The line to taste the Château Margaux 1999 at Saturday's Wine Spectator Grand Tour in Las Vegas seemed to stretch all the way to the Hoover Dam. Even though the 1999 vintage wasn't particularly outstanding for Bordeaux, it was a rare chance for some wine lovers to taste a well-cellared first-growth.
Not everyone is blessed with opportunities to taste great wines. Watching the crowd that night I started thinking about the wines I'd line up to taste. You might say it would be my bucket list, you know, the inventory of things you want to try before you kick the bucket. When it comes to wine (and food, for that matter) what would I put on my list?
I'd start off thinking big, like drinking some classic old wines. I've tasted a few 1961 Bordeaux over the years—the Margaux stands out in my mind—but I've always wanted to try the 1945 Château Latour, a celebrated wine made just at the end of World War II. For Burgundy, I'm thinking something like the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1949, a great wine from a legendary vintage.
Old California Cabernet Sauvignons are hard to come by. About 20 years ago, I inherited a bottle of Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1968. When I opened it I had no idea that it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, a rare wine from an excellent vintage. It was spectacular, still big and bold but pure silk. Later, I found out it was made by Lee Stewart, who mentored the likes of Paul Draper, Warren Winiarski and Mike Grgich. I'd like to have another bottle of that. Oh hell, why not go for a case?
I've participated in vertical tastings from the cellars of Beaulieu and Inglenook from the 1940s, '50s and '60s, and many of the wines had faded but a handful were remarkably rich and youthful. It would be a treat to have a bottle of the Inglenook Napa Valley 1941 or Beaulieu Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve 1951.
I'd add some wine and food experiences to my list. I've explored most of the major wine regions of France but I'd like to get to know Tuscany better and Germany too. I've had many great meals in Paris but have never been to a three-star restaurant like L'Ambroisie or Le Cinq. I'd rest easier if I noshed on the Terrine of foie gras from La Tupina in Bordeaux at least one more time.
I've been to nearly every major city in the United States except New Orleans. I'd like to rectify that. To the list I'd add the hot pastrami sandwich from Second Avenue Deli in New York and barbecue from Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City and the Moonlite in Owensboro, Ky. And of course, my mom's pan-fried chicken—it was the best.
Those are just a few of the things I'd put on my list. What do you think? What would you include on your wine and food bucket list?