A Jeffersonian Dinner
The following wines were served at a special "Thomas Jefferson Dinner" in Louisville on Dec. 7, 1997, the annual banquet of the regional Thomas Jefferson Chapter of the American Wine Society. The staff of the Seelbach Hotel's dining rooms prepared dishes based on Jeffersonian recipes, and Seelbach Restaurant Manager Adam Segar chose wines similar to those that Jefferson -- arguably the most serious wine enthusiast of all American presidents -- might have enjoyed.
As guest speaker for the event, I've placed the complete text of my remarks online, along with a link to James Gabler's excellent book, Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson.
Here are my tasting notes on the wines served during the evening:
Monticello 1994 Corley Family Vineyards Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay
Pale gold. Light tropical fruit and toasty oak aromas. Full-bodied, buttery, bright fruit and oak flavors. Not as sweet or as fat as a lot of California Chardonnays -- an advantage. But oak remains dominant.
Domaine Neveu 1995 Sancerre Les Manoirs
Pale straw color. Light, fresh, pleasantly herbaceous "green pea" aromas. Tart and lean on the palate, well balanced and lingering. Fine wine!
Monticello 1993 Napa Valley Pinot Noir
Clear garnet. Fresh black-cherry on the nose and palate, juicy and tart. Pleasant, if not deep.
Monticello 1993 "Jefferson Cuvée" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark reddish-purple. Delicious blackcurrant, toasty oak and "cigar box" aromas. Full, brooding fruit hiding behind a curtain of tannins. A lot of promise, but needs time.
Ficklin 10 Year Tawny Port
Clear, dark amber. Pleasant stone-fruit aromas, same on the palate, sweet and warming, with a decent acidic "grip." Surprisingly faithful California imitation of a genuine Tawny Port.
Schmitt Söhne 1994 Bernkasteler Kurfurstlay (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) Auslese
Watery pale. Faint citric aroma leads into a one-dimensional flavor of simple sugar syrup and undifferentiated fruit. Light-bodied, vanishes on the palate. Disappointing, but not surprising in this modest Grosslage wine from a low-end shipper.
All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.|