The wine was conveniently shelved opposite the cold meats. Following universal supermarket principles, the lower the price, the lower the shelf, and at the bottom was a perfectly tolerable Bordeaux for €2.90. But on the top shelf… on the top shelf….
There is Chateau Figeac 1998, €186 a bottle. Leoville Las Cases 1994, €219 – on the shelf of a supermarket. Even Chateau d’Yquem 1995, €270. Opposite the cold meats.
Surely this is taking egalité too far. In wine, as in all things, there are those who spend a little (CJ) and those who spend a lot. But in appealing equally to all purchasers of, say, sardines, a supermarket can offer both the basic and the very best, within perhaps double or treble the basic price. There is, I suggest, no other comestible in which the price difference between the cheapest and the most expensive on the shelf is a multiple of 100.
Call me whatever, but I simply don’t expect to trolley a wine costing £200. If, if I am ever spending that kind of money on a bottle, I will go to Flunkey & Sons, where one of the Flunkeys will emerge from a cellar, cradling my purchase like a newborn. I want someone to talk me through the chateau and the vintage (confirming what I already know, of course…). I want a look of admiration (“Well-chosen, if I might say so, sir…”) and even a degree of envy that I am going to have the wondrous experience which this wine will offer (and which he, as a humble Flunkey, cannot afford).