Episode 105: Thomas Jefferson’s Wine, W25’s Second Podcastiversary, and an Official Cocktail
One hundred and five straight weeks of drinking and getting behind a microphone require celebratory drinks and a custom cocktail. This week we also pay homage to one of our founding fathers who revered wine as much as we do. While offering up some interesting, historical tidbits about one of our country’s earliest wine experts, we discover what he drank, where he visited, and some great resources for history lovers and wine lovers. So raise ‘em up, listeners, to early American cork dorkery during the birth of our nation, the birth of a new cocktail, and W25’s wine-soaked future. Cheers and thank you for being part of the W25 fun!
Steph: “Can’t wait to tell you all about it!!! The Wine Two Five cocktail!” Details below, but look at this gorgeousness!
Val: “Well, since the discussion subject we’re about to lay on you was a lover or fine Bordeaux, in fact 2/3rd of his cellar was dedicated to it and Bourgogne, I’m sipping a 2006 Ch. Gloria from the Saint-Julien appellation in Bordeaux.
“This is actually one of their better vintages, according to Oz Clarke in his book, Bordeaux, The Wines, the Vineyards, the Winemakers and is one of the more affordable and approachable houses where you can drink the wines younger, yet they age well. The vineyards are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a quarter Merlot and about 10% of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot bringing up the rear. They tend to use a little less than half new French Oak in their aging for just over a year.
“We served it with stuffed bell peppers, but the tannins surprised me and the black fruit is still quite showy as the tertiary notes (those that come from bottle age) like mushroom, spicebox, tobacco and leather share the space but don’t dominate.”
Another interesting note is that this is the wine that Steph brought the first time she ever visited Val in Colorado Springs back in 2014. Also, it’s the anniversary year for Steph and her hubby Justin, and they love sharing this wine with friends.
This weekend marks the 2nd Podcastiversary for Wine Two Five. That’s 105 weeks straight of getting behind the mikes and sipping together, with guests, without guests, and about, well, wine stuff. Some would say this requires an intervention, but nay, we say – this requires a celebration!
When it started we had no idea how many new wine friends we would make, and that has been the biggest reward! So as we enter our third year of growing our W25 community of wine friends, we’d like to raise our glasses to all of you! Without you we’d be sitting here skyping with booze and microphones. Which is fine, but we’re giddy that you’re listening and interacting with us!
Signature Wine Two Five cocktail!
It’s about time we have our own signature cocktail that celebrates our show and the things we love. Steph was inspired to create a drink just for us because: 1) it is our anniversary and 2) she created one for the We Like Drinking podcast.
There’s wine in the cocktail – of course! There are two spirits and a total of five ingredients, hence Wine Two Five. This is a big, bold, sassy and boozy drink.
Here’s how you make the Wine Two Five and be sure to tell your bartender buddies:
- 1 oz Pinot Noir
- 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
- 3/4 oz Leopold Bros Aperitivo
- 1/4 oz simple syrup
You can customize the drink by adding more or less wine, but you’ll lose the “float” if you add more than one ounce of wine. Make it how you like it and let us know what variations you think are tasty.
Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday
Also, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday is the day this show is released. He’s probably the only politician worth raising a glass to, at least in the foreseeable future, because he was such an advocate and student of wine … and he’s currently not making Val reach for the bourbon bottle … so there’s that.
For our factoid session, we thought it appropriate to promulgate a few quick nuggets about ol’ TJ. In fact, this time 230 years ago, the week of April 16th, 1787, he was crossing the from France alps on his way to Turin via donkeys and a wagon. He hung out in Italy through the month of April and headed back to France in early May via Ventimiglia and the French Riviera.
Once he crossed back into France he cruised up through Southwestern France on his way to Bordeaux.
His favorite wines and styles:
He mostly drank Madeira, (Malmsey was popular), Claret (light red Bordeaux wines) & kept Portuguese table wines on hand. Frontignan muscat was another popular wine for him as well.
While Thomas Jefferson also loved Burgundy (including Montrachet and Mersault), he was known to purchase quite a bit of First Growth Bordeaux (before the 1855 classification was a thing), such as Chateau d’Yquem.
Another nugget we pulled out was that he was a huge foodie & known to have eight course meals when dining alone, and 32 course meals when having guests.
