On state dinner menu, American wines by French natives

February 11
President Barack Obama offers a toast during a StateDinner with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Obama offers a toast during a state dinner with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in 2011. This year’s wines have a French accent. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

To accompany the menu served at tonight’s state dinner in honor of French President Francoise Hollande, the White House selected three American wines made by French-born vignerons.

Luc Morlet, a fourth-generation winemaker now living in California, crafted his Morlet Family Vineyards “La Proportion Dorée” 2011 ($50), a blend of sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle grapes, to give a Sonoma County accent to white Bordeaux.

In Washington state’s Columbia Valley, Gilles Nicault, a native of southern France, blends cabernet sauvignon and syrah for the Chester Kidder 2009 (about $45), part of the Long Shadows project that recruits famous winemakers from around the world to fashion Washington wines of distinction.

Closer to home, Charlottesville’s Claude Thibault, a native of Champagne, will have his Thibault-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay ($30) raised in a toast to French-American friendship. The TJ, as its fans call it, is making its third White House appearance (and its second at a state dinner), and can lay claim to helping Virginia emerge on the national stage as a premier wine producing region.

More state dinner coverage from music to Michelle Obama’s style–and everything in between. 

Dave McIntyre is the wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com.
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