Doc's News will feature an ongoing series of articles by one of America's most respected wine authorities, the late Jim Sanders, under the heading: IN VINO VERITAS. This magazine is the only place where the legend's essays can be found.

Jim Sanders was the undisputed father of fine wine not only in Atlanta, where his retail store was frequented by wine enthusiasts daily, but throughout the region. Mr. Sanders’ French wines, all 140 fabulous Burgundies, are still produced today, two year’s after his death, under the auspices of the house of Loboure-Roi in Nuits Saint-Georges, France. They are available only at his store in Atlanta, which continues through the goodness of Doug Bryant, an internationally respected wine retailer.

Prior to his death, Jim Sanders asked our own Doc Lawrence to write his biography and entrusted many private papers with Doc. We will regularly feature Jim Sanders’ wine essays and commentaries which our readers will find romantic and educational.

S is dedicated to Jim Sanders and his amazing ability to pair great wine with Southern cuisine. Jim cooked gourmet meals daily in the kitchen in the rear of his store and served memorable dishes to Governors, Senators, trial lawyers and physicians, along with a rich mixture of housewives, actresses, TV personalities and good friends. Jim proved that Cotes du Rhone was a perfect accompaniment to barbeque and that Sauvignon Blanc seemed to be made just for fried catfish.

Jim Sanders' words today have mighty impact. He was a wine consultant to upscale restaurants and supplied more than 600 wine cellars in the United States. He was selected on 18 occasions for Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin awards presented by the prestigious French burgundy fraternity. The French government awarded Jim Sanders its Merite Agricole medal, a rare achievement for an American.

Scroll down to the first selection of IN VINO VERITAS , an exclusive feature of Doc’s News.


Reflections on a Glass of Wine

by James B. Sanders

The silver-haired gentleman gazed at his glass of rare old Chambertin so hard and long that the young American wine enthusiast who had traveled far to drink and talk with this world-renowned authority on all things vinous and gustatory finally asked, "What do you see?"

Continuing to swirl and stare at the brick-red liquid, the venerable wine sage replied, "When I look at a wine of this one's quality, charm and provenance, I get a glimpse of the best of man and his struggle through civilization for wine is older than any record of man's existence on earth, but as young as the next harvest.

"I see an unfolding panorama of history and the people who made it. Cave dwellers sketching vintage scenes on the walls of their grottoes, great pharaohs being interred with amphorae of wine for refreshment in future life; Noah planting the first commercial vineyards; Jesus turning water into wine as His first miracle and the disciples gathering for the Last Supper.

"I see Julius Caesar and his legions teaching the semiferal Gauls and Teutons to row grapes and make wine; busy alchemists working with wine in their primitive laboratories and practicing the only science known at their time; and fervent young Crusaders marching off to the lands of the Saracen and bringing back the grape varieties that distinguish so many fine wines.

"I see Cortez and his conquistadors decreeing that wine should be a principal endeavor of the New World; Jesuit and Franciscan brothers spreading the grape and their version of the word of God throughout the new land of California and the Hungarian nobleman, County Haraszthy, bringing European grapes to the sunny West Coast to found the American wine industry as we know it.

"I see men and women of destiny - George Washington amassing one of the finest collections of ports, sherries, and Canary Island wines ever assembled. Thomas Jefferson journeying through the famous vineyards of Europe to assess their quality and devising the dumb-waiter to convey his wines from cellar to dining room at Monticello. Benedict Arnold, incidentally, was never known for his love of wine.

"I see Marie Antoinette crying because Louis XVI would not give her Chateau Lafitte; Talleyrand gaining favor with his diplomatic adversaries by serving his Chateau Haut-Brion at the Congress of Vienna, and Napoleon Bonaparte lugging barrels of Chambertin along on his marches to Moscow and Waterloo.

"I see an obscure wine chemist in eastern France seeking new techniques to aid the struggling winemaker and thereby discovering pasteurization and the germ theory of disease.

"I see Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sharing many classic bottles at their momentous meetings at Casablanca, Teheran and Malta while their Nazi and Fascist counterparts practiced teetotalism.

"I see great celebrations, the launching of a thousand ships, the liberation of countless French villages in two world wars, victory parades down the Champs Elysees, joyous greetings of the ever-promising New Year, and the wedding parties of millions of pairs of lovers.

"I see generations of Jewish fathers conducting seders at Passover, and the first and last communions for untold generations of other faiths."

The old gentleman paused and took a sip of his wine. "Forgive me," he said, "I ramble. But, if you will pardon my verbosity, I'll continue.

"One should never believe that the glory of wine is all in its past. The best is now and yet to come.

"I see modern-day wine lovers gaining greater joy from life through the pleasures of the glass and achieving the desirous habit of moderation for these nectars map out the surest most pleasurable route to temperance.

"I see young couples learning to dine - rather than simply eat - because of the bottles of wine on their tables. And as they share intimate moments over wine, I see them learning to communicate with each other - an art I'm afraid is lost to those who limit their imbibition to hard spirits.

"I see a greater appreciation of the gifts the Lord has given us. Since wine sharpens all our senses, music sounds fuller and richer, literature is more potent, great paintings gain dimensions, friendships are fonder and there is deeper meaning to the touch of a loved one's hand.

"When I look at this fine old Burgundy, I see a most valuable contributor to civilized living and gentility.

"I see the Good Life."

Other interesting links:

Doc's Wine Choices

Doc's Restaurant Recommendations

Doc's New Orleans Restaurant Recommendations

Legendary Wine Cellars

Why We Dine - John Mariani's inspiring essay


For details, E-mail Doc at doclawrence@mindspring.com.

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