10 Desert Island Wines Choices
The one wine to most enjoy
drinking if marooned on a
for one year and the one if for life
“A girl and a
glass of wine
are saviours, and he who does not drink or kiss is dead
Johann Wolfgang Goethe once was asked
which three things he would take to an island. He stated: "Poetry, a
beautiful woman and enough bottles of the world's finest wines to
Then he was asked what he would leave back first, if it
allowed to take only two things to the island. And he briefly replied:
Slightly surprised, the man asked the next question:
"And Sir, what would you leave back if only one was allowed?" And
Goethe thought for a couple of minutes and answered: "It depends on
Many years ago
vocational guidance, I sometimes asked the following question of a new
client unsure of
their future life calling (vocation):
"What would you do if you
initially won the lottery, and
then what later after a year?"
far distanced from the usual worrying about the issue
of money, often provided insightful clues to how a person really wished
to live their
discover some new fantastic wines, I asked the proverbial
desert island question to twelve wine
experts what wine they would desire to drink if they had to spend a
from civilization and also, if different, what wine would they choose
rest of their lives apart from new supply.
Their responses include many well chosen wines which
I intend to taste,
whether I am ultimately
marooned on a desert island or hopefully not!
I believe you may feel the same way after reading their twelve answers:
# 7 "The
greatest wine I have ever had is 1945 Romanee Conti, and this would be
the last wine I would want to sip, closely followed by 1945 Petrus.
However, on a desert island I might prefer a crisp, refreshing
Sauvignon Blanc for everyday drinking :)"
President, Auction Director Acker
Merrall & Condit
Krug Grande Cuvee if I had
to choose one, but of course there are dozens [of champagnes] I would
be happy with."
Drew Nieporent, owner, Crush Wine &
#9 "Champagne –
absolutely the best wine in the tropics (which is where my dessert isle
is located – I refuse to be marooned in the Hebrides, for instance). It’s
very hard to have to pick just one, but I’ll go with a
current fave: Cedric Bouchard Brut Infloresence Blanc de Noirs (from
you know where for $54.99) – lively, rich and complex with
some nice red fruit tones, and great racy acidity."
Wolff, Partner, Chambers Street Wines
thought about your question before and long ago decided that, assuming
the desert island would be tropical, for one year it would definitely
be a really extra fine Beaujolais Cru (the best currently being the
fantastic Chiroubles 2009 of Domaine Cheysson, (a true bargain from you
know where at only $15.95)!
Because as I prefer red wine over white and since I’m
probably going to eat mainly fish (if I’m a good fisherman),
I know I’ll want a delicious, yet constantly charming and
interesting wine with some vital liveliness that I won’t get
tired of drinking every night for a year! Plus…as I hope it
will be a warm tropical desert island, with no
cellar, perhaps I’ll find a cool cave to lower the
temperature of my 600 plus bottles of Chiroubles (lunch + dinner) a
bit! Try Cheysson’s 2009 Chiroubles and you will see why I
to answer the lifetime part of the question, I refer you to the late
(great) Len Evans’ remarkable Theory of Capacity
below…after re-reading his vinous-wise philosophy, if I had
to make a choice of only one wine to drink for the rest of my life on a
desert island (with a cool cave that I would dig myself (if I had to)
to preserve my lifetime one-wine cache) I want to drink La Tache 1990
have to tell you that I must be accompanied on this island whether for
a year or the rest of my life by my wife, Cathy, because: 1.
She is the love of my life, 2. She knows how to exquisitely prepare
absolutely every variety of fish (with or without Bocuse’ sauce
choron!), 3. Great bottles of a wine such as the inexpensive
but fabulous Chiroubles and the astronomically costly (and fabulous)
1990 La Tache must always be shared! Plus, I
wouldn’t make it a week on a desert island without her! Plus,
she can be counted on to always have a corkscrew!!! Plus, imagine
being on a desert island with all that great wine and no corkscrew??? There
is no bumper sticker to describe the place in hell that would be!
is Len’s brilliant Theory of Capacity:
- There is an
awful lot of wine in the world, but there is also a lot of awful wine.
- No sensible
person drinks to excess, therefore any one person can only drink a
certain amount in a lifetime.
- There are
countless flavours, nuances, shades of wine; endless varieties,
regions, styles. You have neither the time nor the capacity to try them
- To make the
most of the time left to you, you must start by calculating your future
capacity. One bottle a day is 365 bottles a year. If your life
expectancy is another 30 years there are only 10,000-odd bottles ahead
- People who say
“You can’t drink the good stuff all of the
time” are talking rubbish. You must drink good stuff all the
time. Every time you drink a bottle of inferior wine, it’s
like smashing a superior bottle against the wall. The pleasure is lost
forever - you can’t get that bottle back.
- There are
people who build up huge cellars, most of which they have no hope of
drinking. They are foolish in overestimating their capacity but they
err on the right side and their friends love them.
- There are also
people who don’t want to drink good wine and are happy with
the cheapies. I forgive them. There are others who are content with
beer and spirits. I can’t worry about everybody.
- Wine is not
meant to be enjoyed for its own sake; it is the key to love and
laughter with friends, to the enjoyment of food, beauty and humour and
art and music. Its rewards are far beyond its cost.
- What part is
wine of your life? Ten percent? Ergo, 10 percent of your income should
be spent on wine.
principles should be applied to other phases of life.
Peter Morrell, Chairman &
Senior Wine Advisor, Morrell Wine Store
some of the above choices, the issue of island terroir was important.
For others, it is only a sidebar to one's deepest wine
passions. Today I question whether it is even possible
to be stranded on a desert island (or stranded at sea) for more than a
few months in a
world that even has cell phone service on Mount Everest. Be that as it
may, my pick would naturally be my
favorite berry- Pinot Noir. If just a
year, it would hail from New Zealand as it would be the most likely to
the local island foods. However,
if for life,
I would instead choose a Grand Cru from Burgundy, which while
the longest aging of wine varieties, should none-the-less keep me
content enough over the long years I
was marooned. *
I also would be very concerned about the fate of my
investments! As I am writing this post in December 1, 2010, my Desert Island investments picks for
1. Water (how ironic), 2. Gold and 3. Shorting US Bonds.
If for I were stranded for life, the
wealth preservation portfolio I would design would be similar to those
I would do for multi-generation wealth
are balanced across eight asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash,
real estate, currencies,
commodities, collectibles** and private equity).
I am unsure about including private
equity funds which normally only have up to a 7-10 year
While a FOF (fund of funds) has a longer time horizon, these are
not typically designed for the 30+ years I may be marooned. I
also prefer to do fund selection myself as I do with stock picking (vs.
in mutual funds or ETFs) as I believe I provide more
Alpha; and let
us not forget we
live in a post Madoff world!
Both reasons demand active monitoring. (I
am assuming no Internet or
cell phone reception like Mt. Everest.
Otherwise why would I be marooned for life?)
Please read my forthcoming
blog post for some Pinot favorites from Burgundy, Oregon and New
** When thinking of collectibles: art, books, coins, jewelry, silver etc., many overlook Wine's potential as an investment class. Interested readers can visit my forthcoming post
Wine as an Investment Part III: Wine as an Investment Class (Collectibles).
MORE DESERT ISLAND WINE CHOICES
readers have their own unique "desert island" list, with favorite
books, music, movies, foods and of course wine.
the best champagne is the most common first choice as the favorite
island wine, I think it makes sense to also include here the
post: Desert Island
Lists of Champagne
& Food pairing_嘉
island dreams -
Time Out Hong Kong
(c) 2010 Henry Weingarten