Happy Malbec World Day!

Although its origins are rooted in the Sud-Ouest (South West) wine growing region of France, Malbec now is best known as an Argentinian varietal. Argentina has around 75% of all acres of Malbec, but the grape grows in 7 countries around the world.

We asked three of our Malbec producers- two in Argentina (MAAL Wines and TintoNegro) and one in Cahors (Triguedina)- what makes Malbec such a special varietal. 

From its versatility with food, depth and range of flavor, and rich beautiful color, it's no wonder Malbec is one of the most popular red wines. Pick up a bottle and see for yourself why Malbec is special. 

Love is a Battlefield, Win the Warre's

We love to think pink around here. Rosé all day are words to live by. And while you can't go wrong with a beautiful bottle of Miraval Rosé this Valentines Day, if you're looking to try something a little different, try a port cocktail. 

Now if you're unfamiliar with Port, Port wine is a Portuguese fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It is typically a sweet, red wine, often served as a dessert wine, but it also comes in dry, semi-dry, and white varieties


Port on its own pairs beautifully with chocolate- try it with s'mores by the fire or that heart-shaped box of truffles, some fudge brownies or an adult affogato (pour a healthy dose of port over your favorite quality vanilla gelato or ice cream). 


If you're looking for something a little more dramatic this Valentine's (or Singles Awareness or belated Galentine's) Day, try one of our favorite port cocktails below. 


Founded in 1670, Warre & Co. is the oldest and one of the most highly esteemed port shipping firms in the world. William Warre joined as partner in 1729, and the company became known as Warre.  The Warre fam­ily worked in the wine trade at Oporto for over 200 years. Andrew James Symington, great-grand­father of the current managing director of Warre’s, sailed to Portugal in 1863. After establishing himself as a well-known merchant in the port trade, he became associated with Warre’s in 1905. In 1912 the Warre family chose to return to England where they would look after sales, while the Symingtons managed operations in Portugal. Today James Symington is the director of Warre & Co. Ltd. 


SANGRIA DAY- December 20, 2017

Wine punch has always been popular- from hippocras in the Middle Ages to Claret Cup Punch in the days of Jane Austen to any number of conceptions today. 

Sangria, the quintessential Spanish wine punch, is traditionally made with red wine, excellent when made with Rioja and other Spanish reds. White wine and sparkling wines can also be used to create refreshing and festive Sangrias. 

Sangria was first tasted in the United States at the 1964 World's Fair in New York. 

Today, December 20, just so happens to be Sangria Day. While at first you might think Sangria Day should be in the summer, just think about how beautiful the traditional red Sangria looks in a pitcher. The colors complement any festive holiday party (and at a party, what is better than a generous helping of an alcoholic beverage?) and the versatility (depending on the wine used) can pair nicely with any number of dishes. 

Not to mention here at Vineyard Brands corporate headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama the weather has reached a balmy 70 degrees, so a cool glass of sangria would be quite welcome. 

Food & Wine Magazine (who has recently relocated to our fine city of Birmingham, Alabama) has a collection of sangria recipes sure to please every taste and party theme. 

We've selected three of our favorites (Red, Rosé, and White- so a little something for everyone) and paired them with some stellar (but won't break the bank) Spanish wines from our portfolio. We've linked the whole collection of recipes here


First up is a traditional Red Sangria. What better wine than one from one of the leading figures in Spanish Rioja, Marqués de Cáceres

Marques de Caceres Crianza Bottle.jpg
Red sangria.jpeg

This Rosé Sangria with a Mixed-Berry Ice Ring is a gorgeous addition to any soirée. The Marqués de Cáceres Rosé has a beautiful pink color that looks as good as it tastes. 

rose sangria .jpeg
Marques de Caceres Rosé 2015 Bottle.jpg

For something a little less traditional and sure to impress any guests you may have, try this Thai-Basil Sangria. The citrus and basil will be a refreshing palate cleanser after all the heavy flavors of the holiday season. Use Marqués de Cáceres Verdejo to keep the drink rooted in its Spanish origins.

Marques de Caceres Verdejo Bottle_2017.jpg
Thai basil sangria.jpeg

Eat, Drink, & Be Thankful (Part II)

In part one of our Thanksgiving wine and food blog, we suggested a variety of wines for all tastes and all budgets from around the world. 

If you're a little overwhelmed by all the options or if you're still trying to decide a final few things to cook, take some inspiration from our Marketing Director Perry Riddle's Thanksgiving menu. 


