“You never say anything bad about a wine on your blog” commented a friend recently. “Does that mean you never open a bottle that was truly awful?”
It’s a good question but, thinking about it, I can’t recall the last really poor wine I tasted. I have, of course, opened faulty bottles, which isn’t the same thing at all: bottles can be corked or oxidised or display some other characteristic that means that the wine doesn’t taste how the winemaker intended it to taste. Faulty bottles can occur in any number of ways – bad batches of corks or poor storage, for example – but that doesn’t mean it’s a poor wine; another bottle of the same bought at a different time might be delicious and so it would be unfair to blog about the bad one.
But, back to the question about truly awful wines. This is a bit more subjective but, taking the standard as one that was so badly made or unpleasant tasting as to be almost undrinkable, I really can’t remember the last time I met a wine like that. Admittedly, I’ve opened some that had very little character (and so didn’t blog about them as there wasn’t anything interesting to say!), but even those, in the main, were correctly made and not unpleasant to drink, simply rather bland. Incidentally, some that fall into this category are among the best-selling brands on the UK supermarkets’ shelves!
Things weren’t always as good as this; turn the clock back to when I first started appreciating the wine I was drinking and I often found bottles that were only fit for pouring down the sink. Maybe such wines are still made but the fact that they almost never reach our shelves is down to the skill of the professional wine buyers who visit growers on behalf of the major supermarkets, high street wine chains or wholesalers. They are the people who weed out the rubbish and ensure that, although there may be the odd faulty bottle or wine that isn’t to our taste, we rarely open one that is truly awful.