Jefferson (and Wine) Lives!!
Jim Gabler will be familiar to readers of this blog who count themselves devotees of the more esoteric wine literary pursuits. An expert on wine and the life of Thomas Jefferson, Gabler has penned two of the more fascinating books in the American wine literary canon: "An Evening with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson" and "Passions: The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson," winner of the Veuve Cliquot Wine Book of the year. He has also penned, "Wine Into Words," the most comprehensive bibliography of english language wine books.
Jim has a new blog. And it qualifies as much as any wine blog for the characterization of "niche".
The new blog is entitled, Thomas Jefferson, Wine and Conversation.
To quote the new wine blogger:
"Each week (usually on Monday) you will find on the home page a different Jefferson venue: the White House, Monticello, Jefferson's Paris residence, Mount Vernon, etc. where you will be Mr. Jefferson's guest at dinner. He will evaluate that week's wine selection and share with you some of the most interesting experiences of his life. You will meet his friends, Benjamin Franklin, James and Dolly Madison, George Washington, John and Abigail Adams, Marquis de Lafayette, Philip Mazzei, Maria Cosway, Meriwether Lewis, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and many others."
It's always been hard to interest some people in history, even if that history includes wine anecdotes. When I was lecturing to college freshmen on American history there was always a dull look in at least half the students' eyes. I wasn't a bad lecturer, so I don't think that was it. I think the problem was the level of interest in things like the Articles of Confederation, the rum trade in colonial America and the ratification debates.
Still, if anyone can interest wine lovers in history (and wine lovers should have an interest in history if only to understand why they are tasting what they are tasting) it's Jim Gabler
His last book, "An Evening With Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson," as a fascinating and fun piece of historical conjecture that put Ben and Thomas in a room talking about their lives and their wines…something only James Gabler could write. Following its publication in 2006 I had a chance to interview him for this blog. It's a good read.
The new blog obviously combines his love of wine and history. Imagine a "Wine of the Week" introduced by Thomas Jefferson and perhaps commented upon by Ben Franklin or Aaron Burr. Wouldn't it be great to walk into a wine shop and read a little shelf talker description of a wine that had "Thomas Jefferson" identified as the source of the quote or rating.
With Thomas Jefferson, Wine and Conversation you are bound to get great writing, an introduction to a good wine and a bit of revolutionary era conversation that no other wine blog can deliver.
It might be interesting, even if off topic for the purpose of the Fermentation blog, if TomW someday could write about the listed history topics taught to first year college students. I suppose, the most germane of the ones mentioned might be the rum trade. The late 18th century was an era whose story even now remains controversial. Surely, writing about the constitutional convention and ratification would be only slightly farther removed from Fermentation’s key discussions than is the inspiration in the poetry of Van Morrison lyrics.