On my table for Thanksgiving, I usually serve mostly dishes from my favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten.  This year I will be making her Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter, Spinach Gratin, Garlic Roasted Potatoes, Cranberry Conserve, and String Beans with Shallots.  I also will be serving a Honeybaked Ham, my mom’s Chicken and Dressing, yeast rolls, and my grandmother’s Sweet Potato Pie. 

Hors d’oeuvres:  To start I like to make some simple nibbles like Ina’s Truffled Popcorn, mixed nuts, and Cheese Straws and serve Delamotte Brut.  There’s just something about Champagne at a special holiday that screams “festive”.

 

Dinner:  I usually serve a red and white for dinner.  For white, my go-to is always an off-dry Riesling.  With my dinner menu, there is the typical element of sweetness that you find on the Thanksgiving table, but I don’t overdo it.  Wines such as August Kesseler’s Riesling R have an innate sweetness that beautifully pairs with foods while maintaining a crackling acidity that keeps things refreshing.   Plus I’ve found that this wine is a fan favorite among all my friends.   And, honestly, the combination of Honeybaked Ham and this wine is stunning!   For reds, my choice this year will probably be Southern Right Pinotage (which in my opinion is the best Pinotage for the money in the world).  The abundant blue fruit, fresh acidity, medium body, and spice notes really blend well with the food.  Another suggestion would be MAAL biutiful Malbec:  once again, a wine with abundant fruit, spice notes, and an easy-going structure  Overall, the key with reds is to avoid aggressive tannins and to embrace juiciness and fruitiness. 

Dessert:  Thanksgiving is the perfect time to enjoy a decadent dessert wine.  My grandmother’s Sweet Potato Pie is overall not a sweet pie but a very spicy one.  Fresh grated ginger and lots of allspice and cinnamon really wake up the taste buds.  I’ve found that Gewurztraminer can really be a gorgeous pairing with sweet potatoes when there’s an exotic spice element in the dish.  The absolute ideal wine here would be Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Mambourg Vendanges Tardives, but if you’re like most of us and can’t get ahold of this rare gem, the Cuvée Laurence or Cuvée Theo bottlings also have a light sweetness that can pair nicely with desserts that aren’t overly sweet.


Everyone has their own family recipes and own traditions, but if you're looking to spice yours up this year or make some new traditions of your own, we hope these blogs have helped! We'll leave you with a recipe for homemade cranberry relish from our Patrick Harney. The only thing missing from the recipe is the addition of 3 shots of Grand Marnier or Cognac (more depending on the number of annoying family members you plan on seeing). Happy Thanksgiving! 

Cranberry Relish Recipe  SimplyRecipes.com.jpg

Albariño: The Audacious

Far away from the hustle and bustle of Madrid, the art and architecture of cosmopolitan Barcelona, and the sun-soaked beaches of Valencia, there lies the small wine region of Rías Baixas tucked away in the northwestern corner of Spain. Known as “Green Spain”, this hilly area located in the autonomous community of Galicia shares very little in common with the dry, desert-like conditions of the rest of the country.  The climate is decidedly maritime, and rainfall (and humidity) is plentiful here.  Historically, the area is closely tied to the culture of the early Gallic people who settled here.  Today traces of this distinct culture are still observed in the fair skin of the population, the native Gallego language which is still widely spoken, the regional seafood-dominated cuisine, and the traditional dress, music, and dances of the region.  This uniqueness is also evident in the fascinating and delicious wines of the region, especially its distinct native treasure, Albariño.

Spain (Rías Baixas) Map.jpg

Tradition dictates that the ancestor of the modern Albariño vine was brought to the region in the 12th century by Cistercian monks of the wealthy Cluny Abbey located in Saône-et-Loire, France (an area in Burgundy).  Although the translation of the name Albariño (“white of the Rhine”) seems to support this tradition, today many ampelographers believe the vine may be indigenous to the region due to its prolific presence in the wild growing along the trunks of poplar trees and there being no genetic evidence of parentage by vine species north of the Pyrenees.  

Wine production in Galicia and Rías Baixas is well over 90% white and, of that, about 92% is Albariño.  The humidity of the region can be problematic for producing healthy grapes, so several viticultural practices have evolved to allow the grapes to have maximum exposure to sunlight and maximum circulation of air to prevent mildew and ensure even ripening.  The vines are traditionally widely spaced and trained on granite pergolas with a wire trellis called a parra.  The workers often stand on grape bins to harvest the high hanging fruit.  Low yields and temperature-controlled winemaking have revolutionized the style of wines produced in the region in the past several decades.

