Full Reviews

Getting a 5-Star Review Just Got Harder

As some of you may know, I typically publish my initial review reactions to a wine on the Vivino app. Then I hone them a bit before porting them over here to Winepisser.

Well, Vivino just upgraded their rating system to allow for more incremental ratings. Whereas you were limited before to half-stars, you can now crank ratings in decimals (4.5, 4.6, etc.) This provides a bit more freedom and flexibility in rating, but it also means it’s going to get a lot, lot harder for wines to rank a full 5.0 here at Winepisser.

And I think that’s a good thing. I originally started this blog so I could verbally thrash trash wines, but since I don’t actually like drinking garbage, I tend to shop and taste the better ones. I’m still a street-level wine thug, and keeping my purchases at the appropriate shelf level, but I’m not actively browsing the bottom shelf just for snark opportunities. So a lot my 4- and 5-star ratings were a bit forced. With the new system, I can be more selective… and I tend to be.

If you do use the Vivino app, be sure to follow me over there, too.

I Accidentally Created a Gewurzcorbiner Rosé, and Re-enacted World War II

I like to remind people that I’m a wine slob, not a wine snob. A street-level wine thug, as the saying goes. I mean, hell, the site’s called Winepisser, for heaven’s sake. So don’t hold this next one against me, but I will take credit for creating an entirely new wine industry if it proves popular.

I really had bad luck with one particular bottle of Riesling, that being the 2018 Markus Molitor “Haus Klosterberg” Riesling. First, I asked one of my wine shops to order me a German Gewurztraminer. So while I’m a fan of the Mosel region rieslings for sure, I’m an absolute gushing lunatic for the g’wertz. So to find out I had been delivered a reez instead, well, it was a disappointment.

Not a giant one, mind you, because Mosel reezes are so reliably fantastic. This one, however, didn’t really work for me… and I’m more shocked than anyone to write that. It still earned 4 stars, but given the fact that Mosel region wines so reliably hit 4.5 or even 5 stars with yours truly, it was a little bit of a letdown. I also had to squint to give in a full 4, and it was likely more deserving of, say, 3.75. But the rating system (borrowed by me from Vivino) doesn’t work like that.

So I’m muddling through this 4-star German riesling, and hardly complaining about it.

So imagine my surprise when I used it to accidentally create an entirely new wine, one that would shock the wine world forever.

You see, I was in a hurry. I was called downstairs for lunch, and had a glass of the Molitor already half-drunk. So I went to refresh before I hurried down, and reached into my wine fridge. I picked up the bottle, uncorked it, and started pouring.

Like Rameses II when Moses shoved a stick into the Nile, I was shocked to see my white wine turn red. I had accidentally grabbed a bottle of the 2019 Blason d’Aussières Corbières, and splashed it into my Riesling.

Good lord, had I just committed a sin? Would the sommelier priest-kings of Bacchus visit me with plagues and famine? Would my subscription to Wine Spectator be canceled on the spot? Would Chateau Ste. Michelle finally have their vengeance?

Worse, had I just used God’s divine fruit — the grape — to re-enact the Saar Offensive, where France invaded Germany? I mean, sweet Jesus, I even had the regions right!

Breathe, I said. No priest-kings are knocking at the door. I thought I might, instead, change my thinking. Maybe I had just uncovered some new trend? Maybe mixing random bottles of wine could be a “thing”? Much of that would depend on how this instantaneous rosé actually tasted.

I wish I could tell you that I uncovered some new, untested phenomenon. I wish, like Newton getting hit on the head with an apple, I could say I stumbled on something wonderful. The resulting Gewurztraminer/Corbières blend I had created — let’s call it a “Gewurzcorbiner” — had a sparkly red color, probably a lot less like the bloodied Nile, and a nose very much like Cherry Coke. The flavor notes were… not good. The Cherry Coke seemed to carry through, likely due to the slight fizz of the Molitor, but then there was an aftertaste of meatiness from the red that didn’t mesh well with the citrusy notes of the white.

So, no, I can’t recommend people go out and try a 2018 ½ Gewurzcorbiner.

I’m intrigued, though. What if someone did actually make a case for in-glass blending of entirely different wines? I can’t help but think thar’s gold in them thar hills. While my Gewurzcorbiner blend was a disaster, I can imagine other in-glass blends being very good. Or, at least, challenging to try. A pinot noir with 25% pinot grigio? A super Tuscan going 50-50 with a Chablis? What if we went nuts and blended a 5-puttonyo Tokaji with a shot of Niagara icewine?

