Citizens of the wine world say what they want for Christmas
- Wednesday 22 December 2004
We asked a few dozen winemakers, wine writers, owners and other wine professionals around the world what they would like for Christmas.
Two kinds of wish dominated – a more peaceful world, and lots more good wine.
We found that while Americans tended to go for dramatic, all-encompassing dreams, the British were far more modest in what they expected to find in their stockings, and mainland Europeans tended to be a bit more hard-headed.
For example, Napa veteran John Shafer wishes for ‘peace to break out and for everyone to heed Gandhi’s advice: You must be the change you wish to see in the world’, and his fellow winemaker Jayson Woodbridge ‘would like all the snipers, car, train and disco bombers to take a walk through a park and look at the children, see them with their fathers and mothers, sit down for one evening with a couple of great bottles of wine, a beautiful woman and really taste life. I can only hope for change.’
In contrast, John McLaren, head of the California Wine Institute’s London office, says he’d like ‘cyclists to make some fleeting acknowledgement of the Highway Code’, while Serena Sutcliffe wants a pair of wellington boots, ‘as I am in Venice for Christmas’ – and she’s joined (not literally, of course) by Andrew Jefford, who wants ‘a new pair of walking boots.’
Sutcliffe and Jefford also made heartfelt pleas for peace and sense – the latter wanting Britain to have ‘the courage…to embrace and enjoy its European identity rather than continuing to bathe in the tepid, scummy bathwater of a long-lost empire.’
In France we found a dedication to the cause of wine. Jean-Luc Thunevin ‘wishes that Chateau de Valandraud would successfully be classified with the 2005 New St Emilion classement,’ while exhorting us all to open ‘great bottles’ as often as possible, and for the eminent May-Eliane de Lencquesaing of Pichon Lalande, nothing would beat, ‘a great great 2005 harvest, as wonderful as Pichon's 2004.’
Some were very specific: California maverick Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon wants ‘public revelation of massive fraud in the counting of votes in the state of Ohio’ and a new election.
Some are gnomic: Jancis Robinson wants ‘politicians to tell the truth as well as knowing it, and wine commentators to know the truth as well as telling it.’
And some display what we have come to see as the ‘Elvis Tendency’. Our own Howard G Goldberg, Decanter’s veteran New York correspondent, whose dreams show perfect taste, if not a firm anchor to reality:
‘Inspired by faucets in Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s 1895 mansion in ritzy Newport, Rhode Island,’ he writes. ‘Hot, cold, hot seawater, cold seawater - I want Wilhelm Weil to lay a pipeline from the Rheingau to my kitchen. By pushing a spigot button marked Riesling, I’d get a chilled Weingut Robert Weil Kiedrich Gräfenberg Gold Cap Trockenbeerenauslese in my holiday morning corn flakes. The dining room would have a Taittinger button.’
Happy Christmas to all our readers.
Those Christmas wishes in full:
John McLaren UK Director, Wine Institute of California
Howard G Goldberg Decanter’s New York correspondent
All this would be useless without more wine drinkers , peace in the world and the perennial humor of my major buyer friends in the UK.
Robert Hill Smith Yalumba, Barossa, Australia
Gandhi’s advice: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
John Shafer Shafer Vineyards, Napa, California
Sadly peace seems to be a commodity in short supply and yet it is what 99.99 % of the worlds population desire above all else. I wish that the other 00.01 % would have second thoughts.
We also wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!
Anthony Barton Chateau Leoville Barton, Bordeaux
Wishing you all the best for 2005,
May-Eliane de Lencquesaing Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Bordeaux
Hopes for 2005:
1) humanity ceases to equate progress with growth (and the concomitant exploitation of the planet's fragile resources);
2) electorates in democracies begin to vote intelligently and elect politicians of courage and global vision rather than voting stupidly and electing those characterised by cowardice and greedy self-interest dressed up as 'patriotism';
3) Britain has the courage and confidence to embrace and enjoy its European identity rather than continuing to bathe in the tepid, scummy bathwater of a long-lost Empire.
Not much to ask!
Andrew Jefford wine writer and Decanter columnist
It works both with Sauternes and Tokaj, but to be absolutely sure it is best to include at least a bottle of each over the Christmas period. Best results obtained with Suduiraut and Disznoko, though probably works pretty well with some of the others.
Christian Seely Managing Director, AXA Millesimes
Brian St Pierre food and drink writer and Decanter restaurant critic
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2005
Jean-Luc Thunevin Chateau Valandraud, Bordeaux
Very best for the holidays and thank you for asking me this question, it made me stop and think.
Jayson Woodbrdge 100 Acre Vineyard, Napa, California
Randall Grahm Bonny Doon, Santa Cruz, California
What would I like in my stocking? A case of Domaine Leroy Pommard 2003 with a card from Sandra Bullock inviting herself to dinner. Failing this, the deeds to a vineyard in McLaren Vale would be most acceptable.
Malcolm Gluck wine writer
1. My beautiful new website design for www.jancisrobinson.com to be up and running without a glitch
2. All politicians to tell the truth as well as knowing it
3. All wine commentators to know the truth as well as telling it
Jancis Robinson wine writer
Serena Sutcliffe MW Head of International Wine Department, Sotheby’s
That someone as intelligent, thoughtful and wise as Andrew Jefford was running this world rather than George Bush.
That none of the bottles that I open over Christmas is corked.
After some great wine on Christmas Day, a nice refreshing pint of bitter on Boxing Day followed by 3 points for Crystal Palace.
Stephen Browett Farr Vintners, London
Jonathan Maltus Chateau Teyssier, Bordeaux
Véronique Sanders Chateau Haut-Bailly