British wine magazine decanter.com published an article with a collection of stories from a book called Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking. The topic is always interesting, but it’s definitely more exciting at the time of fierce verbal figths for the White House.
The author of the book, Mark Will–Weber is a specialist in US presidents, military – and running. What a combination!
As it turns out from Weber’s book, US presidents were more or less keen on quality wine.
Barack Obama is one of the latest, just look at the way he is holding his glass… Kennedy of course loved Champagne, though while Marilyn Monroe, with whom he had an affair drank Piper-Heidsieck, Kennedy’ wife preferred Veuve Clicquot. Nixon, who is mostly known about the Watergate scandal, treated his guests in a tricky way, which is not surprising knowing his ’honest’ character: ’One of Nixon’s favourite wines was the First Growth Château Margaux. Another was Château Lafite Rothschild and particularly the 1957 vintage. However, Will-Weber has noted that ‘Tricky Dick’ was loathe to share his Bordeaux wine: ‘His guests were typically given a decent (but far less expensive) wine — and the waiters were instructed to serve it with a towel wrapped around the bottle so as to hide the label.’
One of the presidents with the most sophisticated taste was definitely Thomas Jefferson:
‘Jefferson will always be regarded as the First Father of Wine in the United States’, asserted Will-Weber. His diplomatic travels in 1787 to ‘southern France and the Italian Piedmont’ instilled in him a lifelong passion for European fine wine.
The third president also had high praise for white Hermitage, reportedly naming it ‘the first wine in the the world without single exception’.
Jefferson ordered vast amounts of wine from Hungary. In 1801 he bought 240 bottles to be precise, along with more than 100 gallons of Madeira wine, according to Will-Weber.
Unfortunately, Jefferson’s wine obsession sank him into crippling debts, leaving him ‘on the brink of bankruptcy’ by the time of his death.’
And how about the future?
According to drinksfeed.com ‘A New York vineyard released a wine called “Victory White” to encourage a Hillary Clinton bid for the White House in 2016.’
Her husband, Bill Clinton is known as an educated winelover with subtle taste. He visited Tom George restaurant in Budapest in 2011 and had a great time. As the sommelier reported afterwards, he enjoyed the selection of Hungarian wines matched his plates.
And Donald Trump? He is a big player in wine as well. According to BusinessInsider.com: ‘Of course Donald Trump has a winery named after himself. Trump Winery is located on a 1,300-acre estate Charlottesville and is Virginia’s largest vineyard.
It opened in 2011 and has 50,000 square feet of winemaking facilities, 100,000 gallon tank capacity, and 750 barrel cave producing sparkling, white, and red wines.
His son Eric Trump is the head of the winery.’
More about the author:
Mark Will-Weber is a seasoned journalist and magazine editor as well as an aficionado of both military and presidential history. Mr. Will-Weber has published a noted historical feature on the Battle of Antietam, and is the great-grandson of Civil War general J. K. Robison, who led the 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry during the campaign leading up to Lee’s surrender. His grandfather, Col. Charles Isiah Faddis, served in three wars (Mexican Border, World War I, and World War II) and served as a United States congressman from 1933 to 1942.
A former senior editor at Runner’s World magazine, Mark Will-Weber has an extensive background in journalism, and has written for publications including the New York Times, the Boston Phoenix, the Allentown Morning Call, Men’s Journal, and Men’s Health.
Mr. Will-Weber is the author of The Running Trivia Book: 1001 Questions from the Springs to the Marathon, Run for the Diamonds: 100 Years of Footracing in Berwick, Pennsylvania, and The Quotable Runner.
He lives with his family in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.