Holt’s Confessions of a New York Winedrinker by Jim Holt

Jim Holt

Holt’s Confessions of a New York Winedrinker


Even for a Virginian, Thomas Jefferson was a pretty impressive fellow. In addition to drafting the Declaration of Independence (yes, I know he stole all the ideas from Locke) and more than doubling the size of this nation as president, he played a mean fiddle and was a dab hand at Palladian architecture. He founded the magnificent University of Virginia, which counts among its distinguished alumni Edgar Allan Poe, Taki, and myself. He invented Jeffersonian democracy, the dumb-waiter, the frisbee, and raspberry syrup, I think. It seems the only thing he lacked was a sense of humour.

The Sage of Monticello was also quite a connoisseur of wine. While ambassador to France he toured Bordeaux (where he preferred the white wines to the red) and Burgundy, annoying the natives with his vinicultural queries. Back in Virginia he laid down a respectable wine cellar (a vestigial bottle from

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

OUP Sinostan

Follow Literary Review on Twitter