective wines – Lot 2 Sauvignon Blanc and Lot 42 Pinot Grigio. We think Ten-Cent Jimmy would have bought truckloads of these wines. Bottoms up!
John F. Kennedy
JFK enjoyed Champagne. In Mark Will-Webers biography Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt, he describes a particularly bubbly White House dinner party with the Kennedys, saying “Champagne was flowing like the Potomac in flood and the President himself was opening bottle after bottle in a manner that sent the foam flying all over the furniture.”
For JFK, there’s no question we’d immediately go to our Magic Door Champagne. Elegant, real-deal Champagne that would make old Jack happy the whole night through.