I dunno, I think I’m onto something and just haven’t fleshed it out yet.

Every Wine Review of 2021

As you may have noticed, in 2021 I began reviewing wines by adding one-liner blurbs, or quips. Let’s call them “burps.” I did this because Winepisser wasn’t nearly as clever as I had imagined it, and was getting to be yet another stale wine blog. Since I’m a writer, I figured I should  put my literary powers to good work, such as reviews of alcoholic grape-based products.

Here are all the reviews for 2021, in one place.

You fall asleep naked in a meadow of honeysuckle when, suddenly, a chorus of angels rains the blessings of heaven upon you while playing Debussy; Jean-Luc Godard wishes he was this breathless.  Philippe Dreschler Gewurztraminer – France – 2018

If Dr.  Frankenstein had stitched together his creation, and it came out an Adonis.  Bodega Norton Quorum VI Red Blend – Argentina – NV

A top-down Lotus drive through a citrus field on Sunday morning.  La Val Orballo Rias Baixas Albarino (Fermentado en Barrica) – Spain – 2015

A day of shopping for luxury furs marred only by your looming credit limit.  Chateau Haut-Surget Lalande-de-Pomerol – France – 2019

Valedictorian-in-running later graduates to run pastry shop.  Chateau Haut-Caplane Sauternes – France – 2017

Delicate flirt carries ornate-handled switchblade.  Chateau des Fines Roches Chateauneuf-du-Pape – France – 2015

Mysterious figure in a dark car park winds up being a great pal.  El Coto Blanco Rioja – 2020 – Spain

Your mysterious car park pal has a cousin.  El Coto – Coto de Imaz Rioja Reserva – Spain? – 2017

The latest sex toy proves popular with suburbanites.  Escorihuela Gascon Viognier – Argentina – 2019

The actress who shows potential, but never wins the Emmy. Morande Adventure El Padre Cabernet Franc – Chile – 2018

A walk through the park with your first love, but it’s 30 years later and you’re reminiscing about those apple candies you ate as a kid. Zuccardi “Serie A” Chardonnay Viognier – Argentina – 2018

A young, erudite university student who has affected a smoking jacket and pipe, but isn’t old enough to smoke. Chateau Haut Peyruguet Bordeaux Rouge – France – 2018

Flimsy white lingerie leads to trouble.  Chateau Haut Peyruguet Bordeaux Blanc – France – 2020

Your date was so pretty in her sundress, and so charming as she explained her new tattoo, that the both of you forget you were eating free breadsticks at Olive Garden.  Zonin 20 Ventiterre Pinot Grigio – Italy – 2020

A Valentine’s Day gift of chocolate-covered cherries with a note promising some Marvin Gaye fueled bedspring squeaking later. Masseria Altemura Sasseo Primitivo Salento – Italy – 2018

Your southern cousin lived in New England for a while and tried to drop his accent. Pazo Senorans Coleccion Albarino Ri­as Baixas – Spain – 2019

Two old school chums get together and the resulting conversation is suitably delightful. Oveja Negra Chardonnay Viognier Reserva – Chile 2021

Low-rent housing district installs new fountain to attract tenants. Tacama Albilla d’Ica – 2020 – Peru

“I get all my Riesling from Chile,” said no one ever. Matetic Corralillo Riesling – Chile – 2020

A great conversation with an old school chum that you remember years later, even if you forget what the topic was. Bodegas Arraez “Bala Perdida” Alicante Bouschet – Spain – 2018

A sassy aunt who came uninvited to your house, but had enough funny anecdotes to forgive her. Bodegas Arraez Mala Vida Blanc White Blend – Spain – 2019

That quirky new indie film was supposed to be great, but in the end the poster was better than the movie.  Santa Julia Chardonnay – Argentina – 2021

Sure, that tune is catchy but only because it’s similar to something else you heard once. Zuccardi Poligonos Verdejo San Pablo – Argentina – 2018

Shy introvert looks cute, but won’t dance with anyone. Chateau Lamarzelle Cormey Cuvee Magnan Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – France – 2014

Corked – must review again in future. La Val Orballo Rias Baixas Albarino – Spain – 2019 (CORKED)

Remember that last PowerPoint presentation on modern accounting principles? This is that. Bodegas Arraez Mala Vida Red Blend – Spain – 2019

