A Quest for the Worst

September 9, 2010

When you expose yourself to classic works of art or literature, somehow you make yourself better. You become richer, fuller, more well-rounded. Does the opposite happen when you expose yourself to bad works of art? Are you somehow hurt or damaged? And furthermore, does this phenomenon carry over to wine? This week I wanted to know what the worst possible wine on the market is. I chose them by either price or reputation. Below are my tasting notes from bad to worse.

 Boone’s Farm, Strawberry Hill ($2.99): This was the best of the bunch, although here that’s a little like being the smartest kid on the short bus. At 7.5% alcohol, this was nothing more than a wine cooler: a bad wine cooler, yes, but a wine cooler. The strawberry flavor was less like fresh fruit and more like Frankenberry cereal. I could drink this if my boss ordered it at a business dinner and I needed to brown nose.

 Silver Satin ($3.99): I could put up with this like I can put up with a mild sunburn. It smells good in a way that bad things smell when the manufacturer adds good things to mask or overpower their natural scent. Believe it or not, this is easy to drink because it doesn’t have much flavor other than the 19% alcohol and slight cough syrup finish. I price shopped three stores for this and all three asked me if I was going to pickle fish.

 Night Train Express ($3.99):  Now we’re getting deeper into the swill forest. Night train is the child of the E & J Gallo wine company (although their web site makes no mention of Night Train the way some parents make no mention of their crack-head child). At first the taste is palatable, like some kind of over-the-counter lung medicine, but once it’s down your throat, a chemical aroma permeates your entire head. In a blind taste test I would guess this to be a product of Dow or DuPont. NTE logs in at 17.5% alcohol. 

 Richard’s Wild Irish Rose ($3.25): I’ve just crossed the line from heinous to satanic. The nose smells identical to the sawdust-like stuff the janitor sprinkled on vomit in elementary school. On the palate, a weak taste of fruit quickly dissipates and is immediately overpowered by more sawdust stuff and a momentary battle with my gag reflex. RWIR sports 13.9% alcohol. I can’t believe a drink can get worse.

 MD 20/20 ($4.99): It does. It’s funny how tastes and smells can momentarily whisk you away, back to another time in your life. Fortunately, my life has never been this bad so instead, I was whisked to someone else’s life. I think he was a plumber in New Jersey. MD comes in a flatter, flask-like bottle, presumably to make it easier to sneak it into the theater or your AA meeting. If this is not something you’d force down to kill a parasite, it’s something you’d sit in to remove a tattoo. The weak grape flavor quickly morphs to a sensation of standing inside a wet garbage can. MD is 13% alcohol.

 No recommendation this week. I’m sticking to water for a little while.

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