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What's on Your Wine and Food Bucket List?

Time to dream about those great bottles and dishes you’ve always wanted
Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: May 9, 2012 10:30am ET

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?

Stephanie A Hubbell
winter —  May 9, 2012 1:00pm ET
I always talk with friends about this subject. Have you been to Pok Pok in Portland, Or? Ike's chicken wings are a thing beyond words and recently I had a bottle of 2004 Pur Sang there and the oceans parted. If you haven't been to Pok Pok, put that on your bucket list. cheers!
Hoyt Hill
Nashville, TN USA —  May 9, 2012 2:15pm ET
Michel Bras
La Chiusa in Tuscany
Atelier Joel Robuchon in Paris again
Back in time to Taillevent when Mr Vrinat was still alive
Inn at Blackberry Farm

1847 Yquem
1870 Lafite
1962 Leroy La Romanee
1985 Guigal La Mouline
1961 Hermitage la Chapelle
Peter Vangsness
Springfield, MA —  May 9, 2012 2:24pm ET
A sip of the 1811 "Comet Vintage" d'Yquem would work for me.
Gerry Ansel
Fullerton, Calif —  May 9, 2012 2:58pm ET
Tim, I happen to own six bottles of the '99 Margaux. I bought them without tasting them, based on Spectator's review alone. How was it?

The only wine on my Bucket List would be a very old Madeira - like, pre-Civil War era. A guy at my wine storage facility had recently consumed a bottle, and said it was a religious experience.
Reggie Mcconnell
Indiana —  May 9, 2012 3:12pm ET
I wish I had ordered some double mags. of Randy Dunn's 1987 Howell Mountain Cab. (when I had the chance).
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  May 9, 2012 3:21pm ET
Thanks for the comments.

Stephanie - Pok Pok sounds like a must!

Hoyt - Why didn't I think of the 1847 Yquem?

Peter - Ditto on the 1811!

Gerry - I thought the Margaux was drinking beautifully. It's just starting to mature. It's not a vintage for the ages but there's still plenty of time, which is good since my son was born in 1999 and I have some Bordeaux set aside.

Mark Lyon
Sonoma, CA; USA —  May 9, 2012 3:32pm ET
My bucket list would be going to Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa for two consecutive nites of dining. They have an amazing list of older vintage Red Burgundies, Bordeaux's and California Cabernets. They don't gauge either. Second would be going to Paris at a restaurant specializing in pre-70's Red Bordeaux; then another restaurant having a great list of Red Burgundies from the 90's. The Sommelier's should be able to direct me to the hedonistic wines!
Hoyt Hill
Nashville, TN USA —  May 9, 2012 5:33pm ET
I have done that at Bern's a couple of times and it is almost impossible to have more fun with your clothes on. Once had an 1981 JL Chave Hermitage Blanc for $35, and it was perfect!
Adam Lee
Santa Rosa, CA —  May 9, 2012 5:55pm ET
Oddly, it has little to do with wine and not a lot to do with food -- but I want to go to the Kentucky Derby. Dress up, seersucker and all, and drink mint julips and eat whatever southern treat they got going there.

Adam Lee
Siduri Wines
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  May 9, 2012 7:06pm ET
Adam, sounds like you need a vacation from all things wine to me. I can relate sometimes.
Larry Thomas
Naples,FL.,USA —  May 9, 2012 9:33pm ET
Why not kill 2 birds w/1 stone...Check out the fabulous New Orleans Food&Wine Experience held each year on Memorial Day Weekend.Great wine&incredible food!Be sure to allow a couple extra days to really savor N'awlins
John Petrick
Louisville —  May 10, 2012 7:42am ET
A "drop" in my bucket list was realized last year on my 50th B-Day. Myself along with 9 of my friends for dinner at The French Laundry. Menu=11 courses. We were served 19 of the most intense-and sublime-creations imaginable.

Wines: 1961 Petrus (My birth year)
'74 Stags Leap Cask 23
94 Whitehall Lane Reserve
2001 Shea Homer Pinot
Morewine Bishar
Del Mar, California —  May 11, 2012 1:56pm ET
I have been very fortunate to have tasted a great many fine old classic wines, but for me the Wine of Legend, the one I've never had and would most like to taste has got to be the 1945 Mouton. Michael Broadbent said of it "This is not claret, it is Mouton... a Churchill of a wine." This incredible wine from the victory year holds a special place in my vinous imagination. Someday...

David Clark
for The Wine Connection
Angela T Carlson
Alameda, CA —  May 17, 2012 1:30pm ET
I was very fortunate a few weeks ago to share a 1976 Chateau Lafite Rothschild with husband and best buddy who had returned from living in Hawaii for a few years. My friend had gotten it at charity auction quite a while ago along with a 1972 Pedroncelli Cabernet Sauvignon for about $50.

After opening the bottle, the aromatics were off the charts! There was still nice fruit although my husband thought it was a little past its prime it was still super delicious and we drank every drop possible. The crazy thing for me was that the little bit of wine, cork and sediment in the bottle still was smelling awesome two weeks later when I took it to my WSET class to share.

So, now I understand and could appreciate another aged First Growth Bordeaux as well as some nice Burgundy, some amazing Riesling (my favorite) and of course a few more of Adam's wines ; )
Now if I only had the budget...

On the food front, I'd love to eat my way through Alsace, Germany, France, Austria and the Alto Adige in small cafes/bistros with local wines from small quality producers to match.

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