That middle-aged guy with the faux leather windbreaker and second-hand Porshe is clearly compensating for something. Bodegas Arraez “Vividor” Bobal – Spain – 2019

A dimwitted cheerleader who would have a better career in advertising.  Viña Vieja Gran Rose Semi Seco – Peru – NV

Suicidal diabetic decides to end it all by bathing in maple syrup. Viña Vieja Chenin Blanc Semi-Seco – Peru – NV

A noir film for which Hitchcock directed the first reel, but then JJ Abrams was swapped in for the rest. Zonin 20 Ventiterre Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – Italy – 2019

That new, young substitute minister who you thought was going to be dynamic, but who then just read a passage from Luke in monotone. Arte Expression Alma Caracter Chardonnay Chenin – Argentina – 2020

Undercover cop has fake mustache, but gets the job done anyway. Amayna Sauvignon Blanc – Chile – 2020

Gunpowder truck blows up near a pepper mill, enterprising vintner bottles the ashes. Pinord Chateldon Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon – Spain – 2011

Winepisser Best Wine 2021: Philippe Dreschler Gewurztraminer 2018

best wine 2021 logoAfter awarding no Best Wine in 2021 (due to pandemic), 2022 came back online with a limited number of reviews; only 31, in fact. Compare that to prior years where I reviewed 150+ each year, and it was obvious that the choices were limited.

Sure enough, only a single wine earned five stars, that being the 2018 vintage of Philippe Dreschler’s Gewurztraminer. And that was a close call, since I reviewed it only a few weeks before the end of the year. I really thought I would have to pick a 4-star wine as the year’s winner, but the gwertz resolved that conundrum.

Having said that, the 2018 Dreschler didn’t earn a truly solid 5 stars from me. I use the 5-star rating system used by Vivino, where I publish reviews first (before adding them here to Winepisser.) Vivino allows me to rate them as I am tasting them, and replaces my physical notebook. If I were to have a more granular rating system, this Gewurztraminer would probably have earned 4.75 stars. But even with that being true, it still won the highest score for the wines tasted in 2022.

The quick review for that wine read as follows:

You fall asleep naked in a meadow of honeysuckle when, suddenly, a chorus of angels rains the blessings of heaven upon you while playing Debussy; Jean-Luc Godard wishes he was this breathless. The nose is floral, with hints of honey and sweet apple. The honey carries over to the palate in droves, and gives the impression of sugar, but it’s illusion. In fact, this is not oversweet, but certainly sweeter than German offerings of the same grape. Melon and cantaloupe and only the faintest hint of typical Gewurztraminer spice. No tang at all. As I write this, it’s December 27th, and this delicious g’wertz represents the first 5-star rating for all of 2021. I paired with mutton and lentils, and it rose the plate to absolute ecstasy; even non-wine lovers enjoyed a tasting during the dinner. Pure joy all around. Went equally well with a balsamic vinegar salad course, showing off the gymnastics a good Gewurztraminer will go to in order to work with any plate you can throw at it. Don’t let the price point dissuade you into thinking this is anything but a stellar wine.

In a sense, it wasn’t a fair fight. My favorite grape of all is the gwertz, a wine that originally opened my appreciation for white wines, after a decade or more of tilting to the tintos. And the best of that grape comes from Alsace, without exception. And things were even more unfair given the low number of wines reviewed. But I’m happy to award the Dreschler a cinco, and call it the Winepisser Best Wine 2022. Congratulations to the folks at Dreschler.

Coming in at 4.5 stars we found these great runner-ups:

Of these, the closest were probably the 2017 Sauternes and the 2015 CDP, which deserved slightly higher than a mere 4.5, but still not 5.0.

On the other side of the coin we have the Winepisser Worst Wine 2021 being earned by the absolutely disastrous 2011 Pinord Chateldon Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Spain. My God, was that bad. For that review, I wrote:

Gunpowder truck blows up near a pepper mill, enterprising vintner bottles the ashes. I rated this same vintage back in 2019, and hated it. Back then I wrote, “You poured your old uncle a nice glass of cab while he was grilling, but he’s easily confused, and accidentally poured pepper over his glass of wine rather than the steaks.” I felt I might have been unfair, so grabbed a bottle to try again. No improvement, it’s just a bad wine. Earned 2 stars back in 2019, and didn’t improve its score in 2021.

There were, at least, no 1-star wines this year.

