Obama serves Hollande ‘cheap’ US wine

12th February, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

The choice of American wine served by US President Barack Obama to French President François Hollande at last night’s state dinner has been slammed as “cheap”.

Barack Obama’s wine choice for Françoise Hollande has been slammed as “cheap”. Photo credit: Eric Feferberg/AFP

While former President George W. Bush once served former French President Nicholas Sarkozy a US$100 2004 Dominus Cabernet blend, Obama has been accused by the Washington Examiner of “going down the Costco route.”

The three wines served at the dinner – Morlet La Proportion Doree 2011 from the Napa Valley, Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2009 from Washington’s Columbia Valley and sparkling wine Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay from Monticello in Virginia had a combined retail price of just $125.

To pair, Hollande enjoyed American….

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35 Responses to “Obama serves Hollande ‘cheap’ US wine”

  1. Peter Bowyer says:

    It is nice to know that the world’s socialist leaders still have Champagne tastes – whilst the rest of the world toils to pay the taxes to fund their disastrous economic policies… $40 a bottle doesn’t sound like bargain basement prices to me – and anyone who suggests that they are is living in a different world to the rest of the us.

  2. Jeffry martini says:

    Who the heck cares what they cost!!! Did they taste great & pair well with the food….that’s all that should count!

  3. Mike Hockurtz says:

    It’s “bargain basement” if it cost less than a plate at that dinner. It’s also gauche to say how great French wine is and then serve low-end American wine. The classier approach would be to either serve quality wines from relatively unknown wineries (regardless of price) or serve well-known high-end wines Hollande might have known about (regardless of price)

    But complaining about how expensive these wines are is not seeing the forest for the trees. You might as well complain that they wore thousand dollar suits or burned ten gallons of gasoline getting there–irrelevant details. What should we do when world leaders meet–feed them the stereotypical gas-station cuisine to bolster our already-MTV image? Please.

  4. Neil Lofgren says:

    First timer I heard of Obama trying to hold the cost of anything g down…. this is good.

  5. Luke Wohlers says:

    What’s ironic about this that the article and Dr. Vino failed to point out is the fact that all these wines are made by French-born winemakers now practicing their craft in the U.S. The choice was clearly not random, as Obama’s statement on American proclivity for French wines shows. Further, these are all well-made, quite delicious wines.

    • Tary Salinger says:

      Luke Wohler’s comments are spot on! There was a lot of thought that went into these choices, i.e. French theme, Jefferson’s home of Monticello, Virginia, etc. If Daniel Schanks is still part of the White House F&B team, his fingerprints are all over this.

  6. taxpayer says:

    the meal as a whole though cost 2.1 million dollars so we’re still OK.

  7. Tedd Wildman says:

    Who the hell is Tyler Coleman, and who cares? My grapes are in Chester-Kidder, and I think its great that the wine is getting that kind of appreciation and exposure.

    • John Bell says:

      Right on, Tedd. It takes great grapes to make great wine in the hand of a great winemaker. Your grapes are among the very best. Thanks for being such a committed grower! You’re helping put Washington STATE wines on the map.

  8. xsnake says:

    Moochelle’s frocking expensive duds make up for the cheap vino.

  9. C'mon man says:

    Obama serves “cheap” wine – “This is an outrage”
    Obama serves “expensive” wine – “This is an outrage”

    Remeber when the guy ordered arugula and brown mustard on his sandwich. Fox news and tea partiers blew a gaskit. Real ‘mericans only use iceburg lettuce and yellow mustard

  10. Really? “Cheap” wines. Not only does “cheap’ imply they didn’t cost much, I think everyone would pretty much agree, the term is construed to mean lacking in quality.
    Never met Tyler Coleman, but my guess is that he did not do his homework or this and certainly never tasted Luc Morlet’s La Proportion Doree, an off-the-charts incredibly delicious wine that retails for ~ $75 a bottle and received strong press from Robert Parker with a 95 point score!
    “Cheap”? Really Tyler?

  11. Bill Mishem says:

    This dill whole “wine writer” Tyler Colman can spend a few thousand and send over some good wine next time if it’s such a problem for him. Since these guys are dining on fine steaks and wine on my taxpayer dime while I’m rolling change to get gas, I think cheaper is better…

  12. Pablito says:

    So expensive wine is always better, huh? What a load of crap – but what do you expect from someone who makes a living trying to get people to spend more on wine?


  13. Carol says:

    Luke Wohlers point is spot on. He should have written the article. Not sure where Dr. Vino got his doctorate nor think this article is worthy.

  14. Steve Griessel says:

    I think the writer missed the mark completely. The theme of French winemakers in the USA makes total sense. The Chester Kidder is a great wine and is an excellent example of the great wines Washington state produces at an affordable price. Wine does not have to be expensive to be great.

  15. Carol says:

    Luke Wohlers is spot on. He should have written this article. Dr. Vino does not merit quoting nor his “Dr.” title for that matter. This is a stupid article- period.

  16. Rick Aldine says:

    He who judges wine by price is not well versed on wine. Luc Morlet’s wines are incredibly delicious and meticulously made, whether $75/btl or $750.

