What wine pros would drink (and eat) on their deathbeds


 I don’t often contemplate death, yet the thought of asking food and wine people what they would eat and drink as a final meal is irresistible. It’s a passionate question for a passionate bunch, and while coffee-table books have been dedicated to last meals, the wine is often overlooked. I say that’s the meat of the question; after all, I want to go down full and drunk.

Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet owner Doug Hotz had no trouble choosing a last meal, which he’d pair with Château d’Yquem, a sweet French wine. 

Bartholomew Broadbent, owner of Broadbent Selections: “I’d probably decide on leg of lamb with a bottle of well-aged Château Musar. For me, it has to be Château Musar. It is simply the most delicious wine I know.”

Jake Busching, winemaker at Grace Estates at Mount Juliet: “My grill, a rare filet from my neighbor’s herd, scavenged asparagus from an orchard or fence row, fresh-pulled garden salad, and a little orzo with blue cheese. Five friends, a picnic table at dusk, comfortable chairs, a breeze with a fire of some kind, and cigars, with which to finish the 2007 Flora Springs Cab Franc, a moon-sized onion of evolving aromatics and layers of flavor that carry the experience through its entirety. Down to the dregs and then hand me the blindfold…”

Bill Curtis, chef/owner of Tastings of Charlottesville: “With the hope of recovery, I would drink a medium-aged Bern-kasteler Doctor Spätlese. It was just such a recovery act that earned the vineyard its name when the Archbishop of Trier was cured of a life-threatening illness after consuming wine from here. With it, a gloriously roasted chicken accompanied by fresh garden peas with lightly sautéed chanterelles. Always good to have a backup, so same glorious roasting on a guinea hen, same peas, same chanterelles, but substitute a top flight Savennières, say Le Clos du Papillon or La Roche Aux Moines. And then, in the words of Winston Churchill, I would be prepared to meet my Maker, (with the further paraphrase) whether or not he is prepared to meet me.”

Matthieu Finot, winemaker at King Family Vineyards: “I would go back to my roots with a bottle of Hermitage (where I’m from) and a plate of my uncle’s charcuterie, a brouillade made with natural free-range egg and northern Drôme black truffle and bread. A last meal without bread would be ruined.”

Richard Hewitt, sommelier at Keswick Hall: “I would slowly caramelize every veggie I could get my hands on, then eat that with either Esporao Bianco Reserva or Tinto Reserva.”

Doug Hotz, owner of Rio Hill Wine & Gourmet: “That’s easy…a 2001 Château d’Yquem with pan-seared foie gras with a red currant jelly, balsamic reduction on buttered toast points. Heavenly.”

Garry Moore, sales representative for Siema Wines: “My last wine on earth would actually be the first wine I tasted in my early 20s that gave me a lasting sensation of the pleasure of wine—Domaine de la Romanée-Conti ‘La Tache’ in any vintage—to close the circle of my wine life. With it? Simple, classic food—foie gras, filet of beef, fresh goat cheese and crusty French bread.”

Christine Iezzi, area manager of The Country Vintner: “It would have to be champagne—Moncuit-Delos NV or Krug —with sushi. If it’s my last wine on earth, I’d want to be drinking the stars…”

Tara Koenig, regional brand manager of Monsieur Touton Selections: “I’d want a 1994 Château Pontet-Canet with the Ricotta Gnudi and sticky toffee pudding from Spotted Pig in New York.”

Dave McIntyre, wine columnist for The Washington Post: “My impulse is to say Champagne, from a grower/récoltant, by itself. Champagne, ultimately, is the ultimate food group.”

Andy Reagan, winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards: “I’d have an old and dirty red, like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a massive porterhouse, potatoes broiled with garlic and EVOO, broccoli, and my mom’s angel food cake.”

Eric Ripert, chef/co-owner of Le Bernadin: “I’d drink a bottle of Bordeaux with a slice of country bread topped with shaved black truffle and olive oil.”

Gabriele Rausse, winemaker at Gabriele Rausse Winery: “I’d want Grüner Veltliner and risi e bisi (rice with peas).”