The Presidential Palate


When People magazine reported seeing an unopened bottle of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay in the Obamas’ kitchen, the California winery fired off a couple of cases to No. 44.

Just another gift? Hardly. Winning over the presidential palate is a big deal for the wine industry, leaving vintners and oenophiles curious about what’s on tap for the next occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Wine and the White House go back to No. 1, who tried his hand growing vines at his Mt. Vernon estate in Virginia. But it was Thomas Jefferson who really embraced enology, building and stocking White House Cellars. He also introduced guests, not always successfully, to fine, dry vintages vs. the sweet, fortified wines then in vogue.

Kendall-Jackson hasn’t heard back about its shipment. But Lettie Teague, executive wine editor for the magazine Food & Wine, said K-J chardonnay seems a good choice for modern times, popular and reasonably priced at around $11 a bottle.

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