  17. Ronald Lougheed says:

    note that while Morlet Proportion Doree winery is in St Heleana, the grapes are from Sonoma County. Have we heard the story before?

  18. Expat Sick and tired of paying all the taxes in USA says:

    Actually, they should have served this commie Hollande McDonalds and Coke. He doesn’t deserve such lavish treatment as it is. The writer totally missed what Hollande has and continues to do to the French wine industry and French luxury goods in general.

    As far as I am concerned, we as taxpayers should not have to pay for such lavish expenditures of this kind for a state dinner.

  19. Marc says:

    A most appropriate drink for a low-cost president.

  20. Wombles says:

    Luke Wohlers hit it on the spot. Very smart idea behind the choices, I really like the story!

    And I am sure, any foreign president appreciates such a “culture blend” much more than just the best 100% national product of the host.

    Also I don’t see the point about cost. Since when is there a linear -less talking about exponential- relation between price vs. quality in wines. And if 40 bucks on average per bottle is “cheap”, then I want to drink “cheap” till the end of my days!

  21. yuki saito says:

    Somehow my comment did not appear so here I go again. Those wines are very well made wines with quality and VALUE. They are at least at par with the past wines (whether more expensive, and then why?) if not better, I totally agree with Luke Wohlers and partially with Wombles. Though it is nice to showcase the fellow countryman/woman’s craft (in this case French-born american winemakers), we should also promote our own who make pretty darn good wines here as well.

  22. Thoughtful choices. To bring up the price is an embarrassingly American stereotype.

  23. Donald Coe says:

    Once again we see our pundits finding yet another way to criticize our President. The wines were well chosen to represent the efforts of transplanted French winemakers in the United States – a fitting tribute to both our fabled multi-cultism and our American wines. Any intelligent and fair-minded writer would find much to celebrate – a pox on self-styled “doctors of wine” from the Glen Beck gang.

  24. Bob Silver says:

    It’s fine to play Monday morning quarterback, as Tyler Coleman did in his Dr. Vino article. He’s entitled to his opinion, altho I think he misjudges the power of the clear and simple story that reinforces the French connection and missed the pricing mark by suggesting that the wines are ‘modest.’ However, the true bone-head reporting occurs in this article by saying that the wines are ‘cheap,’ Only a relative handful of US consumers drop $75 for a Napa red from Morlet or $50 for a Washington red blend, even one of the beautiful Long Shadows portfolio. The writer then compounds the dumb reporting by saying the total wine bill at retail is $125. So that means the bubbly from Virginia was free – seems like a terrific deal to me.

  25. JBerman says:

    He might know a little something about the wine business:



  26. Allen Balik says:

    The whole message conveyed in this article is absurd to say the least and I’m sure the author has never tasted Morlet’s La Proportion Doree. This is a stunning wine and certainly ranks as one of California’s, if not the world’s, finest white wines. I am not familiar with the other two wines poured but the Morlet wine would hold its place with the most prestigious and sought after wines to be found anywhere. The only problem is it’s made in relatively small quantity by winemaker extraordinaire Luc Morlet and is not readily available in most markets. I would humbly suggest that author Lucy Shaw do her homework and taste the wines she’s criticizing before she puts her ill founded opinions in print. After all the publication’s name is Drinks Business and therefore should be composed of well founded information and not ill informed opinions about which the author has no real knowledge.

  27. Mike Stone says:

    Obviously this article is written by a (not-too-experienced) wine snob who reads the price tag and immedieately thinks that expensive = better. NOT SO!!! Do some tasting, see for yourself. These are killer wines, the President is doing just fine. Shut the Fu*k up about his wine selections!


  28. Eric Riewer says:

    Isn’t it fun stirring up a storm in a wine glass just to get attention?

    But please, the first wine was a brilliant choice, an outstanding white made by the immensely talented (and French-born !) Luc Morlet from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, a typical Bordeaux blend. It is anything but a “cheap wine” be it price-wise or quality-wise.

    Robert Parker himself gives the Proportion Dorée 2011 a 95 score and praises it highly indeed : “Morlet’s reference point would appear to be the white wine made at Laville Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion. This remarkable, honeyed white offers hints of citrus oil, candle wax, tangerine skin and oranges. A wine of great intensity, texture and body, it is a dry, complex white.

    Same thing can be said for the red wine, the Chester Kidder 2009 from the producer Long Shadow. Parker’s Washington wine specialist Jeb Dunnuck gives it a 92 score and describes it as « A big, rich wine that does everything right, it has an inky purple color to go with intense creme de cassis, raspberry, toast and spiced meat aromas on the nose. » Kudos also to Obama’s staff for serving and serving an excellent example of the top, distinctive Washington reds which do not get as much international press attention as Napa reds.

  29. tim says:

    Anyone who thinks Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay is good for anything but cleaning a sink drain or scrubbing a toilet doesn’t have a sense of smell or taste. That stuff is horrible and poorly made, from poorly managed vineyards, in a hot humid nasty wine growing area. What an embarrassment.

  30. liam says:

    Unfortunately, this article sheds light on how shamefully pretentious the UK market is and how much the whole business is a giant facade. Folks in the wine business should be very careful when writing this kind of a ‘plonk’ article because it shames anyone who works in the trade.

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