The wine world has been atwitter with rumors and gossip about the wines that will be served at Barack Obama’s various presidential inauguration festivities next week. Sad, isn’t it, that those are the kinds of things that get us excited? Even sadder, no one asked the Wine Curmudgeon what to serve.
After the jump, a look at what will be served and my thoughts about what should be served:
• The congressional lunch at the Capitol after the swearing-in ceremony will feature California wine: 2007 Duckhorn Vineyards sauvignon blanc, 2005 Goldeneye pinot noir, and Korbel Natural sparkling wine ($15). Decent wines all, including the Korbel, but hardly imaginative. And the first two are pricey. No wonder Congress is held in such low regard.
• The Hollywood-focused Creative Coalition Ball is sponsored by Pepsi, so guests will have to drink that. Somehow, I can’t see Susan Sarandon and Elvis Costello quaffing Pepsi. There will be wine, though: Barefoot, part of the Gallo Empire (and I will not make any wine and Pepsi jokes). Barefoot apparently got the nod because it donates money for beach and ocean environmental efforts.
• A Virginia wine, Barboursville Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve, will be served at the Inaugural Conservation Gala on Jan. 19. It’s hosted by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, a lobbying group that promotes good resource management practices.
• An Illinois sparkling wine from Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants will be served at the Illinois State Society's Illinois Inaugural Gala, also Jan. 19.
So what should be served? Obama talks about change, so why not change the entire approach? Wine is made in all 50 states, and not just California and not just by multi-nationals who sponsor events. The Barboursville and Cooper’s Hawk are good starts, so let’s build on that.
Obama is from Illinois, which has a decent little industry, so how about Lynfred Winery Chambourcin 2006, a plummy red made with a hybrid grape that is quite under-appreciated? Obama succeeds George Bush, who comes from a state with a thriving wine industry. I suggest Texas’ Becker Vineyards Viogner 2007 ($15), an excellent example of what Texas winemakers can do with viognier. Finally, from New Mexico, the Gruet Rose NV sparkling wine ($13), with strawberry and lots of bubbles.