Now we rush into 2022 with a new batch of reviews, and 12 more months until the next cinco is awarded!

French Wine Reviews Incoming!

French Wine Reviews Incoming!

As readers will know, I live in Lima Peru, where it’s flooded with Malbecs from Argentina and all sorts of New World wines from Chile. Having been previously spoiled in the US where I traveled frequently, never far from an upscale wine boutique or, at least, a Total Wine megastore, living in Peru was a shock. Gone were the endless options for wines such as a Tokaji from Hungary or some super-rich Bordeaux.

Peru is not an advanced wine country by any stretch, as I have written about previously. My neighbors and friends here may be horrified to hear me say it, but Peru is simply ass-backwards in this area of culture. If a wine doesn’t taste like a raisin, they are not up for it.

Now add COVID to the mix, and 2021 was a rough year to be a street-level, gutterpunk wine reviewer. Even though my focus is on affordable wines, for much of the year I had no access to wine at all, given that much of the stuff had been stored in tiendas that were shut down, without air conditioning. The vinegar industry must have loved this season.

Thankfully, as shops and importers began to re-open, I found more and more offering local delivery, allowing me to start up wine reviews again without having to break quarantine or travel restrictions. Panuts offered me a fairly large supply of New World wines (again, mostly from Argentina and Chile, with a smattering from Italy and Spain). And, more recently, I discovered Franco Peru, a Peruvian importer of French wines. (No luck, so far, on any similar operations offering bottles from Germany or California.)

This means we’ll have a brief rush of French wine reviews before the end of the year, and it’s already born fruit (pardon the pun.) An Alsatian Gewurztraminer has already won the first 5-star review of 2021, pushing it ahead of the 4- and 4.5-star reviews from the rest of the year. (It really looked like 2021 might have to award a Winepisser Best Wine award to a wine that had not earned a full five stars.) We should be able to get in a few more reviews before the end of the year, possibly a French Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a Sauternes, and maybe a few authentic Bordeaux — no promises, though, as December 31 is set to arrive quickly.

So 2021 may have been a weak year in total wines reviewed by your Winepisser, but at least we should have a healthy competition among those that made the cut.

No matter who wins, I will be grateful for 2021 as it raised my appreciation for a few grapes I had been otherwise ambivalent about: namely, Albariño and some creative Argentinian red blends.

It certainly looks like a French wine will win this year, but it will be a result of a limited selection, and not wine snobbery. In the meantime, before I resume international travel, I will keep searching for importers who can get me a wider variety of bottles, from a wider geographic region.

Wine Art by Monica Marquez Gatica

I came across the wine art of Monica Marquez Gatica on LinkedIn, of all places, where she posted that she is available for commission work. I then checked out her wine art page — here — and think it would be a great option for restaurant wall art, menus, etc.

For this piece below, Monica says, “the white wine is done in acrylic pouring and the wine glass, and background are done in traditional oils.

My favorite from her current gallery is this red wine piece:

Monica is originally from Jerez Spain (in the Andalusian country) and resides in Colorado.

I’m intentionally providing low-res images here, and I invite you to visit Monica’s gallery page to see them in higher resolution, and check out purchase options. Monica also offers free consultation regarding her art and commission pieces.

Full disclosure: I have no relationship with Monica, and only caught her art by accident on LinkedIn. I simply think it’s unique to see someone focusing on wine as a subject of painting, and that this might be of interest to the readers here.

COVID Has Forced Me to Re-learn Wine Tasting

The only good thing I can say about the COVID-19 pandemic is that it didn’t kill me (yet, at least.) Other than that, it’s been a shitshow.

But without getting off-topic, what does that mean for a street-level wine thug? It means more suck, that’s what.

You see, any wine reviewer will agree that you have to maintain a steady diet of tasting to stay at the top of your game. Taking a few days off can throw off your palate, and taking a month off is like quitting entirely and having taken up macrame. Now imagine what a pandemic does, when you’re locked inside your house, alcohol sales are restricted, and all this before anyone was able to build up a proper home delivery service?

As I wrote earlier, that’s what happened. In April of 2020 I bunkered myself, knowing full well that I’d be here a while. I figured six months at the most. Here I am, now a year and a half later, still largely bunkered. I’ve not only had to take up macrame, I’ve had to get a YouTube Premium subscription. Things are that desperate.

(Full disclosure: I did not take up macrame, and have no idea what it actually is. I assume it’s something to do with pasta and pillow stuffing.)

