I had a couple bottles of wine that had been sitting in my wine rack since this winter and recently I thought, “Hey, I’d better try those before they go off.”  So, I did — and now I will relay my impressions here (with all apologies to Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels).

The first was a Black Currant wine from Becnel Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana.  I bought this wine at a grocery store in Natchitoches, LA for $6.75.  The vintage was not stated on the bottle, so who knows how long it had been sitting there on the shelf.  But, how can you pass up an opportunity to try a black currant wine from LA?  The alcohol level was 13.5%.  So, first I open the bottle and what I smell is something you don’t want to smell in a wine.  I couldn’t place what the smell was similar to, but it was awful, just brutal.  It may have been the fruit that concocted that unfamiliar smell or maybe it had turned into some “rancid tar BS” (quoting Miles Raymond from ‘Sideways’).  At any rate, I decided to plunge forward and take a drink anyway.  The acidity was very noticeable and it overrode any kind of fruit flavor.  It was a harsh wine, but it tasted far better than it smelled.  If I had chilled it a little it may have been better too.  This wine was not sweet at all and that was unexpected.  For that reason I was pleasantly surprised and if it I didn’t need to smell it before it got to my mouth then I probably could have drank it.  But, as it was, I dumped the bottle down the drain.  Would I try it again?  For $6.75, I probably would give it another shot just to see if what I had was an aberration.

The second wine from from Oovvda Winery in Springfield, Missouri.  It was a 2009 vintage Semi-sweet ‘Reliance’ wine.  Reliance is typically a table grape, but I was intrigued to see what kind of wine it would make.  The bottle was attractive too and that didn’t hurt.  My Scandinavian heritage pushed be to buy it when I saw it at a store in Joplin.  I don’t recall the cost but it was probably in the $10-13 range.   My impressions?  For some reason I held the bottle up to the light and saw a bunch of things (sediment?) floating in it as well as a hazy, wispy, floating murk.  Not good.  I opened the bottle and poured it into a glass.  The wine was a gold, slightly oxidized-looking color.  The smell was terrible, not fruity, but more like overripe to rotting fruit.  For the sake of my readers, I took a taste — and proceeded to spit it into the sink (I strategically placed myself there just in case).  It was not semi-sweet, but syrupy sweet, and undrinkable.  It obviously had gone beyond its drinkable life span.  This would be a wine to be drunk right away and not one to age.  My bottle was two years old and long past its prime.  Just writing this brings back the cloying horror of having it on my tongue.  Blech.  Would I try it again?  As a glutton for punishment, I would taste it again, but not buy a bottle unless it was much less than $10, and I would make sure it was a “fresh” bottle.

With “outside the box” wines in mid-America sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but it is always an adventure.  So even though these wines weren’t drinkable, I take some of the blame because maybe I waited too long or didn’t have them stored in the proper way.  I don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water, because I know these types of wines hold promise and it is just finding the proper elements to make it all come together.