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Albariño wines display a very unique and exuberant aromatic and flavor profile.  Generally the wines are dry with high acidity and a light body.   There is a very strong botanical element to these wines, which can border on that of many aromatic varietals such as Petit Manseng or Viognier.   The botanical aromas and flavors, along with those of rich stone fruits, citrus, tropical fruits, and the characteristic touch of saline sea spray are characteristic of these beautiful wines, which are perfectly suited to the fresh seafood cuisine of the region. 

A wonderful example of Albariño is produced by the Marqués de Cáceres winery of Rioja legend.  They call their 100% Albariño wine Deusa Nai (“mother goddess”) in honor of the goddess of fertility who was highly worshipped by the early Gallic habitants of the region.  Cristina Forner, owener of Marqués de Cáceres, says that they seek to transfer the magic of this ancient myth and the romance of the Rías Baixas region to this wine.  The crafting of this wine from vineyard to bottle is exceptionally artisanal.  The grapes come from the the O Rosal area (one of three main sub-regions in Rías Baixas) where the undulating, granitic vineyards are very close the ocean.  The harvest is 100% by hand, and the fermentation and less maturation are done in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks to maximum the vivacity and freshness of the varietal.  The resulting wine is a pale golden color with a distinct mineral character emanating from the terroir.  Characteristic notes of ocean minerals and sea spray intertwine with deep floral and citrus tones.  Stone fruits, such as pear, white peach, and nectarine, further convey the unmistakable character of the grape.  It is truly a white wine of pedigree and distinction. 

When pairing Albariño with food, the first clue is the native cuisine of the Galician region.  This wine simply sings with fresh, simple preparations of high quality seafood.  Fresh white crab, mixed shellfish platters, ceviche, simple grilled fish, and sushi and sashimi immediately come to mind for the younger wines that emphasize the fruit and freshness of the varietal.  More mature examples with perhaps some oak influence are excellent partners for richer dishes such as seafood stews or scallops.  In pairing Albariño wines, do as the Spanish do and consider them “the Manzanilla sherries of the North”, as both wines contain distinctive ocean notes and pair so seamlessly with seafood.  And don’t forget this fruity, vivacious wine as a wonderful aperitif before dinner!

Albariño is truly a special, distinctive grape grown in a special, distinctive place.  It has the broad appeal of favorite mainstays such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio but with a certain uniqueness of place that really distinguishes it from all others.  And people are starting to catch on.  Albariño has enjoyed a surge in popularity in the US for the past two decades.  This popularity has now taken the grape to vineyards in California in the regions of Los Carneros, Napa, and the Edna Valley and even to Oregon and Washington.  In the end, however, the truest expression of Albariño will always come from its ancestral home in Green Spain.

Marqués de Cáceres Logo.jpg

Will You Accept This Rioja?

If you’re a fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise or been active on social media this week, you might have seen that current bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, along with her three remaining suitors, recently took a trip to Spanish wine country.

It’s hard to imagine a more romantic setting than rolling hills, medieval villages, and rich vineyards.

Located in northern Spain, Rioja is an easy driving distance from popular cities like Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastian.

The Rioja region is one of the greatest wine growing areas in the world. But don't be confused, non-Spanish speakers!  Although at first glance “rioja” looks similar to the Spanish word for red- rojo- the region produces a variety of wines including whites, reds, and even rosés.

The region has been producing wines for over 200 years, but still isn’t as well known to many consumers as other regions. So if you’re more familiar with French wine than Spanish, the Rioja region is often compared to the Bordeaux region of France. High quality wines at a variety of taste and price points abound.

Rioja has the most acreage under vines of any wine region in the world- over 140,000 acres of vines yielding 250 million liters of wine annually.

There are over 500 wineries in the region—ranging from small, more traditional cellars to large commercial producers. 

If Rachel’s quest for love has led you on a quest for love of your own, let us introduce you to a winery sure to win your heart (and your tastebuds)-Marqués de Cáceres.  The story of this winery is practically made for TV (just like the Bachelorette).

The Forner family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Finding refuge in France, Henri Forner and his brother Elysée bought and restored two antiquated and abandoned châteaux. These two châteaux are now recognized as two of the finest properties in Bordeaux.

