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Snooth User: akops41

Retail Therapy?

Posted by akops41, Nov 29, 2007.

I used to think I'd never meet a bottle of wine I didn't like. Because, after all, whats not to like? Sure, not all wines are created equal, but they all have their charms. Or at least thats what you'd think...

After a long day of work on a cloudy fall day, nothing sounds better to me than picking up some wine on the way home and sipping a glass, feet up, while watching Hollywood gossip shows. This past week, midway through the daily Britney Spears update, I took a sip of possibly the most vile glass of uncorked wine I've ever tasted. The bottle looked nice, and I was pretty confident that I couldn't go wrong with a decent quality Hunter Valley Chardonnay. It had none of the nutty and fruity bold flavors I was expecting. Instead, it had a bland wilted-herb nose with a bitter aftertaste. I was instantly disappointed. Aside from the fact that I had missed Britney's latest shenanigans during my unfortunate sip, I had wasted a perfectly good $9 on this monstrosity of a chardonnay. What now?

My normal reaction, "exchange it for something better," only works when talking about tank tops and sweatshirts. I needed a Plan B. I could always drink a good wine first, and then once sufficiently "happy," slip myself a glass of *this*. I could pawn it off on a houseguest - but then they might think I have bad wine taste and never trust me again. I could pour it down the drain, but I would feel guilty for throwing out someone's hard work and also that $9. The only thought that came to mind was cooking with it. I decided there would be a lot of pan sauce and tossed pastas in my immediate future. Turns out, I created a rather tasty chicken with a mushroom wine sauce that evening.

Now that I saved the day with my frying pan(and caught up with Britney Spears on the internet), I felt much better. But what happens next time I make a poor decision? Will I sentence myself to wine sauce for the rest of my life? What do you do? And also, why does Britney Spears like to make faces at the paparazzi so much?


Reply by Philip James, Nov 29, 2007.

Personally I'd always name and shame, but I'm fairly abrupt...

Corked wine can be somewhat saved by stuffing a baggie (a la ZipLock) down the neck. Here's an article I wrote about this:

Reply by gbhunter, Oct 7, 2009.

Hey akops41,
Sorry to hear about your episode with a Hunter Chardonnay.Better to stay away from corks as Hunter Chard is usually pretty good (unless it is one from the big producers).If you have not been completely put off by our Chards,try a smaller producer who really wants to fly the Hunter flag.Unfortunately you won't be able to pick up a bottle for $9.00 (a big company's price i'm guessing).

Reply by dmcker, Oct 7, 2009.

Hard to tell from your description if the wine was 'corked', or otherwise damaged, or if it was just a poor wine from a sloppy winery. What was the wine, anyway? Nothing wrong with posting here about bad experiences with wine, including their names, as well as good ones. That's kinda what this forum is meant to be about, isn't it?

A number of sauces can be made with bad or damaged white wine. Though I was always taught 'cook with the best and drink the rest', I'm afraid I've tended in the opposite direction at home, except for when cooking special dishes for company . You might also consider starting a vinegar cask. ;-) Here's a thread from earlier this year on the subject:

Reply by Muchkabouche, Oct 7, 2009.

As for cooking with a bad tasting wine, isn't that a case of what you use is what you taste? The guideline that has always kept my food on the plate and out of the waste can is if it tastes good in the glass, it's good in the pan. Of course, the converse usually is true as well. Ever swig some "cooking sherry" straight up from the bottle?

Reply by GregT, Oct 7, 2009.

As mentioned, you don't say whether the wine was corked or not. Doesn't seem like it from the description. It seems more like you didn't know the wine and didn't like it when you tried it. That's OK. Part of the learning curve.

If it had been corked, plastic wrap can help reduce the corked flavors but it pretty much kills the rest of the flavors too. The wine's just dead after the Saran Wrap treatment. But you can use a corked wine to cook - I do it and the TCA doesn't seem to survive the heat.

What you use is only what you taste to an extent. You don't want to use a real oaky wine for most things, because the oak survives, but any potable wine is usually adequate and I don't think it matters much if you use white or red much of the time. At least I can't think of many times it would matter unless you don't want to color your food or you don't want something with extreme flavors like like muscat or gwertz or riesling.

Incidentally - you shouldn't have "cooking sherry" or "cooking wine" in the house anyway! That's like having margarine around! For what?

Reply by lingprof, Oct 7, 2009.

hahaha! loved your combo of Britney with bad wine. i got the sense it was kind of her fault somehow. two thoughts:

1) if you find yourself with an unopened bottle, you *can* exchange it like a tank top, and I have done that, when I've bought 2 and haven't liked the first bottle.

2) as you're learning about wines and your taste and so forth, you will have to invest some money in it. for me, pouring out an occasional bottle (or most of it after I've maybe cooked with it once) is an "educational expense". Now you know that you are a little selective about Chardonnays and should maybe try one at a local restaurant or wine tasting before investing in the bottle. And that will save you money in the long run, right?

Reply by Wayno, Oct 7, 2009.

I have had those rare instances where I couldn't finish some wine and didn't want to just pour it down the drain. I recently made some really good vinegar with a couple of unfinished bottles. Do a little search and you can do it easily. Just don't use corked wine.

Reply by GregT, Oct 7, 2009.

"if you find yourself with an unopened bottle, you *can* exchange it like a tank top, and I have done that, when I've bought 2 and haven't liked the first bottle."

Only in some places. In some states that's actually illegal. Yet another example of dumb laws.

OTOH, that way you aren't going into a store and buying a wine that some yo-yo decided to return after leaving it in his car one July weekend when the temps got to over 100 degrees F.

Vinegar is a good idea. You can even get some herbs and make some flavored vinegars.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 8, 2009.

I usually freeze bad wine and reserve it for future use as a marinade.

Reply by WineFlair, Oct 8, 2009.

Akops, if you've established yourself with a retailer as a good customer - and I imagine you have - they may give you a credit towards another bottle, especially if someone there recommended the wine and it didn't match the recommendation.

If it was truly flawed, you should and usually may cork and return it.

But it sounds like it was just a disappointment, which is not a good thing but which happens to me a few times a year. My cat Tia likes wine, so... (just kidding, before I get a bunch of flaming messages...).

Reply by GregT, Oct 8, 2009.

No flaming messages. They're just cats after all.

Reply by dmcker, Oct 9, 2009.

GregDP, nice approach--hadn't hear that one before. What do you freeze it in?

Wineflair, I've known several dogs, horses, mules, burros and raccoons that drink beer, and in a couple of cases wine, too. I've had cats that eat fruit--but drink wine? That's also a first. What preferences has he/she shown? ;-)

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