Thursday 2 May 2019

The Great Sediment Wine Tasting

“Well… life all comes down to a few moments,” says Bud Fox, just before he goes into Gordon Gekko’s office for the first time in the movie Wall Street. “And this is one of 'em...”

It was time to taste our home-made wines, the culmination of a project which CJ finally steered us into some three months ago  . The equipment had been bought, the technology mastered, the wines made, bottled and matured (and, in one case at least, labelled). We had avoided potential spillages, floods and fermentation explosions. Now for the dangerous bit.

There were three wines on the night. There was Piqué, created of course by myself, PK; there was a wine garishly labelled Lobo e Falcao, a label which Mrs K mistakenly believed that CJ had created himself, until it was explained that he had, typically, just reused an old empty bottle; and, as a control, there was a “professional” bottle, of Waitrose Soft Chilean red, which is CJ’s £4.99 staple.

Sadly we were unable to replicate the tastings of homemade wine which appear widely on YouTube. Those seem to go quite well, and nearly always end with someone raising their glass and saying something like, “Y’know, it’s really not bad at all!” However, we simply couldn’t go along with two of their common aspects, which are that most of them seem to be conducted by chaps in (a) cheaply equipped utility rooms, and (b) shorts.

Our own tasting was conducted blind, in which we were ably assisted by our spouses; while we waited outside the room, the wines were poured into glasses A, B and C by our lovely assistants (© Debbie McGee). This 30-second audio clip will introduce you to some sounds rarely heard at formal wine tastings, and give you a flavour of the evening. Not the flavours – you wouldn’t want that:


Anyway, these are CJ’s notes on the three wines:

A: Gasworks, glue, rotten fruit. Bent double with revulsion on first taste. Emetic. Bent double on the second taste. Repulsive. Not a bad nose.

B: Burning carpet, scorches the tongue, doesn't seem to stop. On the other hand, it doesn't make me bend double. Borderline drinkable

C: Smouldering mattress, liquorice in puddle water, makes me bend double again. Most repulsive. The horror the horror

And PK’s:

A: This had a bouquet which can only be described as disturbing, blending as it did the scent of plastic with that of an unclean bottom. It tasted terrible, a nasty flavour of artificial fruit, like a packet of sweets left for some time in a warm car door pocket.

B: Reminiscent of being on a train with brake pad problems, or breathing in fumes of burning rubber from a distant riot. This one took me to a horrible, dark place of bitterness and nastiness.

C: With a strangely caramel bouquet, I felt this one was blander than the other two, smoother, less pungent and acerbic, and therefore marginally less repulsive.

And the reveal:

A was CJ
B was Waitrose
C was PK’s

What was peculiar was our polarisation. None of the three was actually enjoyable, but that which one of us hated most, the other hated least. So awarding points on a 3,2 and 1 basis, each of the wines ended up scoring 4.

Basically, they were all terrible. Which, worryingly, puts us on a level playing field with Waitrose…


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