Generally, 2017 started off pretty terribly, with not a single wine winning 5 stars until March, when Joh. Jos. Prüm’s 2012 Graacher Hehimmelreich Spätlese earned a cinco, and even that was easy, since I’m a fan of the German reezies. And then it wasn’t until another three months passed before the Pittacum La Prohibición 2012 and Hugel Alsace Cuvée les Amours Pinot Blanc 2014 landed 5 stars each. Another few months passed and finally in September, things started to take off, with a sudden rush of 5-star winners getting recognition. For a while there I thought 2017 was going to be a bad year, but now it’s turning into a real joyful experience.
But there have been some absolute dogs, and we should take a break to celebrate those wines who don’t ever, ever deserve to be celebrated. Each of these received two stars or (gag) less.
First up is Unparalleled – Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand – 2016, which I said lacked “minerals like a diamond mine made of marshmallows. Worst NZ SB I’ve tasted… ever.” Unparalled indeed, as in perpendicular? It earned two stars.
Next was the horrid Layer Cake Malbec from Argentina, which seems ubiquitous on restaurant menus of even higher-end joints. I said this one was “like the 50-Foot Woman bent down and squirted an unripe vineyard in your mouth.” Ouch. Two stars.
Lindeman’s Bin 99 Pinot Noir 2015 won two stars as “a glass of wine-flavored meh,” and the 2014 Frescobaldi Rèmole Toscana Cabernet Sauvignon / Sangiovese got the same rating, called “dull and disappointing [like] M. Night Shyamalan in wine form.”
Another 2-star winner (?) was the 2014 Terrazas de los Andes Altos del Plata Malbec from Argentina, which had “zero finish, like a bad date that ends early with someone who couldn’t care less what you think.”
Coming in at only 1 1/2 stars was the 2014 Campanile Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave from Italy: “bland and vacuous like a speech on education policy by a bored septuagenarian senator.” Joining it in the just-under-two-star rating was the Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc from NZ (2016), which I said tasted like a cheap pinot grigio.
At the 1-star and under crowd — and yes, one of them won less than a full star — we have the bottom of the barrel, assuming these were actually put in barrels and not just stored in the bladders of sick goats. The 2012 sauternes from Château Baulac Dodijos Sauternes was so bad, I compared it to Polaroid chemicals, granting it a single full star.
Apothic White (2016) got a single star and, back in June, it looked like it might be the “worst wine of 2017.” I wrote that it tasted like those “artificial banana cream cakes they sell in all night gas stations, but liquefied and then poured directly into your mouth.”
Alas, another contender for worst wine has since crept up, and naturally it’s from Peru, which — like the national futbol team — just can’t seem to catch a break (although that 2015 Chenin Blanc from Ica did win five stars last year.) The horrid 2015 Franclin Delgado Castilla Cavas de Caral got only a half star after it was served at a wedding, and the entire table — in fact, every table, was seen avoiding the stuff. Imagine a wedding where the wine was so bad, people opted to stay sober… that’s how bad it was. I wrote, “literally smells like a gasoline tank flooded a horse stable.” There was — and I mean quite literally — a reek of horse shit coming from the wine. I mean, how do you get your wine to smell like horse shit? Seriously, I’m asking.
I can’t imagine a wine being more horrible than the Delgado, but who knows? There are still a few more months left to 2017, and I might yet encounter something deserving zero stars, a rating I’ve never once had to use.