Archive for the 'leaders and liters' Category

Let them sip Hillside Select, KJ, Thanksgiving, dogs- sipped and spit

SIPPED: too much
As G-20 leaders met in Washington this weekend while the economic world burns, they sipped Shafer Hillside Select 2003, a $250 Napa cab (find this wine). This raised the hackles of bloggers at CNN (perhaps because they could only find it for $500?). The era of the teatotaler-in-chief is soon over! (Thanks, Arthur!)

white_house_kjSPIT: too little
An eagle eyed publicist at Kendall-Jackson spotted a mention of their Chardonnay in an interview the Obamas did with People magazine. The maker of this supermarket staple then sent “a few congratulatory cases of the brand” to the Obamas, care of the Democratic National Committee. Celebrate a historic victory such as his with a $12 chardonnay? But what did Shafer send them?

SPIT: Sauvignon blanc
NYT restaurant critic Frank Bruni goes public about his dislike of Sauvignon Blanc as he tasted one from California, “he offered a grimace and a cry of anguish.” And what did his colleagues do to him after that. Why, laugh at him. Get the full story and their wine picks for turkey day in Eric Asimov’s column.

SPIT: 2008 Hospice de Beaune
The climate, both meteorological and economic, put a damper on the annual charity auction for barrels of red Burgundy. [Reuters]

SPIT: celebrity wine
Michael Vick’s 22 dogs will appear on a new wine line called “Vicktory Dogs.” A portion of the proceeds benefit the shelter in Utah where the dogs now reside. [ESPN]

The candidates and their wines – a Wine Politics giveaway

Last week we heard about the Palin syrah and because it’s organically grown in Chile, we knew it was the perfect wine for the veep wannabe, Sarah Paleen (as they say in Alaska, methinks). Check out reader Nate’s tasting note.

In anticipation of this Thursday’s debate (when we will need mucho vino), put your country first and decide which wine is best suited to each of the three other candidates! I already had my say during the primaries, so now it is your turn.

To sweeten the pot, I will be giving a away a signed copy of my book, Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink, a book in which none of these four candidates is mentioned!

Post your pairings for the non-Alaskan candidates here in the comments. Friday after 3PM Eastern, check back to see the winner, selected at random. Everyone, to your snow machines!

Sipped and spit – all French edition

france legoSIPPED: Wine nationalism!
At the recent G8 Summit in the remote Hokkaido, wines from various of the countries (sorry, Russia and U.K.) were poured at the festivities, including: “Le Reve grand cru/La Seule Gloire champagne”; the Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakadori sake; Louis Latour, Corton-Charlemagne 2005; Ridge California Monte Bello 1997 and Tokaji Esszencia 1999″ (Hungary–booyah! A non G8 country slips in.). The juxtaposition of the leaders’ banquets and global food shortages was not lost on The Independent. France won the vinous nationalism stakes with the most wines poured.

SPIT: Adolescent binge drinking!
France will debut it’s first ever anti binge drinking campaign on Friday. According to Decanter, it will run on TV, radio and in in movie theaters and “feature adolescents enjoying a ‘paradise-like universe’, which turns into a nightmare after they drink too much.” Whoa! Send in a clip if you see it.

SIPPED and SPIT: The St. Emilion classification!
Sweeping victory from the jaws of defeat (or, more likely, the other way around), the classification of St. Emilion producers that updates every ten years was thrown out by a judge last week–only to be reinstated on a temporary basis for three years by another authority later in the week. [Decanter]

SIPPED: summer all year!
Rosé surpasses white wine as the most popular in France. []

At summit, Bush says cheers – with wine?!?

bush wine toast

We know international summits are tough. They’ve been known to make a teetotaler go weak in the neck as recently as, oh, last year.

Now we have this photographic intel that the Teetotaler-in-Chief raised a glass with President Yushchenko in Kiev last week! The Dr. Vino cam only has this one angle, but it looks distinctly like the fruits of the vine that he his holding in the glass behind his goobery hand. My guess is that it beats fermented yak milk!

UPDATE: thanks to a comment from reader Mark, please feel free to “CAPTION THIS PHOTO!”

Teenagers, NYC wine bars, Sarkozy, diseased mitochondria – sipped and spit

SIPPED: discussion!
Eric Asimov of the NYT had a thoughtful article in Wednesday’s paper about exposing teenagers to wine in the home. It’s great to see a constructive discussion (325 comments long!) on his blog about fostering wine enjoyment in the home rather than the usual discussion of excesses. Related: we’ve discussed kids at wineries and how appropriate is the drinking age of 21 here. [NYT]

SIPPED and SPIT: NYC wine bars
Closing tonight is Divine Wine Bar East. Zagat reports they have having the Mother of All Happy Hours tonight to liquidate (ha) the inventory. Opening: Bowery Wine Company and the new wine lounge at Le Cirque. See the action on the NYC wine bar map!

SIPPED: The audacity of nope
French President Sarkozy, a self-proclaimed teetotaler (although see here and here for evidence to the contrary), has the nerve to ask to see the wine list at Windsor Palace before a state dinner. [Times of India]

SIPPED: resveratrol
“Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown for the first time that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in grape skins and red wine, helps to destroy cancerous pancreatic cells by crippling the diseased cells’ mitochondria, the minute organelles found in the majority of living cells which provide them with energy.” []

Image: fair-use is made of a reduced size crop of an image that appeared in the NYT attributed to Lisa Adams.

