oh the pain of lovin’ you...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Two nights in a row now I’ve chosen a much-anticipated bottle of wine from my cellar to enjoy with dinner, and the wine has been corked. Last night it was a William Fevre 2002 Montmains Premier Cru Chablis. A bottle lovingly nurtured for some years, only to be dumped down the drain. I had a second bottle, which was in fine shape, and as I was consoling myself with it I found myself dreaming up the Top 10 Wine Disappointments.

#10 – You take a really nice bottle of wine to a party, fearing that everyone else will be bringing two buck chuck. Your host quickly squirrels away your wine, never to be seen again.

#9 – You go to a snooty wine dinner in a fancy restaurant. A lot of noise is made about the extreme care that has gone into matching the wines to the menu. Four out of five matches are horrible; the fifth is a standoff.

#8 – You carefully peruse a wine list looking for the right bottle at the right price. You find it, much to your delight. But when it arrives, it’s the wrong vintage, and the vintage being offered is dramatically inferior to the vintage listed.

#7 – In the endless search for inexpensive ($8 or less) wine that actually tastes like wine, you finally snap after tasting yet another bottle that seems saturated with vanilla syrup.

#6 – Along the lines of #7, you hit yet another wine that buries its fruit (however thin and weedy) in new oak, or ripens it to the point where the alcohol burns.

#5 – You are sailing along with your partner, enjoying a wonderful bottle of wine, when, suddenly, it’s empty. Gone. Just as it was blossoming. The classic “short bottle.”

#4 – You buy a label, because it’s really cool. The wine sucks. Mrs. G calls this an “emperor’s new clothes” wine.

#3 – Another much-anticipated bottle from the cellar comes up flabby and oxidized, cooked. Probably damaged in shipping, long before it was ever purchased.

#2 – You waited too long. Your California cult Cab is waaaay over the hill. And it’s the first bottle from the case you’ve opened.

#1 – What else? TCA! Corked wine. Bring on the screwcaps.

What’s in your top 10?


Arthur said...


Re #9 - just like with wine ratings, there are no standardized approaches (let alone criteria) to understanding wine and food pairing.
It's not something I've yet confirmed but many of those "star" sommeliers doing the pairing are pompous ignorants too full of themselves to have time to think about the food and the wine.

Anonymous said...

Enjoying a couple bottles of spendy wine and liking it, then buy a case and the wine loses appeal and I have 12 bottles of unwanted wine. Good for gifts I guess.

Scott, The Grande Dalles said...

Similar to #7 except spending a lot more than $8 and it having the same vanilla syrup problem. There are plenty of them out there.


Robert Frost said...

My bigtime loser situation was bringing a bottle of 2005 McPrice Meyers "Kristina" GSM blend to a restaurant for my girlfriend, Kristina's birthday dinner. Yes, the wine was corked. We ended up buying a bottle off the wine list, but how awful is that? An undrinkable wine, bought especially for the occasion, bearing your girlfriend's name? Ouch...

Sean P. Sullivan said...

#10 really should really have two parts. The first is taking the nice bottle in fear of the two buck chuck. You never get to taste the bottle. The second is trying to figure out how top shelf a wine to bring, not knowing the audience, and finding out you are a couple shelves down. And of course you still don't get to taste the wine.

Ruth said...

I have two. 1.Buying wine that was wonderful in the tasting room, but somehow, months later opening at home, it's not what I remembered. 2. Retrieving a much-anticipated bottle of wine to share with friends and dropping it enroute.

Is it discourteous to ask the host to open your wine if he or she doesn't show signs of doing so when you bring it?

Catie said...

I hear ya about #5. Those are the wines that bring a tear to my eye and have been known to "cry over the last drop." Boo-hoo!

Micah N said...

Another take on #3 is having a friend or family member bring out their "new favorite" old world wine and you don't have the heart to tell them that it is cooked and oxidized.

@nectarwine said...

The opposite of #10, you don't want to bring your good stuff to the party for fear it would go by your beer drinking buddies as just expensive grape juice only to find that everyone else has brought good wine and yours is the inferior bottle.

Sean P. Sullivan said...

Ruth, I feel your pain on this one. I dropped a bottle of just purchased Chelan Estate Merlot earlier this week. I had traveled to Chelan last week but this winery was closed. Upon arriving home, a neighbor was holding the door open for me. In my rush to get to the door to not keep him waiting, the bottle slipped.

@Nectarwine, you have put what I was trying to describe much better. I lie awake in a cold sweat about this one.

Andy Plymale said...

Buying an expensive bottle of French wine to take to a party of French ex-pats only to find that I was the only person who didn't bring a bottle of cheap American wine. (I also was the only "native" American.) (Qualifier: they were nuclear engineers.)

TK said...

Next time don't dump it down the drain, my roses seem to love corked wine!

Thibodeaux said...

1. Perusing in advance the wine list of a restaurant, being offended at the 400% mark-up, being more willing to pay corkage you bring a nice bottle of your own, discovering the corkage is more than twice what every other restaurant in town is charging and the wine you brought is so bretted out you can't drink it.

2. Discovering the wine you purchased years ago and saved for a special occasion is bad. And the opportunity to return it -- which you couldn't have done unless you knew it was bad way back then, which you could have only known if you'd opened it way back then, and why would you if you were planning to save it? -- has long since expired.

Timinspokane said...

#10 is a very common one, especially if you are known as a wine geek or simply knowledgable about wine. The host knows you are passionate about wine and won't bring anything but a very nice bottle, and bam... that sucker disappears into thin air. I stopped taking really nice bottles to larger gatherings for that very reason. (I will take very nice bottles to a friends home where I know it will get opened.) I will get the best bottle I can find for under $20 or so (I buy a lot of Robert Karl claret and Barrister Rough Justice for functions like these), find a really fun wine from overseas (the Small Vineyards labels are generally great), or, if I am feeling generous, pick up a magnum of something cheaper but decent. Forgeron's Walldeaux Smithie magnums are priced in the $30 range at Yokes in the Spokane Valley, for example.

I will never take swill, but I also don't have the bank to build anyone elses wine cellar - unless I am truly giving the bottle as a gift. Then, they are going to get something realllly nice.

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