The Worst Wine Ever

Bad WineWe all know of course what the best wine of all time is. That would be the 1811 Chateau d'Yquem which was awarded 100 points by both Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator (note: there was no such consensus on the 1847) How can I say this with such confidence? It may have to do with the fact that virtually everyone reading this article won't have even a fighting chance of ever trying the 1811 d'Yquem. OK, now that we have the best we now need the worst to neatly book-end every other single wine on earth. The problem is that it's not so easy. Parker and the Spec. don't publish such lists probably for obvious reasons such as legal implications. That's where the power of wine blogging comes in. No we're not wimps around here. No sir-ree Bob! Still, how do we come up with such a list? Through tasting? Uh-oh, perhaps we are wimps after all. I decided instead to google, yahoo, msn, lycos, etc. “the worst wine ever” to see what I could come up with. No consensus emerged. Far from it, I found a vast and varied world of plonk and people writing about it. From this these fairly dubious and possibly drunk sources I've assembled a list of “the worst wines ever” and present it as an online poll to the readers of De Long Wine Moment to settle this matter once and for all. Wine RefineryPlease note that my legal department wants me to point out the none of the wines in this list are my own choices, but are simply plucked from the above mentioned sources. To be fair, there may be a few that made the list simply because the particular bottle tasted was corked or otherwise off. Also, let's not forget that one person's Thunderbird is another person's d'Yquem. OK, maybe that's a bit too generous. In a way this vinous hodge-podge that reminds me of a list from a ‘certain Chinese encyclopedia’ mentioned in the preface of Foucault's The Order of Things: ‘animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame,(d) sucking pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (1) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies’. (Aside: quoting Foucault? Have I really become a pompous wine sipping twit? Chorus: Yes! Shut up!) But I digress. Without further adieu, the POLL: Editor's note 5 May 2011: The original poll data was sadly lost in a upgrade. Please enter your choice again so that we can reinstate our important work. Resources: Wine Searcher's Recommended Wines Bum Wine

24 Comments

Richard Leahy
Richard Leahy

June 16, 2014

I suggest two things for this poll. First, attempt to eliminate wines that are ruined by cork taint (TCA) or other post-fermentation problems like keeing in a warm closet too long where it really isnt’ the winemaker’s fault.

Second, this poll would be far more interesting if people listed the price paid for the wine; then we’d have a contest to see which winery is charging the most for the worst quality; wouldn’t THAT be interesting??

R. Leahy

Doris Fleming
Doris Fleming

June 16, 2014

I have to agree with Marcus. I get the opportunity to taste quite a few wines in my business and don’t often hate a wine. I prefer red wine but recently took a cheap Vinho Verde (5.99) to a friend’s house for dinner as it was blazing hot and we were having seafood. The wine was delicious. After dinner (and the sun had set) I was offerd a glass of Yellowtail. It was horrible, terrible, yuk. I choked down half a glass and left.

Doris

Marcus
Marcus

June 16, 2014

Gaj,

I bet you say that to ALL the bloggahs… (And here I thought Doktor Weingolb was the blog you were taking an interest in!)

Steve,

I HAVE been reading your blog for the past few weeks (and there haven’t been so
many posts so I REALLY look forward to new ones!) This worst wine ever idea is the best! I voted [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[yellow tail]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]], natch.

Long live Retsina!

Gaj
Gaj

June 16, 2014

Hello,
I have been reading your blog for the past few weeks and have really taken an interest in what you have to say. I look forward to the new posts each time they come out. I am writing because I thought you might find some interest in this. A few days ago I stumbled upon this video blog http://tv.winelibrary.com/ and really enjoyed it and thought you and your readers would too. Keep up the great work!

anonymous
anonymous

June 16, 2014

When the Wine Spectator database was free a couple years back (I don’t have a subscription now so I don’t know how it works anymore) you could search by points. If you searched for 50-60 points you’d get some hilarious reviews of awful wines (usually from places like Texas) with comments like “notes of skunk and silage.” That would be a place to start…

Steve De Long
Steve De Long

June 16, 2014

Thanks for the warning, Arnie!

