It's quite the crazy thought. What would you choose to be your last sip of wine on earth? This question graced the table of a tasting I recently shared with friends. The question got me thinking. I racked my brain for the last wine I would want to pass my lips before I headed for the big vineyard in the sky.
Wines from all around the world flooded my mind. My first thoughts went to exclusive and virtually impossible to find wines. I figured if it were to be my last sip it might as well be the most rare of my life. I envisioned a dusty bottle of 1964 Domain De La Romanee-Conti being poured into an elegant burgundy glass. I could almost smell the ethereal aromas. I imagined sipping the wine and feeling it unfurl across my palate with a never-ending finish. Bottles of this wine sell for close to $14,000 dollars a pop. That would be one way to go. Then, another wine pulled my attention away from the invaluable DRC.
Perhaps a wine rooted in history and prestige would be my grand finale. Champagne. No other wine in the world had the stories, the iconic producers, and the longevity of champagne. It certainly had the potential for exuding history, lore, and one amazing sip. 1928 Krug would be my champagne of choice. The 1928 vintage is legendary. Not only was the vintage said to be perfect, but Krug family had to go to great lengths to protect wines from the Nazis. All of the sensationalism surely added to the allure of the 1928 Krug. The wine has been tasted by countless wine critics and all had experienced the same transformative affect. Many quoted it as being the best champagne they had ever tasted. Bottles sell for roughly $20,000 dollars. Rarity and dollar signs were still spinning around in my mind when my true answer hit me.
Of all the wines in all the world, my last sip would be Rombauer chardonnay. Now, half the wine professionals reading this most likely let out a small gasp. The wine is far from even the $1,000 dollar price point. It's actually infamous in some sommelier circles for being over ripe, too oaky, and a wine for people with no palate (just the messenger here.) Why on earth would my last sip be this wine of all wines? For me there was something beautiful about going back to the taste that ignited my passion for wine.
I remember the moment as clear as day. Sitting around the table and my parents, they poured me a small taste. It may have been the laughs around the table that followed, the striking nature of the wine, or the fact that the wine inspired me to want to know more. In a way, without Rombauer chardonnay, I wouldn't have been able to experience all the joy working with wine has brought me. I never would have met the incredible people, or visited the copious majestic vineyards, or been able to experience the beauty that sharing wine with others can bring.
At the end of day, wine isn't about the price tag, the lore, or the prestige. It's not about impressing others with how many incredible bottles you've tasted. It's not even really about the last sip you would ever take. If you are lucky, wine is about the unassuming moment when it's magic touches your heart. That being said, I believe a life of wine well-lived is one in which you dedicate your time learning absolutely everything you can about it. Not necessarily for self-fulfillment, but rather to discover ways to create the same magic for others. Perhaps if I live right, my last sip of Rombauer will remind me that I did.