Normally at Oregon Wine Geeks, we don’t make negative comments, though they can be fun to write and read, and somewhat cleansing to the soul. But a particular event has caused me to want to provide feedback on what should be a wonderful experience, that for some reason, some wineries turn ugly.
I have been a wine club member at a fair number of wineries. My friends often accuse me of being the character Norm, form the old Cheers TV show. Every time we walk into a winery it seems, they say “NORM!” (or in my case, “TIM!”) “We have your shipment for you! You’ve missed a couple so here's this wine we’ve been cellaring for you.”
I get to try a lot of different wines that I might not buy, and all the other fun things of a club membership. It is a lot of fun for both my wife and I. It is a wonderful part of being a wine lover.
I cancelled another wine club membership today.
There are a lot of reasons to cancel wine club memberships: cutting back on the number of memberships is my usual. But this is the third time I have cancelled a club membership for this, inexplicable reason: The winery sends me terrible wine.
It was my first shipment from this wine club.
I say terrible wine, let me describe terrible: Wine tasting is more than drinking wine, it is an experience! Fun, educational and a sensory challenge to not just drink the wine, but to savor it. So I love new experiences, and I admit this was new: I’ve never had a wine glass vomit into my mouth before. The taste followed the nose well, but the nose was a three day dead mouse that somehow was still defecating. I couldn’t believe it, and I didn’t want to subject my sink to such a travesty, so I took it over to, (well, what once was), a friend to say “Try this!” and to make sure that it wasn’t just my palate. He spit the wine into back into his glass and then, after pouring out the bottle, we had to bleach the sink to keep it from gagging.
I’ll give the wine a total of 5 points out of 100, for the experience. Decanting and aerating did help, but that’s because we added Fabreeze to the room to clear the stench.
I’ve established that I indeed, did not care for the wine. I know this winery. They make very good wines. The wine wasn’t tainted, it was just…terrible. I’ve had other clubs send what seemed to me to be consistently unsellable wines, or even consistently tainted wines and I’ve dropped those memberships too.
But to send me, a wine club member, this wine….I simply refuse to accept that the winery couldn’t sell the wine so they pawned it off on their wine club members. Certainly no one would buy this after tasting it, but to do that to your…guaranteed customers? That doesn’t make any sense.
I am too embarrassed for the winery to try and say…”this wine that you sent me...” . How do I approach that? I feared they might try and sell me that my palate was jaded or that I didn’t “understand” the wine. Which would lead to more ugliness, I might even want to watch them drink a whole bottle.
So I just cancelled the membership, politely.
As a wine club member, I am not expecting your private reserve or your cherished library wines in my shipment. But part of my joining this wine club was to show off to friends that this hard to reach winery produces very good wine. That argument will now be tough sledding. They might produce some good wines, but they’ll certainly charge me for undrinkable "rubbish", (Thank you Allison, that was a great word!).
So please, as a wine club member, don’t abuse me, I am supporting you, I am promoting you!
Maybe if I rinsed with bleach I could get this taste out of my mouth.
Posted By: Tim Morton @ 11:07:29 AM