Friday, January 16, 2009

What Washington Will be Drinking

"No nation is drunken where wine is cheap, and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage." ~ Thomas Jefferson

As details about the inauguration and the associated balls and banquets make their way out it's been fascinating to see the diplomacy required to make these selections, and maybe a gaffe or two. is reporting that Barack Obama's first wines sipped at the inaugural congressional lunch at the Capitol, right after the swearing-in ceremony will include: 2007 Duckhorn Vineyards sauvignon blanc ($30 retail) and 2005 Goldeneye pinot noir ($55 suggested retail). Two hundred dignitaries will toast the new President with 15 magnums of Korbel Natural sparkling wine ($15 retail). Here's where a gaffe occurs as the wine is labeled “California Champagne,” a clear no-no as only wines made in the Champagne region of France should include the word champagne.

The Chicago Tribune has reported that Cooper's Hawk Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine ($13.99 retail) will be served for the official toast to the new first lady at the Illinois State Society's Illinois Inaugural Gala in Washington D.C. on Monday. The winery uses purchased grapes from across the United States including Washington, California, Illinois and Michigan to produce more than 125,000 gallons of wine a year, much of it served at their restaurants.

Other Inauguration Balls:

The Wine Curmudgeon reports that the Hollywood-focused Creative Coalition Ball is sponsored by Pepsi, so it's safe to assume a fair amount of the carbonated stuff, but there will be wine, reported to be from Barefoot ($6.99-$14.99 retail), one of the Gallo lines. Barefoot was selected because it donates money for beach and ocean environmental efforts.

Curmudgeon also noated that a Virginia wine, Barboursville Vineyards Cabernet Franc Reserve ($24.99 retail), will be served at the Inaugural Conservation Gala held on Jan. 19. The Gala is hosted by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, a lobbying group focused on resource management practices.

The Inauguration Gala at the Russian Cultural Centre will be serving a variety of Russian wines in addition to the expected Vodka, though none were listed on their website.

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