Entertainer-in-Chief: Part II, Schramsberg at the White House

Schramsberg is an iconic American sparkling wine and it’s no surprise that it as been poured at the White House over 100 times. Last week, I caught up with Hugh Davies on the phone to ask him about the experiences for this second installment of our two-part mini-series, Entertainer-in-Chief. Two instances stood out to me of serving Schramsberg at state events.

Hugh, 42, told me that in 1972, his dad, Jack, got word from the Nixon White House that they would need 13 cases of Schramsberg 1969 blanc de blanc. And those cases had to be delivered to Travis Air Force Base. Hugh said that it was all a bit mysterious but his dad loaded up the cases into his jeep, drove them over to the Base where he got paid and left the wine.

Then three weeks later, images of Nixon’s historic trip to China were broadcast back to the US. And there was good old Nixon raising a glass of Schramsberg with Premier Zhou En Lai in a “toast to peace.” Hugh said that Barbara Walters reported from Tiananmen Square that Nixon and Zhou had just toasted with the Schramsberg “blank de blank.” Thirteen cases must have kept the whole delegation happy!

In what would be a bookend to state dinners and Schramsberg during Hugh’s mom’s lifetime, the Schramsberg brut rose 2004 was served at the state dinner with Queen Elizabeth II in Washington last year. The Teetoaler-in-Chief did not call and there was no drop-off at an AFB. Instead, the head usher just ordered it through the local distributor and Hugh didn’t even know it was being served.

Image credit, click through for more photos from the historic trip including this one, no doubt after the 13 cases of Schramsberg.

Entertainer-in-Chief: Part I, Thomas Jefferson

thj.gifWith President’s Day soon upon us in this election year, it’s time for the first installment of Entertainer-in-Chief!

…the urbane Thomas Jefferson, who occupied the residence from 1801 through 1809. Jefferson moved swiftly to grace the President’s House with all the trappings of the leader of a great new country, including stocking it with fine wines from around the world. Jefferson’s Williamsburg education and worldly ways imbued him with a predisposition for the pleasures of the palate, and his extensive travels throughout France and Italy in the 1780s made him a student of wine.

When he ascended to the presidency, Jefferson had wine vaults constructed below the east colonnade to house his sizable collection. (The area is no longer used for that purpose.) He is said to have spent more than $11,000 on wine during his two terms as president, a sum that in today’s economy would equal roughly $175,000.

Jefferson was a gracious host, regularly dipping into his private collection to entertain foreign dignitaries, as well as his colleagues and opponents, in high style. In Jefferson’s day, presidents didn’t have expense accounts, but rather were expected to run the household from their own salary. Indeed, it is said that Jefferson was generous to a fault, entertaining so lavishly that financial problems would follow him to his grave. [Wine News]

Wow, what a gent. And what an exemplary, overstretched American consumer! Good thing home equity loans hadn’t been invented or he might have set off his own mortgage crisis at Monticello.

Red, white and blue wine: a wine lover’s guide to the presidential primaries

With the Iowa caucuses (finally!) happening tonight, we need a wine lover’s guide to the presidential election.

Mitt Romney: According to the NYT, he is so “vigilant about nutrition” (read: boring!) that he eats the same meals every day. Anathema to the wine lover! Added bonus: teetotaler. No love from wine geeks.

Mike Huckabee: He’s reputedly a charmer, plays guitar, knows (or knew) how to eat, and jogs every morning. But he’s also a southern Baptist minister, so he doesn’t dance and is a teetotaler. So close, yet so far. Wine pick: “Fre,” a de-alcoholized wine.

giuliani.jpgRudy Giuliani: Rudy used to like Long Island merlot but 9/11 changed everything. Now he’ll drink whatever is local, as long as it is American.

John McCain: He used to be more of a loose cannon eight years ago. Now, the fire in the belly appears as mere embers. His wine is a 10 year old Turley Zinfandel, fiery in it’s youth, now sadly without vigor.

obamaclinton.jpgBarack Obama: This man has got style. Heck, one commentator even said he was the “wine track” candidate some time back. So he’s our man for the White House. He’s also quite a blend himself, born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya and lived early on in Indonesia. This eloquent American blend could be none other than one of the finest wines in America, with structure and spice: Ridge Monte Bello.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: We know Hillary hearts New York but is she cold as ice? Wine pick: Standing Stone, Vidal, ice wine 2005, Finger Lakes.

John Edwards: he’s made it far on his “two Americas” theme. We know what that means–beer America and wine America. We’ll split the difference and put him down for a Franzia box wine.

The wild cards

goldbottle.jpgRon Paul: this guy may be crazy–he wants to eliminate the IRS, the Federal Reserve and a host of government departments and restore the gold standard–but if he is, then he is rich and crazy thanks to his $19 million in fund raising last quarter. Wine pick: Armand de Birgnac, Ace of Spades, “gold bottle,” non-vintage Champagne $300.

Fred Thompson: This Tennessean seems like a natural fit for Bourbon. No love from wine geeks.

kucinichwife.jpgDennis Kucinich: Given his hhhhot young wife (born 1977), he clearly likes youthful reds. We’ll put him down for a California Pinot, most recent vintage available.

Christopher Dodd: His move to Iowa in a desperate attempt to score fourth place makes him seem pandering. And nothing tries harder to be a crowd-pleaser yet fails to inspire more than Merlot.

Bill Richardson: He’s big and he claims to have the most foreign policy experience. Wine pick: the brawny 2004 Numanthia from Spain.

Related: “Bush-Kerry 2004: an election guide for wine lovers


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.”

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: