Good Wine is a Necessity of Life For Me (Wine, Words, and Wednesday, No. 137)

Damn. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Wine, Words & Wednesday post.

I’ve been thinking about the Founding Fathers a lot this past week (well, more than usual, anyway). And these words from Thomas Jefferson are some of the most widely circulated words about wine:


The words have been altered, of course. The original words appear in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Appleton (American consul in Livorno, Italy) on January 14, 1816:

For the present I confine myself to the physical want of some good Montepulciano . . . the warm season will be so fast advancing, when you receive this, that no time will be to be lost. Perhaps I may trouble you annually to about the same amount, this being a very favorite wine, and habit having rendered the light and high flavored wines a necessary of life with me. 

Thomas Jefferson, 1816

“High flavored wines are a necessary of life” just doesn’t have the same panache, does it?

The good wine Jefferson is talking about is Montepulciano. Specifically, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, which is a wine made from a clone of Sangiovese called Prugnolo Gentile, in the town of Montepulciano. This is completely different from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which is a wine made from the grape Montepulciano, in the town of Abruzzo.

I’m with Mr. Jefferson. A year’s supply of good Montepulciano sounds perfect.


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