There's no such thing. I know that is what you are thinking, and maybe you are right. When it comes to choosing a bottle of wine, I can (and often do) spend ages perusing the shelves. It's not just that I am indecisive; there is so much choice and I adore most of the wines on offer. What I am really looking for though, is that perfect bottle. The one that covers all eventualities, moods, weather conditions, menu choice, available funds.....
Recently, my MD had to entertain my children (it's a long story... don't ask!) He introduced the game of consequences to them and had them reeling on the floor with laughter. You know how it goes - Jamie Oliver met (unfold flap) The Queen (unfold flap) in the toilet. Laughter. He said to her (unfold flap) where are your pants. (Shrieks of delight, and choruses of "I wrote that!"). She said to him (unfold flap) wow that's a whopper! (chortle, chortle) and the consequence was (unfold flap) they flew to the moon. This game got me thinking. Wouldn't it be fun to have a bottle of wine that comprised several layers, each one ideal for the course / mood / circumstance? You could sip one wine until such time as you fancied a change and then the next would be waiting for you. A sort of vinous trifle.
Roald Dahl envisaged something similar in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Do you remember the chewing gum that consisted of a three course meal? Violet Beauregarde snatched a piece and enjoyed tomato soup, then roast beef followed by blueberry pie, before she turned into a fat blueberry to be carted off by the Oompa Loompas. We'd have to make sure we tested our bottle first!
Now I may be betraying myself here, but this perfect bottle would save so much effort wouldn't it? You see I often open a couple of bottles in the evening. (I didn't say I finished them!) I wouldn't have to with this. Everything I could want would be within one glass temple. My top layer would be vintage Champagne. I don't drink fizz very often, so the layer would be relatively slim; a sliver if you like. But oh the slinky, delicate citrus notes, buttery toast and everlasting effervescence would be divine. Just enough to put a spring in my step and get my taste buds limbering up for what would follow.
Layer two would have to be a mouth-watering, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. This substantial chunk of the bottle would probably be from the New World and incorporate zesty gobs of gooseberry, grapefruits and freshly mown grass. I have no hesitation over this choice as, for me, this would suit pretty much any circumstance I found myself in. Not so moving further down the bottle. The choices become harder but, if I'm pushed, the next wine would be a Pinot Noir. Self-confessed pinotphiles engage in a lifelong pursuit to find fabulous manifestations of the Pinot Noir grape. Some love the young vibrant, perfumed delicacies, of which there are many, and others prefer the more mature, gamey, stinky variety, often found in old red Burgundies. I have not yet drunk enough of the top stuff to have a firm view, but I have found an absolute gem in our very own shop. Actually, Theo and John found it and kindly made me aware of it. From South Africa, this rich tobacco, truffle-scented beauty with its full, muscular body rippling with fruit and layers of complexity is a definite candidate to feature in my perfect bottle.
I'm not done yet though. I would need another significant red layer but I am hesitant as to what needs to appear here. I have a penchant for Bordeaux-style reds made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends, a love of brooding Syrah and southern Rhônes, am passionate about rustic Italian wines with their very unique character, and adore oaky Spanish reds that quite simply caress one's throat as they are, all too quickly, consumed. If push came to shove, however, it would be a wine from St Julien on the left bank in Bordeaux. Dry, rich, with aromas of cedar and blackcurrants, this wine has a soft supple elegant and concentrated palate that stays in the mouth and memory for an eternity. How do you follow that? The answer is: with something unctuous, luscious, beautifully sweet but not at all cloying. A sumptuous Sauternes or cracking Coteaux du Layon. I wouldn't need much - just enough to be able to smell that delicious marmalade character and taste its rich, sugary thick amber nectar in a few sips.
There. There is a perfect bottle. Well, the perfect bottle of wine for me. I don't know about you but writing this has made me thirsty. Perhaps I'll just go and have one more look at those shelves..... One parting word of warning though. When you've created your ultimate bottle of wine, just make sure you don't shake it!!
If you have any thoughts as to what constitutes your perfect bottle of wine, why not send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org We will publish the best ones in the next edition of the magazine.