"We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactlyof the same kinds, but doubtless as good." - Thomas JeffersonCame across two books about one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, and his passion for wine. A review for one follows. Have to admit, I cribbed it from the University Press of Mississippi's website. Nonetheless, looks like a good read.
Also, if you read the complete review, you'll see a mention of the Monticello Wine Trail. This is fairly new to the Charlottesville, VA region and I highly recommend it. I have been to two of the wineries on the trail, and can attest to the fact that good wines are coming from the region.
The definitive account of a great American's lifelong passion for wine
In Thomas Jefferson on Wine, John Hailman celebrates a founding father's lifelong interest in wine and provides unprecedented insight into Jefferson's character from this unique perspective. In both his personal and public lives, Jefferson wielded his considerable expertise to influence the drinking habits of his friends, other founding fathers, and the American public away from hard liquor toward the healthier pleasures of wine.
An international wine judge and nationally syndicated wine columnist, Hailman discusses how Jefferson's tastes developed, which wines and foods he preferred at different stages of his life, and how Jefferson became the greatest wine expert of the early American republic. Hailman explores the third president's fascination with scores of wines from his student days at Williamsburg to his lengthy retirement years at Monticello, using mainly Jefferson's own words from hundreds of immensely readable and surprisingly modern letters on the subject.
Hailman examines Jefferson's five critical years in Paris, where he learned about fine wines at Europe's salons and dinner tables as American Ambassador. The book uses excerpts from Jefferson's colorful travel journals of his visits to France, Italy, and Germany, as well as his letters to friends and wine merchants, some of whose descendants still produce the wines Jefferson enjoyed. Vivid contemporaneous accounts of dinners at the White House allow readers to experience vicariously Jefferson's "Champagne diplomacy." The book concludes with an overview of the current restoration of the vineyards at Monticello and the new Monticello Wine Trail and its numerous world-class Virginia wineries. In Thomas Jefferson on Wine Hailman presents an absorbing and unique view of this towering historical figure.
John R. Hailman, a trial attorney and adjunct professor of law and literature at the University of Mississippi School of Law in Oxford, wrote a wine column that appeared in the Washington Post and in syndication for over a decade with Gannett News Service. Hailman has served as a judge at numerous international wine competitions for over twenty years.