Arrack was also knocked back pretty heavily back then, which we found surprising! This is different than the anise-based Arak we’re used to hearing about. Arrack (which also can be spelled Arak – go figure) is made with everything from coconuts to dates, and in some countries they make a bubblegum flavoured version of this. It’s not clear where our founding fathers were scoring their Arrack hooch, but most likely the East Indies.
There really is so much more to the story, so we hope you’ll indulge in the book, pour a glass of wine and sink into some delicious wine history.
His contributions to wine culture:
He was an advocate of wine knowledge, wrote about it, fought taxes on imported wines (heaven forbid people turn to whiskey if they couldn’t afford wine). Hence, the origins of this quote,
“No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage. It is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of whiskey.”
“I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.”
Why do modern wine lovers have so much information now about Thomas Jefferson and his wine stash? After his wine and other writings were destroyed in a fire he started keeping backup copies of his writings. The book Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman talks about this and the wine habits of other founding fathers, but it was because of this fire that there is more historical richness on Jefferson than any of the others – that and his love for writing which is why he was asked to write the Declaration of Independence.
Further Reading: Jane Anson’s article in Decanter Magazine about Thomas Jefferson and his time in Bordeaux
The Williamsburg Society’s tome on the drinking and dining antics of Jefferson’s time is called, Colonial Virginians at Play by Jane Carson
Val: There’s a new podcast by Olly Smith and MW Richard Hemming called, A Glass With. It’s only been out a couple of weeks, but they are “drinking with the stars” – like P!nk! Yes, P!nk owns a vineyard and has taken WSET classes. Both Olly and Richard are accomplished, award winning wine media personalities. Now, I’ve been stocking Richard Hemming for a while because he writes for Jancis Robinson, and I remember when he also became a Master of Wine in 2015. These two have infectious personalities and the first series of their podcast runs through April. The second series will drop later this year. They have the sexy British accent thing going for them and a crap-ton of wine knowledge and experience between them. Nuff said.
Steph: World Malbec Day is April 17th!
Which producer will you be drinking? from which country? Sounds like an excuse to try something new … maybe a #W25Challenge. Share your photos of your Malbec with us on social media too.
Here’s a link to a 4 minute video, down & dirty on Malbec, and more specifically the Argentinian kind. Afterall, World Malbec Day was created by Wines of Argentina in 2011 to celebrate their country’s wines and make Malbec the ambassador.
Steph: Applause, applause to the artists creating the spirits and wine that I used to mix our signature Wine Two Five cocktail!
The Withers winery (Sonoma Coast and Sierra Foothills) – What beautiful wine labels! The drawing of the horse on the label is eye catching and intimate. I loved it immediately and my mind went straight to DERBY time! I ordered three bottles of The Withers -their rosé, the English Hill Pinot Noir and a GSM blend called Bel Canto to taste before the Kentucky Derby parties start! You do know the Derby is March 6th?! Well, the Pinot Noir became the wine used in our signature cocktail. Yes, INDEED! All 3 were stars in my wine show.
Maker’s Mark distillery – is the whiskey in our signature cocktail… not just because it is my Justin’s favorite bourbon, but because of the ladies who work at the distillery. I want to give a special shout out to Victoria MacRae-Samuels – advisory board of WOTVS and “has nearly three decades’ experience in the bourbon industry and holds the unique distinction of being the first woman VP of Operations at a bourbon distillery. At Maker’s Mark she oversees every aspect of production, from the selection of grains, fermentation and distillation, to barrel warehousing, bottling and shipping, quality control and tasting.”
Finally, Leopold Bros is a family owned and operated distillery in Denver, CO, therefore it is perfect for our Wine Two Five cocktail – halfway between Val’s home and mine. The Aperitivo is so delish that you can pour it over ice and sit and sip on the patio. The website has a list of the states and countries where you can find retailers as well as online retailers.
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Monthly Patreon Drawing:
Reminder – we have a new monthly Patreon drawing! Each month we are drawing a winner of Albarello Luxury Hand Soap for all Patreon supporters at the $2/month Tastemaker Listener level and higher. Go to our Patreon page for details. www.patreon.com/winetwofivepodcast
April’s winner of the bottle of Albarello Luxury Hand Soap for Wine Enthusiasts is Aswani! Congratulations!
Bright Cellars! Have you taken advantage of the special Wine Two Five listener deal on Bright Cellars? Let us know what wines you got! https://www.brightcellars.com/WineTwoFive/
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Until next week, Cheers!