The Worst Bottle Of Wine I Ever Had

I never thought I would write about a bad bottle of wine, but this bottle was so bad that I thought it deserved broaching the subject: in case there was redeeming value in the experience.

One of the charges to myself, in my wine endeavors, is to locate and taste wines that are not imported into the USA, for one reason or another. Needless to say, over the years, I have made sever­al pleasant discoveries, as well as discov­ered the reason why many of them are not imported!

Most of this search occurs when Rose­marie and I are traveling overseas, and we snoop around wine shops or anywhere wine is sold, looking for labels we have read about but not seen at home.

This last trip to Portugal was our long­est and most educational wine trip so far. Other than the beginning research on my book, and paying my respects to the home of Madeira and Port, our time was spent familiarizing ourselves with lesser Portuguese wines and the intricacies of Portuguese cuisine.

We were in the north, near Viana do Castello, where Vinho Verde is made all around you. A charming town with a couple of good restaurants and interesting terrain to explore.

Vinho Verde is maybe the most com­mon white wine in Portugal. It is on every wine list I saw, in a multitude of labels. (Reminiscent of the popularity of Chianti in Italy and Rioja in Spain.) It is a pleasant wine, with built in natural pe­tillence, that does quite well when you do not know what to order, and want a safe bet. (in Portugal!) I had read, that a red Vinho Verde is made, with no particular reference to it’s attributes.

Rosemarie and I had decided to picnic it for lunch one day; so we stopped at a couple of small shops to pick up local cold cuts, cheeses, fruits and bread. At one of the shops I spotted a row of red Vinho Verde bottles. She had several of the same label, as well as the white ver­sion from the same winery. I had tasted the white at a restaurant a couple of days back, and it was pretty good. So I pur­chased the red version. If I recall it was $2.50.

It was not difficult to find a secluded spot on the beach. The Atlantic coastline there is practically deserted. In our usual style, we proceeded to sample the cheeses with chunky farmer style bread, chomp on some cucumbers and tomatoes, and lay back and relax from the heavy driving schedule we always seem to set for our­selves. Then we opened the Vinho Verde red. (notice the contradiction in name). It was overwhelmingly fruity, but foxy-fruity, somewhat like the Catawba-Concord sensations, but a different foxi­ness. The fruit was intense, the wine very dry, and the petillence just tore apart the components of taste. They each stood out alone and attacked your palate indi­vidually, with absolutely no harmony. The most unpalatable wine I have ever had, since Greek Retsina, which of course is different because of the resin flavoring agent added to it.

Now… it was not a spoiled bottle of wine. It was just made that way… and if that is the style of Vinho Verde red, it is certainly not one of my favorites. If it( was a winemakers style… I have to do more research. Interestingly, I did not run into other red Vinho Verde on any store shelves subsequently.

Definitely needs more research!

P.K.Sr.

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