Wine confidential: state dinner with Angela Merkel

obama merkel wine toast

Last night the Obamas played host to Angela Merkel for a “State Dinner” (even though she is the head of government, not state–gasp!) in the Rose Garden. The meal included a salad from the White House vegetable garden; the full menu follows below. Oddly, the wine pairings were not announced! Has the usher at the White House grown tired of the slings and arrows from the blogosphere with each state dinner menu?

No matter–that leaves us a chance to do the pairings ourselves! Descendants of Italian immigrants may grab much of the spotlight in American wine today but German immigrants also have done their part. A first-generation one is Hermann J. Wiemer who makes a very nice dry riesling that would go well with that salad. I would be inclined to a young and fruity pinot noir to go with the tuna and outdoor dining; maybe a 2008 from Oregon? Maybe even a nice rosé, such as Hamacher or Copain? And for the steak, even though it is a state dinner, outside trumps high-octane and probably pricey wine too, so maybe domestic dornfelder or blaufrankisch if a good one could be found? One of Ernie Loosen’s late-harvest rieslings, such as Eroica, might be a good way to conclude the meal. But since they already have an apple strudel, I’d be inclined not to let the two sweets compete.

What would you serve? Domestic wines only need apply.

Also hit the comments if you know which wines were actually served. Btw, based on previous menus, Vegas has the odds at 2-1 that a semi-sweet bubbly accompanied the dessert.

* * *

State Dinner menu
June 7, 2011
German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel

White House Garden Chopped Salad
Fine Herbs
White House Honey Gastrique
* * *
Tuna Tartare with Rye Crisps
Pickled Young Carrots and Mustard Oil
Spring Pea Salad
Shaved Ham and Ginger Snaps
* * *
Petite Filet
With Maryland Crab Ravioli
Wild Ramp Puree
* * *
Apple Strudel
Golden Raisins and Topfen
* * *
An American wine will be paired with each course

Local Menu Selection
All of the courses are subtly infused with the perennial and annual
herbs from the garden.

The first course reflects a cornucopia of spring harvest, aptly
named, “White House Garden Chopped Salad.” The salad
is tossed in a vinaigrette made with White House honey and
apple cider vinegar and garnished with spiced Mammoth
Pecans from Georgia.

The tuna in the second course is from Hawaii. The main course
consists of Maryland blue crab and is served on a bed of wild ramp
puree from West Virginia.

The meal is completed with a delicious dessert, an apple strudel.
The apples are from Maryland, the raisins from California and the
topfen, a Farmer’s Cheese, is from Vermont. The apple and topfen
combination is a twist on a traditional German recipe for strudel
and will be served with schlag, an unsweetened whipped cream.

White House guest list (pdf)

Menu and other dinner details (pdf)

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9 Responses to “Wine confidential: state dinner with Angela Merkel”


  1. State Dinner Wine Pairings

    Salad with Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 2010
    Tuna (I wouldn’t eat the pickled stuff) with Chelahem Pinot Noir Stoller 2008
    Filet with 2002 Abreu Cabernet Madrona Ranch
    Apple Strudel with 2005 Iron Horse Russian Cuvee. It only sounds foreign.


  2. Yes, very strange that the White House did not release what wines were served. Here is posting on the wines President Obama could have served http://schiller-wine.blogspot.com/2011/06/chancellor-merkel-dined-and-wined-with.html


  3. Barboursville Pinot Grigio with the salad and Octagon with the steak. Local food deserves (relatively) local wine.

    Minor nit: I think it’s Chancellor rather than PM.


  4. You could also argue a beer dinner with the German chancellor, due to the immense contributions to America’s brewing industry (and its affinity for Lager styles). Plus, Obama loves beer, right?


  5. [...] wild ramp puree; and lots more. Strangely, each course was served with “an American wine.” Dr. Vino wonders if the “usher at the White House grown tired of the slings and arrows from the blogosphere.” I [...]


  6. I don’t know that it’s an attempt to keep everything secret — it could just be that they hadn’t decided exactly which wines to serve (often a last-minute decision, even at events like these) or checking to see that they could get enough of what they wanted.

    I sell wine to a big DC catering company and have received plenty of last-minute calls when a wine from another supplier didn’t work out. The White House obviously does its own, but I can see how the same thing could happen. But since the dinner is over you should be able to find out what wines were actually served.


  7. Christian – quite a post that you did on your site!

    Alan – yes, and federal Chancellor to boot!

    Joe – yes, it would be good to showcase some of the excellent American micro brews. But perhaps a state dinner is not the place to do it, even if it is outdoors?

    Tom – I do not really think the usher was trying to keep it ia secret. Clearly a white and a red were served–look at the above picture. The most likely explanation is that the wines were not selected when the menu was printed. If that’s the case, it seems that someone was slacking…


  8. We were honored to have the Woodward Canyon 2009 Washington State Chardonnay served at this dinner. No word on which course it was served with, though.


  9. Thanks Woodward Canyon for letting us know.

    Dr. Konstantin Frank winery is touting the fact that some of their wines were served for Chancellor Merkel, at a lunch though with Biden (who is a teetotaler).

    “The luncheon featured our Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé, 2010 Grüner Veltliner, 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling and 2008 Lemberger.”

    But the other dinner wines remain a mystery!


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