President Barack Obama joked that it would be ‘insulting’ not to try the Tuscan wines brought to the White House by Italy’s prime minister as part of a state visit.

President Obama and prime minister Renzi talk about Tuscan wine. Image credit: The White House.

The pair are understood to have enjoyed a glass of  Tuscan wine together during the visit. ‘I brought a few bottles of wine for Barack [Obama], because I know that he’s a great expert,’ said Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi during a joint press conference.

German news agency DPA International reported Renzi’s office as saying that the wines were Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Tignanello – all Super Tuscan estates – as well as a Brunello di Montalcino.

The move is another example of wine greasing the wheels of diplomacy, while the US is also a key market for many Italian wineries.

‘I felt it would be insulting for me not to sample it,’ Obama said of the wine, to muted laughter from the press. ‘I will give you, Matteo, a report on whether it is up to the quality we expect,’ he quipped.

The identity of the wine served during dinners has become an important part of the political process during state visits in several countries. Last year, Obama promoted African-American winemakers at a White House dinner for African leaders.

Read more about wine and diplomacy in this Decanter feature on the UK Government’s wine cellar.

Written by Chris Mercer