Last year at this time, I wrote about Prohibition to celebrate the anniversary of its repeal on December 5th 1933! This year I’ve got my eye on another big date: December 21st. Yes, the day of the end of the world. Or so said the Mayans. Even though they never made such a prophecy (the date simply coincides with the end of a cycle in their calendar), I’ll take any excuse to work on my vinous bucket list. It’s as good a time as any to start pulling the corks on wines that we’ve been saving for a special moment. Wine has been produced for thousands of years, so there’s no shortage of worthy contenders any wine enthusiast would want to taste before facing mortality.
As a nod to my wife, I’ll start my bucket list with champagne and the famed Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs. It is only produced in the best vintages so the particular year doesn’t matter, but the 1985 is one of the greatest chardonnays I’ve ever had. Next up is one of the greatest dry rieslings: Clos Sainte Hune. This unique wine is from the Trimbach family in the town of Ribeauvillé in Alsace, but the vineyard is in the Rosacker Grand Cru of Hunawihr. I prefer this wine fairly old; the 1996 and the 2000 are both stunning.
While my list of whites is concise, my bucket list of reds could go on and on. Vintage is important for all wine, but with reds, the best can age for a very long time, I’ve had 100-year-old ports that were still awesome. Of course, I wouldn’t mind revisiting the 1945 Léoville-Las Cases I tasted recently, but for Bordeaux I’d seek out a 1945 (or ‘47 or ‘49) Château Calon-Ségur. This château has one of the longest histories, going back to the Roman Empire. Red Burgundy is also a tough category to narrow down, so I’ll pick the village of Volnay and look to either de Montille, Comte Armand or Marquis d’Angerville in a great mature vintage like 1990 or 1999.
No matter what makes your final list, remember that the wines you’ve been saving for special moments should be shared with special people. Don’t be a Miles (of Sideways fame), drinking 1961 Château Cheval Blanc by himself. Tragic.
More Bucket List Worthy Wines
• Vega Sicilia Reserva Especial: Greatest non-vintage red wine.
• 1949 Inglenook Cask: Any vintage before the 1970s will be interesting.
• 1992 Dominus: This is the same vineyard as above and first great one from this producer.
• 1995 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape: A nod to Grenache. Any great older vintage.
• 1999 J.M. Gerin Côte-Rôtie: A nod to Syrah. Again, any great older vintage will do.