A lifetime ago I lived near Orlando Florida, and frequented the many wine shops of the Central Florida region along with fancy restaurants like Berns (in Tampa) or those inside Disney World (yes, some incredible choices there.) Then I moved to Peru, and had to get my bearings all over again. There was a yearlong gap where I was drinking local fare — only to learn that Peruvian wines are generally garbage, and you’re stuck with Malbecs from Argentina or “fauxignon blanc” from Chile — so things went south, just like my relationship with the equator.

But I was still traveling a lot, visiting restaurants and wine bars around the world, while at the same time finding sources for imported wines within Peru that were reasonably reliable. I was even able to hit the annual Walt Disney World Food & Wine Festival to get my EPCOT fix, occasionally. Winepisser was in full stride.

Mind you, I was had largely traded the wine list of Berns for that of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, but — as I said — I’m a street-level wine thug, so that’s fine for me. I’ll sniff around the rim of that $600 glass of Chateau Ramapo Fault if someone else is paying for it, but I’m the Winepisser for a reason.

But I’ll be damned if this year-and-a-half off of regular wine tasting hasn’t thrown off my palate. I can’t be sure if my recent review of El Coto’s Blanco Rioja 2020 — where I swear I tasted Gewurztraminer and SB inside a Spanish rioja — was the product of a complex grape, or a screwed-up brain.

So while all of that sucks, I’m ecstatic that I just received delivery of my first big batch o’ bottles from Peruvian distributor Panuts, and am able to finally fire up my new, bigger, freestanding wine cooler (moar bottlez!) so they don’t turn into vinegar as we head into an oppressive Peruvian summer.

I desperately miss my father-in-law, though, who would share my tastings with me. Nearly every day we would share un par de copas despues del almuerzo and compare notes. Now, when I crack open a new bottle, I place a small glass in front of his picture. Days later, it’s always gone, and I swear I’m not the one making it disappear.

So here’s hoping my palate returns to full strength, and my reviews are reliable. Until then, remember you’re reading the rantings of a wine thug, not Robert Parker.

Winepisser Awards Back On for 2021

Back in July, I announced that Winepisser was back (sort of), but it’s been a hard slog to get things running again. Thanks to Mr. Covid, getting reliable sources of wine without physically visiting places has been tough. I’ve since hooked up to a connection of wine delivery services which should allow me to provide some new reviews.

With that in mind, I’m happy to announce that Winepisser will be back on track with its annual awards for 2021. That means we will only have lost one year thanks to the pandemic — not bad.

A warning, though: the pickings are likely to be slim, and that means far fewer reviews than in prior years. I had been averaging about 150 reviews per year, and 2021 will likely be in the low two digits. I don’t expect we might even find a five-star, and may instead have to grant a Best Wine award to a 4-star this year. So be it!

The Return of the Winepisser (Sort Of)

I’m not sure if I should get a medallion or something, but it’s been over a year since I had my last glass of wine. Today I finally broke that streak, with a glass of my favorite Peruvian offering, the Viña Vieja Chenin Blanc. It’s literally the first wine I’ve tasted with “2020” on the label.

You know why, too. COVID, that’s why.

Living in Peru has been nothing less than a nightmare during the pandemic. Most first-worlders can’t imagine the absolute chaos, terror, and simultaneous ambivalence that residents of Peru have faced.

For me, it’s been personal. My father-in-law died after one moment of weakness, following nearly a year of solid adherence to strict protocols. Prior to his death, he had given up nearly his entire normal way of living — which involved active work with the Policia Nacional del Peru (PNP) and helping retired police officer — for the sheltered life of a hermit living under pandemic conditions. An extrovert and social butterfly, we knew he hated it, but he sacrificed his lifestyle for the overall benefit of his family.

Until one day he didn’t. Invited by his fellow police officials to a brief luncheon in downtown Lima, he gave in to weakness and went to a restaurant. he came back with COVID. Less than two weeks later, this healthy lion of the PNP was thrown into a dusty, tented parking lot and left to die. Whereas he once was an official member of the presidential protective guard, he was now denied all dignity and allowed to suffocate without proper oxygen or medication. The Peru healthcare system had all but collapsed, and stories similar to his were happening by the minute throughout all of Peru.

