The third Monday of February is President’s Day. Generally overshadowed by Valentine’s Day festivities, we at Black Star Farms decided that rather than letting this year’s holiday go by unnoticed, we should acknowledge it properly. How are we celebrating? With wine, of course! Did you know that most of our presidents were avid wine drinkers? Neither did we. So, to best honor our past leaders, we compiled a list of some of their favorite vino and the corresponding selections in our catalog so you too can drink like a president!
It wouldn’t be a proper presidents’ wine list without first mentioning Thomas Jefferson. Commonly referred to as the “First Father of Wine,” Jefferson had a deep love for Bordeaux and Burgundy’s wines. Red Bordeaux is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and/or a small percentage of other varieties. Here at Black Star Farms, we have two different red blends styled after Bordeaux, Vintner’s Select, and 2017 Leorie Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc.
President James Monroe was known to enjoy Burgundy greatly. Red Burgundy, also known as Bourgogne Rouge, is made primarily from Pinot Noir grapes, while White Burgundy (or Bourgogne Blanc) is made mainly from Chardonnay grapes. To experience a Michigan representation of Red Burgundy, look no further than our 2017 Arcturos Pinot Noir and 2017 A Capella Pinot Noir. And for you dry white fans, we also have the 2019 Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay styled after crisp, un-oaked White Burgundy.
When thinking of celebratory wine, most of us think Champagne, and so did several of our presidents. Presidents James Madison, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft, and John F. Kennedy were all ardent bubbly fans and served the sparkling wine for many state dinners. We also love its nutty, creamy, and toasty flavors and aromas and have our own version of the timeless bubbly. Made in the Méthode Champenoise, our 2017 Blanc de Blanc is dry, crisp, and delights the palate with each sip.
John Quincy Adams, James Buchanan, and George Washington all adored Madeira, which comes from the Portuguese Madeira Islands. The wines range from dry to sweet and are fortified with brandy allowing them to age for years without spoiling. Much like the sweeter versions of Madeira, such as Malmsey, our decadent Sirius Red Dessert Wine is fortified with brandy and drinks well after dinner on its own or paired with rich chocolate desserts, cheesecake, and ice cream.
We would be remiss not to mention our cider-loving leaders. Both John Adams and William Henry Harrison enjoyed hard cider. According to historical author Mark Will-Weber, Adams loved the alcoholic beverage so much that he started “almost every morning with a hard cider.” While we will not endorse starting every morning with hard cider, we can certainly advocate for adding cider to your drinking repertoire. Our Hard Apple Cider is a traditional off-dry cider made from a blend of eight different apples. Looking for something sweeter? Try our Hard Apple Cherry Cider
Also, on presidents who preferred other alcoholic beverages outside of wine, we don’t want to skip over the spirit drinkers. According to writer and historian Matthew Rowley, Woodrow Wilson was a fan of Scotch, and George Washington was known to have sold whiskey. Our distillation program includes locally-sourced fruit brandies, like our classic Spirit of Apple Brandy or our elevated aged brandies like the Cerasus (a three-year, barrel-aged cherry brandy) and our 10-Year Apple Brandy. Brandies are available to purchase only at our two Traverse City area tasting rooms.