When it comes to wines at White House state dinners, cost typically isn't an issue.

One go-to vino maker for years has been Peter Michael, which sells many reds for between $100 and $200. When President Obama hosted China's president, he uncorked a $115 Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon. Mexico's president drank a $70 Valdez Family Winery Silver Eagle Vineyard Chardonnay at another Obama dinner. Former President George W. Bush served former French President Nicolas Sarkozy a $100-a-bottle 2004 Dominus cabernet blend.

But for Tuesday night’s dinner with French President François Hollande, it seems the White House is going the Costco route. Together, the three wines being offered cost a total of $125 and the president might get off with a bar tab of just $4,000.

That’s not to take away from the choices. All come with highly favorable reviews. The Morlet "La Proportion Doree" 2011, $45, gets 95 of 100 points. The Washington state Chester - Kidder Red Blend 2009, $49.99, won 92 points. And the go-to dessert wine from Monticello, Va., Washington Thibaut-Janisson "Blanc de Chardonnay," is $30 and rates well.

But typically the main red comes in at a bigger price, especially when the French are in town.

At least the White House has stopped hiding the names of the wines, which it started doing after Obama's first three state dinners, according to Bloomberg Luxury.

The menu:

First course

American Osetra caviar

Fingerling potato velouté, quail eggs, crisped chive potatoes

Second course

“The Winter Garden Salad”

Petite mixed radish, baby carrots, merlot lettuce

Red wine vinaigrette

Main course

Dry-aged rib eye beef

Jasper Hill Farm blue cheese, charred shallots, oyster

Mushrooms, braised chard


Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache

Vanilla ice cream and tangerines


Morlet “La Proportion Doree” 2011 Napa Valley, California

Chester-Kidder Red Blend 2009 Columbia Valley, Washington

Thibaut-Janisson “Blanc de Chardonnay” Monticello, Virginia

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.