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The wine list at Plume, the fine dining restaurant at The Jefferson, Washington, D.C., offers rare vintages that give you a chance to pair your meal with a trip back to Thomas Jefferson's time. During his time in office as the third president of the United States, Jefferson took time off to travel through Europe in search of great wines with which to stock the cellars of his estate, Monticello. Jennifer Knowles, Wine Director for both Quill (The Jefferson’s bar) and Plume, uses the paths of Jefferson's viniculture wanderings to build the restaurants' shared wine lists. The result includes selections from Spain, Austria and France, and also similar vintages from places Jefferson never visited — Japan, South Africa, Oregon and California.
The hotel's research also inspired a passion for Madeira, a fortified wine that was popular with Jefferson and his fellow revolutionaries. The restaurants have gathered vintages of this strong beverage, including bottles that date back to Jefferson's time (currently, the oldest on the list is from 1720). A taste is pricey ($1,720 for a 2 oz. pour), but will offer a hands-on historical experience few American wine lists can match.