Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Photographs by Kiyomi
Any winemaker should be pleased to garner a 90 point (or more) wine score for his or her wine. In the wine market, this score (Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, etc.) is generally a tell-tale sign that the vintage is exceptional. And, if perchance that same wine happens to make its way to the table of a White House dinner, the designated winemaker should have good reason to break out in a generous smile.

I can only imagine that the Duckhorn family was thrilled when they found out that two of the three California wines being served at President Obama's inaugural luncheon belonged to their very own vineyards. This meant that the First Family, former Presidents George W. Bush, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justices, and several other political luminaries had a chance to sip on a glass of wine that represented many years of hard work for the winemakers.

I recently traveled to the Napa Valley for a another chance to team up with the Duckhorn family and Chef Christopher Ludwick of Grapevine Catering. We hosted a private dinner at Duckhorn Vineyards. The guests of the event were wine aficionados who won the dinner at a Napa Valley auction. The menu featured samplings from several former White House events. Each course was paired with a specific Duckhorn wine. For instance, Duckhorn's 2006 Parraduxx was served with a course featuring Hudson River foie gras and buffalo tenderloin.

I had a fabulous evening conversing with intriguing guests and sharing a great meal. Chef Chris did an exceptional job managing the helm in the kitchen. The wine was outstanding; I particularly loved the Goldeneye Pinot Noir. I wished I could have stayed longer, but unfortunately I had to catch a red-eye out of SFO. Regardless, the evening was memorable - so much so that it seemed to make a two day flight to Sri Lanka much shorter than it really was.

Sunday, May 23, 2010