The asking price for the ’77 Lafite seems to be around $200 bucks a bottle, which is a fortune for a horrible vintage and guaranteed undrinkable wine. Someone might want it for a 30th birthday present next year but yes, not a good value by any stretch of the imagination.

Arnie Eisen
Arnie Eisen

June 16, 2014

Worst wine? Aside from “one man’s meat is” etc.it depends on who is doing the evaluation and what is the purpose of the question. A friend asked me about the quality (and the value) of her(?) husbands cellar.He never considered it hers but now he’s terminal and she has to make the decisons about disposal (of the wine) or its consumption.He thought he had a liquid gold mine having been prey for years to salesmen at X’s store in Scarsdale,NY. They filled his head with dreams of a financial bonanza but when the collection was offered for auction its real value became apparent.I asked some friends for comments as she thought I was trying to grab the family jewels at a fire sale. Together with some research we gave her our collective wisdom. With thanks she wanted to give me a present for my efforts and was shocked when I declined the offer: a case of Lafitte-Rothchild 1977.$ value?? Tasting/Consump- tion value? YOU TELL ME. Drink wine,not labels Advising friends re their wine cellar is hazardous..

Steve De Long
Steve De Long

June 16, 2014

Gaj, thanks for the kind words even if it is comment spam. Please tell Gary that I wasn’t the guy who returned the bottles purchased in the bargain bin.

Marcus and Doris, Thanks for the comments and votes. I’m not a big fan of [yellowtail], however, there is vinous dreck on the list that are would put it to shame.

Richard, I think you’ve touched on a very good point. In the end, with all the ornery fun the Worst Wine Ever Poll promises it’s really not that interesting. Given the way I assembled the poll, it was difficult to eliminate wines that were spoiled and not the fault of the winemaker. I did nix a few entries that were were obviously spoiled like a Baumard Sauvennieres and a list of wines that were made to be consumed young but were over 10 years old when opened. In terms of price comparisons, I know of a few wineries that provide recipes for sangria using their $10+ wines but don’t know if they even belong in the same plonk/value matrix as a $2.29 bottle of Thunderbird (2.29 at Goody Goody Liquor in Dallas the best price found on winesearcher.com). Horrible at $12 vs toxic at $2?

Whit Stevens
Whit Stevens

June 16, 2014

The 2002 Renwood Grandmère Zinfandel is the worst wine I’ve ever had. Imagine blueberry and rasberry syrup mixed with rubbing alcohol… that should give you a pretty good idea of what it tastes like. At least I got it for half price.

Steve De Long
Steve De Long

June 16, 2014

Hi Pedro,

Good to hear from you! It always amazes me when really marginal wine growing areas make wine. Don’t they know down in San Juan that there’s a global wine glut?!

Pedro
Pedro

June 16, 2014

Well I thought that a bottle of Brusco dei Barbi was simply terrible, but drinkable. Then I recently tried a Cabernet Sauvignon from San Juan, Puerto Rico that was horrific and “undrinkable.” The island has to stick to making rum not wine.

Salud!
Pedro

Steve De Long
Steve De Long

June 16, 2014

Hey anonymous, don’t mess with Texas! Good advice, however, with 4,793 Wine Spec. ratings in the “not recommended” region of 50-74, which certainly begs the philosophical question: what is the difference between a 50 and a 51? 23 wines populate the 50 points mark and are either corked or ancient bottles that passed on years ago. Two others were apparently the result of bad winemaking:

Cantina del Taburno
Score: 50
Wine: Greco Taburno 2000

Price: $15 Country: Italy Region: Campania Issue: Web Only (2002)

Repulsive. Totally flawed. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 2,830 cases made. (JS)

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
Score: 50
Wine: La Tâche 1983

Price: $NA Country: France Region: Burgundy Issue: Sep 30, 1999

Simply awful. Smells and tastes of burnt rubber, sulfur and rot—it has serious flaws. Dry, lean and disgusting. DRC should be ashamed for having released this wine.—La Tâche vertical. (PM)

In terms of the Spec, I think we can safely say that the 1983 DRC La Tâche represents the worst value for money in the “awful and repulsive” category.