Once returning to Spain, Henri decided to establish a bodega of his own in Cenicero, in Rioja Alta. In gently rolling hills and bordered by the Ebro River, Marqués de Cáceres is the perfect setting for a storybook romance…is it really any surprise the Bachelorette chose Rioja?

Drawing on his experiences in Bordeaux, Henri Forner introduced the estate-bottling used in Bordeaux—limiting his source of grapes to those in the immediate area. French winemaking techniques and expertise have been applied to native Spanish grapes, producing one of the finest modern Riojas.

Marqués de Cáceres has stayed in the Forner family ever since. Henri’s daughter Cristina is at the helm and leading the winery to new heights and acclaim.

Curious to try the wine for yourself? 

Pick up a bottle and fall in love. Will you accept this rioja? We know we do!

Sauv Blancs & Snacks

Warmer weather and longer days call for picnics, late nights on the porch, and time spent with friends. International Sauvignon Blanc Day was last week and we were inspired to pair some snacks and sauv blancs perfect for slow afternoons and breezy nights.

Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly. For our first snack and sauv blanc pairing, Sauvignon Blancs pair brilliantly withsofter cheeses—goat’s milk, yogurt, crème fraiche. Beloved Green's Radish and Crème Fraîche crostini are a simple, light snack that look lovely on a plate.

RADISH & CRÈME FRAICHE CROSTINIS & Reyneke Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blancs are often described as “herbaceous” or “vegetal” so it makes sense that they would pair nicely with vegetarian dishes. Try pairing the Sauv Blanc with dishes that allow a little more of the wine’s acidity to shine through. This green goddess hummus from Cookie and Kate is a flavorful twist on the classic snack. 

GREEN GODDESS HUMMUS & Cono Sur Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc

In addition to vegetable dishes, Sauvignon Blanc is a nice match for white meats and seafood like prawns, tilapia, and more. This grilled shrimp with melon and pineapple salsa from Eating Well smells and tastes like summer.

GRILLED SHRIMP WITH MELON & PINEAPPLE SALSA & Mohua Sauvignon Blanc

Like we mentioned, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with vegetables and pairs well with cheeses. No surprise, it pairs well with vegetable AND cheese dishes. These Asparagus and Goat Cheese Mini Quiches from Southern Living are wonderful for brunch (who says bloody marys and mimosas are the only brunch beverages?) and store well. 

ASPARAGUS & GOAT CHEESE MINI QUICHES & Domaine Delaporte Sancerre

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile white wines available. Perfect for the warmer weather, the variety of Sauvignon Blancs on the market-- Old World and New World-- mean you have plenty of options. 

Eat, Drink, and be Malbec

Since Monday was Malbec World Day, keep the celebration going and try one of these tasty recipes with your favorite Malbec.  

 

One simple technique for pairing food and wine is to practice regional pairing. Having Italian food? Try an Italian wine. This certainly isn’t the only way to pair food and it’s not foolproof, but it’s a good template. 

Since Malbec has really flourished in Argentina and become the signature varietal for the country, what better recipe to start with than steak—an Argentinian staple. At peak beef consumption in 1956, Argentinians consumed 222 pounds of beef for every man, woman, and child.  Now Argentina hovers around roughly 120 pounds of beef per capita (compare that to US consumption rate of 79.3 lbs per capita and the fact only ten countries in the entire world consume 50+ lbs per capita).

SKIRT STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

 Photo: epicurious.com

Photo: epicurious.com

Continuing in our homage to beef-fanatic Argentina, GRIDDLED GAUCHO STEAK WITH BREAD-AND-BASIL SALAD is another excellent pairing with Malbec. 

 Photo: foodandwine.com

Photo: foodandwine.com

Moving away a little bit from the idea of regional pairing (but sticking with the carnivore theme), try a quintessential American cheeseburger. The lush Malbec will really bring out the flavors of this FAKE SHACK BURGER.

 Photo: smittenkitchen.com

Photo: smittenkitchen.com

While instinctually Malbec and meat go hand-in-hand, don’t be afraid to try a vegetable dish, like this SWEET POTATO, BLACK BEAN, SPINACH QUESADILLA

 Photo: womensday.com

Photo: womensday.com

Finally, one more veggie recipe for those not so Argentinian in their meat consumption habits. This AUBERGINE STEW from Jamie Oliver is a great meat alternative.

