Is This the World's Most Perfect Bottle of Wine?
People often ask ,"what is the best wine you have ever had?" Honestly, I really don’t know. Over the course of some 40 years of drinking wine I have had the great experience of drinking literally tens of thousands of wines. Many of these were great, and I would say that there were perhaps a few dozen that were perfect. But what is perfect for me may not be perfect for everyone else. You see, for wine, it is best to paraphrase an old saying — perfection is in the taste of the wine drinker. And, since people do not have the same sense of taste, it follows that not everyone will agree on the best wines.
In the last generation or so, there has appeared on the wine scene a flock of largely American "wine critics" using the 100 point scale for defining perfection. This has resulted in an "epidemic" of "perfect" wines that appear almost as profusely as daffodils in spring. Most often the "perfect" wines are very young and, in some instances, are declared "perfect" before they are bottled or shortly after they are bottled. To me, this is akin to declaring the future of a newborn child. For great wine, like people, needs time to age and develop over time. So leave me out of the "perfect" wine of the day sweepstakes. For my money, it is nothing more than marketing hype.
Some 20 years ago the Underground published an article that featured the greatest wines ever tasted by our distinguished and experienced contributing editors. Each person put together their own list. But there was no attempt to try to rank the wines. It was simply a list of all-time favorite wines. There were no young wines on any of the lists, so everyone was in agreement that the best wines need age to be truly great. And, while there were many wines that appeared on most of the lists, all of the lists were different. For, as I mentioned earlier, perfection is not the same for everyone and, over time, even perfect wine will begin to decline. After all, nothing lives forever. Add to this the matter of bottle variation, and you have the basis for the truest statement that can be made about wine: "There are no perfect wines, only perfect bottles."
Now having said that, please allow me to offer a recent tasting experience with a bottle of wine that I think was perfect.