It is the end of the world and you can crack open one last bottle of wine, what will it be? We asked our sommeliers for their final pours…
Aurelie Taheri – Chateau Rayas La Pialade 2011 Cotes du Rhone, France
I come from a modest family, and if I had to choose my last bottle of wine it would have to be something as simple as the start of my life. Throughout my career, I have worked in London and Paris, in different Michelin-starred restaurants and I have had the opportunity and luck to try exceptional wines from the best terroir and producers in the world. But if I had to choose one last bottle, it would have to be one that meant something special to me.
Wine is all about sharing, and emotions. On my father’s 58th birthday, we opened a bottle of Cotes du Rhone la Pialade 2011. This bottle comes from one of the best winemakers in the entire Rhone Valley, Emmanuel Reynaud, but the wine itself is quite humble, a blend of two different terriors Chateau Rayas and Fonsalette, and the grapes used are the ones that were not good enough to make Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but are so beautiful in this blend.
For me, it is an exceptional explosion of crunchy berries, raspberry, pomegranate, blackcurrant, and has an amazing floral character – sublime with a hint of spiciness. The tannin is velvety, long and refined. But what I really love about this wine is that it gave me one of my favourite memories with my father, and it has become one of his favourite wines now too. Whenever I drink it I think of him, but also of the passion I have for wine and all the pleasure it brings.
Johann Kwon – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ‘S.L.V’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley, USA
In 2017 I was just about to move to Hong Kong. I was both nervous and extremely excited about being in a foreign country, meeting interesting people, and having new experiences. Right before I left, one of my colleagues gave me a gift, a bottle of ‘Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars ‘S.L.V’ Cabernet Sauvignon’ 2010 vintage.
I shared the bottle with my family during one of the last meals we had before I moved to Hong Kong. Everyone was completely charmed, the finish of the wine was endless like an eternity and in the words of my father, ‘This wine is just perfect. It can be a drink, a meal and a dessert all by itself, so I don’t need anything but this tonight!’
The winery is one of the most historic wineries of California, founded in the 19th century, and its wine ‘S.L.V’ is a well-known success story from the 1973 Judgment of Paris. This wine has great structure, powerful but elegant, silky texture tannins, lots of black fruits and eucalyptus flavours with sophisticated toasty scents from the gentle ageing in new oaks.
Every time I see this bottle through a window of a wine shop it reminds me of one of the happiest moments in my life and brings me back to my family.
Antonin Dubuis – Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2014, Loire Valley, France
I first discovered this wine in London, and not too long after I visited the family-owned Domaine du Clos Naudin in France during the spring of 2016. That visit has led to one of my favourite memories. They took us to the cellar and gave us a blind tasting of all their vintage bottles, year after year, vintage after vintage, and each and every one was so different. I saw the potential of them all, and how incredible these vintages can be. They made us guess all the years, and 2014 was my absolute favourite.
I believe it is one of the greatest expressions from an underrated area, it really tells a story. It is pure, bright and precise. The scents flow from orange citrus, to lemon balm and honeyed apricot, with strong earth elements. You would not believe how good this wine was, you would have thought you had already died and gone to heaven.
Cristian Favaro – Loredan Gasparini Capo di Stato 1980, Montello e Colli Asolani, Italy
If I had to choose just one last bottle of wine, I would definitely pick something from where I grew up – Veneto, Italy. One last taste of home.
Capo di Stato, Loredan Gasparini 1980 is a hidden gem from the region. It’s made in the Montello Valley, near Treviso and in my opinion, it is easily the best red wine of the Triveneto. It is a deep wine, hot in colour, with intense and charming aroma, rich with wild berries and light spices. A wine with a strong body and stiff, sweet and important tannins, infinite and persuasive. Plus, there would be some poetic justice in my last bottle of wine being a 1980 vintage, as I am also a 1980 baby, and this wine and I would go into and out of the world together!
It is too difficult to pick just one last bottle. I would rather go out in style and organise the most incredible dinner with some of the oldest and rarest bottles – the kind of iconic wines a sommelier would dream to have a sip of.
Massandra Sherry de la Frontera 1775
The wine was produced by the Massandra Winery, located in the Republic of Crimea, which was home to an extensive collection of valuable Russian and European wines. In 1922, after the Russian revolution, the winery was nationalised and its cellars became a protected institution.
Lafitte TH.J 1787
The bottle came from a collection that was discovered behind a brick-up wall in Paris. Evidence suggested that the wine belonged to Thomas Jefferson who was generally regarded as one of the world’s finest connoisseurs.
Romanée Conti 1945
Produced just after WW2, this top Burgundy producer made only 600 bottles before pulling up its vines for replanting.
Vin Jaune 1774
Vinified by the winemaker Anatoile Vercel and kept in the family cellar since in Arbois (Jura). It is an unusual 87 cl bottle harvested under the reign of Louis XVI.
Tokaji from the royal Saxon cellar 1650-1690
This wine is believed to be the oldest intact Tokaji bottle and was certified as authentic by the foundation of the house of Wettin, which administrated the heritage of the former Saxon monarchy.
There are probably a lot more because if it is the last time I am drinking wine, it is going to be a very big party.