 Photo: jamieoliver.com

Photo: jamieoliver.com

Malbec World Day: Fast Facts on a Unique wine

  • April 17 is officially Malbec World Day!
     
  • Why April 17? On that day in 1853, with the support of Mendoza’s governor Pedro Pascual Segura, a bill was submitted to the Provincial Legislature for the foundation of a Quinta Normal and a School of Agriculture. The bill was enacted as law by the House of Representatives on September 6th, 1853.
  • Malbec has a history dating back hundreds of years. It was served at the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henri II. Happen to have forgotten their anniversary? We have you covered. 1152 (over 800 years ago).
     
  • Was once known as "black wine"...for fairly obvious reasons. Malbec is one of the darkest wines you can find. TintoNegro literally means Black Wine.
 TintoNegro 

TintoNegro 

  • While you might associate Malbec most closely with South America (and Argentina in particular), Malbec traces its origins back to France and was once the most widely planted grape in the country and found in many Bordeaux blends.
     
  • In 1870,  phylloxera destroyed vineyards in France and ruined the Malbec vines in Bordeaux. This same pest has never taken hold in Argentina. 
 Cahors, France

Cahors, France

  • By the end of the 19th century, viticulture had boomed in Argentina (in part thanks to Italian and French immigrants) and so did Malbec, which adapted quickly to the varied terroirs of Argentina. 
     
  • Now Malbec only accounts for about 10,000 acres in Cahors and about 100,000 acres in Argentina. Malbec can also be found in countries throughout the world including the US and New Zealand, but Argentina has nearly 70% of all acres of Malbec in the world. 
 Ernesto Catena

Ernesto Catena

  • Malbec vines are very sensitive to weather and pests (like phylloxera). They've thrived in high-altitude Argentina. 
     
  • Argentina is now the 5th largest wine producer in the world. 
 MAAL

MAAL

  • Argentinian Malbecs are fruit-forward, plummy, and velvety with prominent new oak.
     
  • French Malbecs have more structure, firmer tannins, an inky dark quality, and are earthier. 
     
  • BOTH have essential Malbec flavors of blueberry, cherry, and plum.  

An Insider's Look at Rosé

It’s hard to walk into your local wine shop or supermarket and not notice the stunning rows of jewel-hued rosés.  And considering the boom in popularity that rosé has enjoyed the past several years, there’s a strong chance that these beauties ranging in color from the palest of pinks to outrageous magentas will be featured prominently.  As we explored in a recent blog post, rosé has gone from being just another wine to a cultural phenomenon in a few short years.  However, most people, even the most ardent fans, have little idea of rosé’s fascinating journey from grape to glass.

While researching this article, I was fortunate to speak with two winemakers very knowledgeable about rosé production, Chelsea Franchi of Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles, CA and Simon Batarseh of August Kesseler in the Rheingau region of Germany.

It is a common misconception that rosé is made by simply combining red and white wines together.  While this technically can occur, it is quite rare when making quality rosé.  Franchi, who oversees much of the rosé production at Tablas Creek, started our conversation speaking about the two most common methods of producing rosé:  saignée and direct press

The saignée method involves bleeding off juice from red wine tanks before it has had a chance to take on too much color from the red wine skins (this process is called maceration).  This labor-intensive method is interesting and controversial because it is often used as a way to enhance and concentrate the remaining red wine.  Many rosé advocates consider it an affront to rosé because it is the by-product of red wine production.  However, both Franchi and Batarseh praised this method for contributing intensity of flavors and for the amount of input they have while utilizing it.  At Tablas Creek, the juice sits on the skins for approximately 24-72 hours before about 20% is bled off and subjected to a cold fermention.  Most of this wine then becomes their serious, darker colored rosé called Dianthus (named for the flowers commonly known as “pinks”).  Dianthus is generally Mourvèdre-based, a nod to the rosés of Southern France, specifically the Bandol area.  Franchi attributes this wine’s watermelon essence to the Mourvèdre used in the blend.  At Kesseler about 20% of the juice from wonderful up to 80-year-old Pinot Noir vines is bled off then fermented.   Batarseh leans on this wine to contribute color and tannins to the final blend.

