Anyone who has enjoyed listening to Radio 4's Desert Island discs has probably amused themselves by selecting their own favourite records in anticipation of a call from the BBC. As the winter nights stretch monotonously ahead I sometimes amuse myself by compiling my fantasy wine list for an evening of consummate decadence.
Instead of Shakespeare and the Bible castaways are issued with a corkscrew and decanter. The categories, which I've imposed, are Champagne, still white wine, red wine, sweet wine and Port. So that my fantasy is grounded in reality all wines selected must be commercially available - so Thomas Jefferson's bespoke bottling of Château Lafite - is off limits. The object here is indulgence not vulgarity!
Choosing luxury fizz is always a pleasure. An obvious choice is Moët & Chandon's flagship Dom Perginon which is a great wine but, well, obvious. A more subtle choice might be Roederer Cristal, a classy cuvée beloved by Russian Tsars and gangsta rappers, or Pol Roger's excellent, Pinot Noir-based, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. I quite like Gosset's Cuvée Celibrice, which has a slightly tarty, footballers-wives, fur coat-ish appeal but at the end of day nearly always end up plumping for Krug 1982, which I first tasted as a skint student - an epiphany! As I'm not paying, and I hope Man Friday, or better still the young Urulsa Andress, will join us at cocktail hour, make it a magnum (they do age so delightfully) - don't expect much change from £700. Still we can always use the empty as a float for our raft.
Nine out of ten shipwreck survivors opt for white Burgundy when asked to choose their ultimate white wine, and it has to be said they've got a point. A lightly aged Chassagne or Puligny-Montrachet (the 96's are drinking well) would be hard to eclipse, even so I shall forgo it. I have a penchant for the Rhône so the 2001 vintage of Jean-Louis Chave's sublime white Hermitage is next on my wish list at a very reasonable £80 a bottle - although one is never enough.
Almost everybody chooses mature Claret as their red for drinking incommunicado and so you don't accuse me of being difficult I will too. First growths, I fear, lead to inflated expectations and disappointment (and we don't want to corrupt Friday just yet) so lets opt for a 'super second'- Leoville Barton 1990 would be great and lots of it please - you never know when the Swiss Family Robison are going to drop in for a Safari Supper. This will probably set you back just over £1000 for a case - a bargain if you look at what people paid for younger vintages.
Sweet wine is easy - the inimitable Château d'Yquem in the sublime 1967 vintage, I'm sure you'll agree its worth £1000 a bottle, if not you'll have to make do with the barrel of Tokaji that was washed up last Christmas.
Lastly, in the way of Port I'd like some Fonseca from the 'Jubilee Vintage'of 1977, as far as I'm concerned this is the ne plus ultra - eminently drinkable now but it should age gracefully in the back of the cave until we're rescued. Sadly the days when you could snap this gem up for £20 a bottle are long gone - £100 should cover it.
Any chance of some Alca-Zeltzer as a luxury item?