Worse, he had infected others in our family. His wife, my mother-in-law, contracted COVID, as did members of my immediate family. All survived, with some showing no symptoms at all, while others struggled and barely made it. Meanwhile, we watched as hearses came nearly weekly to cart away some other neighbor.

I was closer to my father-in-law than I was my own father, who I had fallen distant from as soon as I hit 16. With my father-in-law, I felt had recovered a father and while we disagreed at times, we also enjoyed a real adult father-son relationship. He also loved trying the various wines I would bring home, and he was my co-conspirator when cracking open a new bottle.

For my part, I decided in April of 2020 that I would quarantine and stay quarantined until a vaccine emerged. I did just that, leaving the house only four times when absolutely necessary: doctor or dentist appointments. I changed my entire business model to providing remote services only, and developed new methods to conduct all of my work online. I hunkered down and intended to stay that way. I’ve done that ever since.

Peru, meanwhile, fell apart. Oxygen ran out, as did medical supplies. Doctors were found re-using masks and gloves, and medicine was in short supply. The country went through three presidents in two weeks. The spread of COVID was the worst in the world. The people on the street adhered to rules for toque de queda (curfuws) for a month or two, then resuemd their normal lives. They wore masks, yes, but social distancing in an overpopulated city was impossible. And transmission rates skyrocketed. The police enforced cuarantine rules for a few months, and gave up. They simply couldn’t fight against 99% of the country’s population which needed to go back to work.

Peru had the money to pay people to stay home, but like most governments, was so beholden to institutions like the IMF, it opted instead to try to maintain an economic model that was based on pre-pandemic conditions. So everything fell apart, and hundreds of thousands of people died.

Bringing this all back to the subject of wine, there was no way I was going to exit my house and buy wine or attend events to write wine reviews. In the grand scheme of things, survival was more important, and I was literally fighting to survive. Every day I was trying to avoid infection, unsure if my immune system could battle this beast or not. I preferred not to find out.

Meanwhile, wine in the local shops was sitting on shelves in un-airconditioned conditions. Even if I had the inclination to go out and buy, whatever I bought was likely to taste like horse urine. That’s when I decided to temporarily shut down Winepisser, and cancel the 2020 Winepisser awards entirely.

The other day, however, I was finally able to get my first vaccine shot, promising a view to a return to normalcy. Perhaps not tomorrow, but very soon. I still need my second shot, and others in the house still have to get vaccinated before I can return to shopping at wine shops or going to restaurants, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I decided to celebrate with a bottle of Viña Vieja Chenin Blanc because it was readily available, cheap as hell, and infinitely enjoyable. I was also able to grab it at a nearby supermarket where I could dash in — wearing double face-masks and a full face shield — and risk low exposure to COVID.

The Viña Vieja cee-bee has been a routine favorite of mine since arriving in Peru, and has come close to winning a few awards, but — so far — hasn’t made it over the finish line. The fact is that the wine is cheap, it’s a dime-a-dozen, and won’t be served at any sophisticated events. But it’s just plain fun. It goes equally well with a plate of fish as it does with a bit of chocolate. And in the end, isn’t enjoyment what matters?

I’m still not ready to start venturing into places where I can buy expensive bottles. I still dont’ want to go to tastings, and I have cancelled all international travel so I won’t be visiting restaurants while on travel. Soon, though, I’ll start skulking around the wine shops to see what I’ve missed while away. Soon, I will re-launch the Winepisser Awards and begin publishing reviews again.

For now, it’s nice to have survived — to date — and just have a quick glass of chenin blanc to celebrate making it this far.

No Winepisser Awards for 2020 Because 2020

Obviously — obviously — there won’t be any Winepisser awards for 2020. Sigh.

In January, I reviewed one wine, a 2.5 star bottle of junk, and then prepped to review a lot more. By April, I was under national lockdown, and alcohol sales were prohibited. Because of the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 in Peru, I remained indoors the rest of the year, during both mandatory and voluntary lockdowns. I can work remotely, so why risk it?

Meanwhile, the wine available for purchase when restrictions were lifted had been sitting in long-closed shops with no air conditioning. Essentially, much of the wine inventory available for retail purchase is now probably horrible. Interior temperatures of Peru buildings can exceed 100 deg F easily, and shopkeepers long since shut off their electric when COVID hit. There was no way I was even going to order wine for delivery, since it would be throwing out money.

So, no. For 2020 the annual Winepisser Best Wine and Winepisser Worst Wine awards are cancelled.

Let’s hope 2021 gets better.