Trump vs Clinton: Make America Grape Again

We consider America’s political front runners through our wine glasses.
Photo by Jens Johnson

Donald J. Trump’s son, Eric, owns Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, a stone’s throw from where Thomas Jefferson once tended vines.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t own a winery. But in New York’s Hudson Valley, about an hour north of her adopted hometown of Chappaqua, you’ll find Clinton Vineyards. It’s loosely named after George Clinton, not the leader of Parliament-Funkadelic, but New York’s first governor and Jefferson’s vice president. The winery released a wine in 2012 called “Victory White,” made from Seyval Blanc grapes, to encourage Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2016.

I sat down with bottles of Trump 2008 SP Reserve and Clinton Vineyards NV Jubilee. Absent of tea leaves, I thought tasting these wines might provide insight into who will win in November. Both are méthode Champenoise sparkling wines but, like the candidates, that’s about all they have in common.

Both are méthode Champenoise sparkling wines but, like the candidates, that’s about all they have in common.

Clinton Vineyards NV Jubilee (Hudson River Region, New York); $35. The Hudson Valley is known for growing some great fruit—just not grapes. This nonvintage Seyval Blanc is light yellow in hue. On the nose, the Jubilee falls as flat as a Monica Lewinsky joke at a Clinton family barbecue. Mild flavors of apple and pear cider could use the spine Hillary showed during her Benghazi hearing. This voter has spoken: This “country-style” sparkling wine needs a super PAC to make its case.

Trump 2008 SP Brut Reserve (Monticello, Virginia); $50. Will Trump’s top sparkling wine make Virginia wine great (again)? Probably not, because, in my opinion, this isn’t spectacular. Good? Yes, especially if you read The Weekly Standard or watch a lot of Fox News. On the nose, it’s mature, probably more so than the guy who introduced us to “Little Marco” and “Lyin’ Ted.” On the palate, it’s high in acid but bready, which makes sense because this spent more than five years on its lees. Flavors of lime, banana and melon are more suggestive of Cava than Champagne.

Published on August 1, 2016
Topics: Wine Trends
About the Author
Michael Schachner
Spanish and South American Editor

Reviews wines from Argentina, Chile and Spain.

Michael Schachner is a New York-based journalist specializing in wine, food and travel. His articles appear regularly in Wine Enthusiast, where he is a longstanding contributing editor responsible for South America and Spain. Schachner reviews more than 2,000 wines annually for WE and regularly travels to Chile, Argentina and Spain to keep abreast of the constantly changing global wine map. Email: mschachner@wineenthusiast.net.




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