Maid'n
Maid'n

June 16, 2014

He who tries a Mexican wine is too drunk already or is on a dare…

I cant understand how Mexico, having MUCH better wine grwing weather than California, hasn’t attracted investors from USA or Spain, given your nieghbour might end up being a drug dealer, the wine you could possibly get wowuld be amazing. earths quality is wonderful – climate perfect!

California makes good wines too and has lots of potential for the future, that is If they ever learn to make wines propperly or if they bring some Good Old winemakers from Spain, France or Italy, although the real good ones rather stay in home countries and just take a long trip to California on a very expensive consultancy deal with some reach investor and still not revealing the secret of passionate wine making, which is really simple “money is meaningless, the love for winemaking is all, tecnique also helps” = P

to the point, the worst wine ever? Padre Quino, from Mexico – horrendous

Baje rock
Baje rock

June 16, 2014

Well, I have had some pretty bad wines! Some have come from Hungary! These wines are hit or miss but at least out there they are a few dollars a bottle or (Forints). The worst wine I’ve ever had was in a very expensive mexican restaurant in Jalisco. The wine was Mexican and cost $45 USD. It has been the only bottle I have ever returned at a restaurant. I have returned them to stores before, because it’s not my fault the wine is spoiled. Mexican wine is salty…….don’t drink it! I like to tell my favorite wine but if I did there wouldn’t be any for me!!! The best Italian wines aren’t imported the Italians like to keep them for themselves.

Steve De Long
Steve De Long

June 16, 2014

Hi Whit, Great stuff — at half price how can you go wrong? Very wrong!

gph
gph

June 16, 2014

any of the cherry, blackberry, whatever-erry wines of the greater midwest - Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota … etc….

Dobberboc M
Dobberboc M

June 16, 2014

Has no one had the courage to try Carlo Rossi (any color)? Yellowtail and Red Bicycle are relative ambrosia. But I have to agree that Little Penguin is pretty bad.

Vertas
Vertas

June 16, 2014

Vallontano CS 2004 No dout about that!

head for the tropics
head for the tropics

June 16, 2014

Can’t settle on ONE particular wine, but these three producers/labels need to be singled out:

Bicyclette Rouge (a Gallo product)
the Little Penguin
Yellowtail

All equally horrendous. You’ve been warned…

Head for the Tropics

Andrew
Andrew

June 16, 2014

Though I consider myself very lucky that the number of wines I’ve had that were only fit for cleaning local sewer systems is still (surprisingly) limited, there are three in particular that come to mind. One was, unfortunately, my very first attempt at winemaking several years ago, and I managed to both oxidise and madeirise it, and considering it was supposed to be a dry red wine, I’d put it down as a disappointing (rather than glorious) failure. The second was a friend’s attempt at winemaking, and she added so much sulphur, if the wine were accidentally spilt onto sandpaper, it likely would have started a fire. The last was a cheap commercially sold sparkling wine from Canada that will remain nameless for legal reasons that someone had bought for mimosas. As someone interested in assessing wines, I tried it first plain. The combination of sickly sweetness and flavour like second-time-around asparagus and green pepper was terrible. Unfortunately for me, no amount of orange juice could make the flavour go away the rest of the day.

does heat kill kefir
does heat kill kefir

June 16, 2014

There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble

Tom
Tom

June 16, 2014

I wanted to be economical and just purchased a 1.5 liter jug of Carlo Rossi Burgundy for $9 including the tax. I just poured myself a glass and then google’d “Worst wine ever.” Care to take a guess why?

Cesar
Cesar

June 16, 2014

Brazilian wine Sangue de Boi (ox´s blood) is bad to the bone. A mix of grape juice, sugar and alcohol in a green wickerwork demijohn, usually drunk cold as beer at sunday´s middle class lunch.

Rubi
Rubi

June 16, 2014

Dragon Seal Cabernet Sauvignon is my top number one. I couldn’t drink a sip so I used it for cooking and my beef tasted like horse meat.

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