“Smells of Barnyard and taste like…”

Pickle_juice_200Wine writers and wine review publications take a lot of flack for the "colorful" language they often use to describe a wine. More often than not the criticism of the language used falls into the category of "What does that mean" or "who has ever tasted tar?" or "what DOES a Russian cedar cigar box smell like?"

The language used to describe wine always will come under attack simply because taste, smell and sensation is extraordinarily subjective. Yet, interestingly, I’ve found that the language used to describe really bad wines is often much easier to understand. Is this because there are fewer ways by which a wine can be bad than there are ways a wine can be good? Probably.

But here’s the thing. I’ve always enjoyed reading reviews of bad wine. It has the quality of turning and staring at an accident on the side of the road. There’s a morbid curiosity that comes with reading a review of a wine that is simply bad. Most times, reviewers don’t spend to much time writing about these wines. But sometimes, well, sometimes these reviews are precious. The names of the wines have been left out to spare the offenders.

-The quintessential non-wine – no bouquet, no fruit, no flavor, and no
finish. This wine, a hallmark to the excesses of modern day technology
and those wonderful micropore sterile filters, is devoid of any
personality, not to mention pleasure. I would rather chew my way
through a cardboard box than put this wine down my gullet.

-Sour and decaying, like rotten cabbage

-The wine had very vegetal, bizarre aromas. Unless you get excited over
the smell of rotten vegetables interlaced with the scent of manure,
there is nothing much to like about this wine.

-so abrasively tannic and astringent and seemed so
devoid of fruit. I will be shocked if there is enough fruit here to
outlive the excessive tannin levels.

-Strongly earthy, hard-edged and slightly sour; barely drinkable.

-A curious wine that tastes like vinegar and pickle juice.

-Smells of barnyard and tastes like, well … not recommended.

-Smells and tastes swampy, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth. 62 Points

-Light in color, body and flavor, this smells like a swamp and tastes of acid juice. What happened?

-This is a rather unimpressive wine from a vintage that was generally
excellent for the wines of the Medoc. Dirty, musty, unclean aromas
suggest an unkempt wine cellar. On the palate, the wine is thin, tastes
of mold, and is quite unattractive.

-Smells like burning autumn leaves, tastes worse. No fun.

-This wine is terribly flawed. It is suspiciously light in color, but
does make a powerful, heady, alcoholic impact on the palate. However,
after 20-30 minutes in the glass, moldy smells of rot emerge and after
an hour these smells have overtaken everything in the glass. I went to
the trouble and expense of tasting this wine three separate times to be
sure I was right. My conclusion is that it is badly affected by rot.
Some tasters may not object to this character

-A seriously stinky wine that smells swampy, tastes bitter and decayed

-a total disaster–light, pale, no fruit, no character, no charm, just alcohol and distant flavors of fruit.

-Heavy-handed, with bizarre flavors that are hard to warm up to. It’s
very pungent–almost stinky–and toasty on the nose, and the texture is
raw and harsh.

-Horrible, like sewage

-Extremely vegetal, with green bean and pickle flavors that are way off the mark, plus the finish gets murky. Avoid.

-A dead ringer for cough syrup, just not as tasty.

-I found the stench of decaying vegetation and fecal aromas to be
appalling. The wine tasted extremely high in acidity, very lean, and
frightfully unpleasant.

-this is a disappointing, thin, harsh Cabernet Sauvignon with no future

-Bizarre flavors of milk and paste in a flat, dull structure. Unpleasant, though better than another bottle tasted.

All reviews from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate or the Wine Spectator


3 Responses

  1. melissa lowe - May 16, 2008

    I just googled “wine tastes like vinegar and manzanilla olive juice” and your page pooped up w/a review “A curious wine that tastes like vinegar and pickle juice.” was this wine a columbia valley cab/merlot from a vineyard starting with a k and ending with a k??? just curious, cause this stuff tastes like crap! at least i got it on sale.

  2. Betty - October 5, 2010

    I just read this for the first time and love it. It made me laugh first thing in the morning. Thank you.

  3. Bob - July 2, 2012

    My favorite read in a popular wine magazine…
    “Tastes like motor oil, only worse.”

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