Beware Bad Wine! | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beware Bad Wine!

Posted By on July 20, 2011, 12:18 PM

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Generally speaking, I think the folks at the Utah State wine and liquor stores do a very good job, given the byzantine rules, regulations and policies handed down by the UDABC that they're forced to deal with. --- However, there's an issue that pops up from time to time having to do with the fact that, unlike commercial wine sellers in other states, staff at Utah wine stores don't - and probably can't, legally - sample the products they sell. Except, that is, if they take an interest in wine, purchase it, and drink it privately.

Therefore, I all too frequently find wines that are bad - really bad - being sold at our State stores. To wit, a Chardonnay currently on clearance here: Black Swan Vineyards Chardonnay, from South Eastern Australia. It's on clearance for $5.40 per bottle, and not remotely even worth that.

Now, this is not a high-end, premium Chardonnay to begin with. It's always fairly insipid and lifeless. However, the bottles on clearance are from the 2006 vintage, and that is WAY too long to keep a cheap, poorly-structured Chardonnay on the shelf.

I could tell from the Sauternes-like color (nearly amber) that the wine had begun to maderize. I just bought it last week. One taste confirmed my fears: The wine was clearly over the hill, with cloying almond and hazelnut flavors. It tasted like bad dessert wine. So, I returned the bottle after one sip and exchanged it for a second bottle of Black Swan, since individual tainted bottles do show up now and then. But, the second bottle was just as bad as the first.

The point is that rotten wine should be destroyed, not sold to bargain-hunting customers. So, beware the word "clearance" at our wine stores. Because, I doubt if anyone employed by the DABC is sampling this stuff before it's marked down to clearance status. Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for. 

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