Wine Book Review: Passions – The Wines and Travel of Thomas Jefferson

by James M. Gabler

James Gabler Wine Book - PassionsAmazon USAmazon UK
Thomas Jefferson is well known in the world of wine for his ranking of the best Bordeaux chateaux well before the 1855 classification with stunning prescience. In addition to his feats in service to the US government, Jefferson is famous for his love of food, travel, and wine; particularly French wine.

Passions is an interesting biography of Jefferson as told through his travels, particularly those in Europe during his stint as minister to France (1785 – 1789). The wine book reads almost like a travel journal detailing everything Jefferson did during his travels in miniscule detail. You will accompany Jefferson on every trip and each meal tasting the food and drinking the wine as he did and sharing his perceptions. For those to whom history and particularly Jefferson is a true interest this book will delight you with a side of Jefferson unknown to many.

However, the detailed nature of the book can be off-putting for those seeking an easier read. At times Passions reads like a logbook of activities with little story to string events together. Some exceptions are to be found as with Chapter 4 “a Romantic Interlude” being particularly interesting…although also the chapter the least focused on wine. The appendices are very interesting including a list of Jefferson’s favorite wines that are available today and what was in the White House cellar during Jefferson’s presidency.

An excellent read for those interested in the history of America’s most famous wine connoisseur. For those with less patience and interest this wine book may be too much of a chore to read.

Wine Book Summary

Verdict Bunch ColorBunch ColorBunch ColorBunch BWBunch BW 3 out of 5 bunches
Proficiency Bunch ColorBunch ColorBunch BWBunch BWBunch BW 2 out of 5 glasses