Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mistakes in wine

I know everyone talks about all these wonderful, memorable, legendary wines drunk. But what about the mistakes? I've had more than my fair share of wines that in hindsight, cost far too much for what was offered in the glass.

What counts as a mistake? Money's a big one. I don't care if a wine tastes like shit, as long as someone else has paid for it. The most disappointing has to be an expensive wine that you've held onto for a long time, expecting to be absolutely amazed, only to come crashing down to earth with a whiff and taste of mediocrity.

I've spent far too much on some wines, and then there've been wines that I should have known better. I now know better that cheap Burgundy is a waste of money. And that $20 Medoc wines disappoint more often than not. But the most horrible price and quality discrepancy in wine? Californian wines, my friends. I can't tell you how many Sonoma County wines, Russian River Valley wines I've had that were just, just awful. And these are wines that I've paid $30, $40 for. I guess that's what makes them so terrible - uniformly raisined, flabby, over-alcoholic, freaks of wines.

The wine that I've held for years that have failed to deliver hurt the most. Like the Amarone we had last year. And the Northern Rhone wines. I paid good money, expecting a certain level of complexity and nuance in the wine. I wanted some uniqueness. Unfortunately, it was all missing. It was good wine, but that's not enough when you've invested so much money and sentiment into it.

I havn't touched any of the 2005 Bordeaux futures yet, and probably won't for the next 5 years. I wake up shaking thinking about all the wrong things that can happen with them.

The remedy for disappointment? Return to LCBO, pick up another bottle. Be careful what you buy. There are some wines that are more or less foolproof. Not foolproof in the sense of bottle variation - you can't help things like TCA or oxidation, no, I'm not talking about that at all. I'm talking strictly about taste.

You can't go wrong with older Rioja Reserva. Can't go wrong with small producer Champagne. Can't go wrong with German QmP rieslings. And you definitely can't go wrong with wine that someone else has paid for.

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