The other common method of making rosé involves direct pressing of the grapes.  This method is the most common and generally is considered the benchmark for crafting quality rosé.  Both Franchi and Batarseh praised the fact that crop levels, sugar levels, acidities, and harvest dates can all be controlled in the vineyard and tailored to make the absolute best rosé.  They both also press the juice off the grape skins without any maceration time resulting in a stunning pale pink color.  Often you will see this wine labeled as vin gris.  At Tablas Creek, this limpid direct press juice is destined to become their acclaimed Patelin de Tablas Rosé.  Franchi said that they prefer to co-ferment their Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, and Syrah juice for this wine.  This wine is definitely styled in the tradition of the great Provençal rosés with its dominant bright strawberry notes coming from the majority Grenache.  At Kesseler the direct press juice is blended with the saignée juice for the final wine.  Batarseh likes the interplay of qualities produced by using both methods, noting that the direct press juice brings a light, bright, acid-driven quality to the final wine. 

 via Wine Folly (www.winefolly.com)

via Wine Folly (www.winefolly.com)

I asked Franchi what her favorite grape is to work with in the production of rosé.  After some thought she answered, “Grenache,” and referenced the absolutely heavenly, heady aroma released by the vats of fermenting Grenache in the cellar.  Indeed, when studying many of the great rosé-producing areas of the world, Grenache often seems to pop up.  It makes sense when considering that Grenache is a very thin-skinned grape and overall has less color-lending phenolic compounds than other red grapes.  Franchi also referenced the little-known Rhone Valley grape Counoise as contributing a nice softness and darker red fruit flavors to their rosés as well as those produced in Southern France.  Often Syrah is also added also its wonderful spicy character.

 Grenache Grapes

Grenache Grapes

At Kesseler, Batarseh works exclusively with Pinot Noir for rosé production.  Once again we find a grape with thin skin and low levels of phenolic compounds.  It’s no surprise that in most of the world’s great Pinot Noir regions there is also usually concurrent rosé production (think Marsannay in Burgundy, Oregon, Germany, and the Loire Valley).  Producers in these regions get the dual benefits of producing a gorgeous berry-scented rosé and intensifying the often light juice destined for their Pinot Noir bottlings.  At Kesseler, considered one of Germany’s premier Pinot Noir specialists, their rosé shows beautiful berry and cherry notes while maintaining an elegant and exciting tension.  It’s definitely refreshing but has the stuffing for year-round drinking. 

 Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Next time you’re buying a bottle of rosé for the lunch table, pool, or just a summer evening with friends, talk with the wine specialist or turn that bottle over and read the back label.  Besides the important visual clues from the color, you’ll gain some great perspective on what’s in a bottle by simply knowing how it’s made.  And don’t be embarrassed for buying it! 

As Franchi told me, “The stigma is over.  Rosé is one of the most delicious, versatile, and food friendly wines out there.”  Think pink!!

President's Day

Today is President’s Day and U.S. Presidents have a long history of supporting the wine industry at home and abroad. 

One of the most legendary oenophile presidents was Thomas Jefferson. The third president of the United States served as ambassador to France where he developed a taste for French wines. As president he shipped 600 bottles of wine per year from France to the United States.

Jefferson also helped stock the wine cellars of the first five U.S. presidents. During his two terms in office it’s estimated he spent $11,000 (that's $175,000 in today’s dollars) on wine.

Two wines stand out as presidential favorites- Champagne and Madeira.

Madeira is a fortified wine produced on the Portuguese island of- you guessed it- Madeira. Its alcohol content hovers around 18-20%. This allowed it to withstand the trip across the ocean to the New World. In colonial days, nearly 25% of Portugal's madeira was shipped to America. 

George Washington was an avid drinker of Madeira. In fact, it was used to toast his inauguration. Washington’s granddaughter reported the first president drank three glasses of Madeira after dinner every night.

The first father-son presidential duo--John Adams and John Quincy Adams --were also partial to Madeira.  It is even rumored that during a blind taste test John Quincy Adams was able to correctly identify 11 out of 14 different kinds of Madeira.

While madeira lost its popularity over the years (but is making a comeback!), to no surprise, champagne has been a constant fixture in the White House. James Madison, John Tyler, James Polk, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon all had a well-known taste for the sparkling wine. The White House even boasts a champagne room. That's right, a champagne room.

Wine has been present at the most significant events throughout our country's history. Madeira was the founding fathers' drink of choice to toast the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Louisiana Purchase was toasted with madeira and champagne. 

Raise a glass and have a celebration of your own this President's Day!

Interested in trying some of these president-approved wines? We highly recommend Champagne Salon, Champagne Delamotte, and Miles Madeira.