What Did President Biden Serve at His First State Dinner? Wines and Cheese from the West That Are Actually Perfect for the Holidays
The menu also has some French influence.
The White House State Dinner is a grand affair where politics and international diplomacy play out against a backdrop of elaborate floral arrangements, seating charts, cross-cultural entrée selections, and stunning table settings. On December 1, President Biden hosted French President Emmanuel Macron at the first state dinner of his term in a room festooned with red, white, and blue florals in the parallel hues of the two nations’ flags. Jon Batiste from the Franco-U.S. city of New Orleans performed with the U.S. Marine Band, butter-poached lobster was served, and bubbly was poured into French glassware. But the culinary and vinous offerings were American products, hailing from esteemed wineries and cheesemakers from the West, albeit with a little French influence, and appropriately elevated for an event of this caliber.
For those willing to spend a little, they turn out to be a handy blueprint for what to serve at a grand celebration of our own, as the rich menu would work quite well at a holiday gathering. Here are the Western products served that you could put on your table for a dinner worthy of a head of state.
Roederer Estate Brut Rosé
The pink sparkler is from Roederer Estate, in the Mendocino County, California, outpost of the French winemaker. As the winery notes, “The wine is full and round with smooth flavors and fine persistent bubbles. The extra measure of Pinot Noir contributes elegance and austerity, which balance nicely with the delicate fruitiness of the Chardonnay.” While the Bidens served this with dessert, this also works as a stellar aperitif.
2019 Anakota Cabernet Sauvignon
Made by French winemakers in Sonoma County in the Knights Valley appellation on Mount St. Helena, this Cabernet Sauvignon (French grape!) has aromas of “dried black currant, dried blackberry, and sun-dried Herbs de Provence” and is aged in French (!) oak. This was a perfect pairing for the coulotte of beef served with shallot marmalade, triple-cooked potatoes, sunchokes, creamed watercress, and a red-wine reduction.
2018 Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay
To go with butter-poached lobster the menu went the classic route by pairing it with a Napa Chardonnay with “hints of panna cotta, toasted almonds, honey.”
Rogue River Blue
Oregon’s Rogue Creamery is a pioneering cheesemaker and their multiple-award-winning Rogue River Blue was the star of the American artisanal cheese course. Wrapped in Syrah leaves and aged nine to eleven months, this is one of the best blue cheeses in the country.
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