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 years 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
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.
IN VINO VERITAS 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
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 Docs News.
VINO VERITAS 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
never believe that the glory of wine is all in its past. The best
is now and yet to come.
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.
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
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.
I look at this fine old Burgundy, I see a most valuable contributor
to civilized living and gentility.
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Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Doc Lawrence can be reached at: email@example.com