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Jan 13, 2011 10:40 AM

What's the weirdest or most awful wine you've ever tasted?

I spent Christmas week in a mountain cabin in Ruidoso, NM - did y'all know they make wine in NM? It was the first I'd heard of it...

While we were milling around the shops in the old part of the town, I came across something so bizarre that I HAD to buy it - "New Mexico Green Chile Wine." And the wine was LITERALLY neon green colored - like a green apple jolly rancher!

I don't even know if I could give real tasting notes, basically this was a really awful, sickeningly sweet bad quality white with some jalepeno juice or something thrown in.... The flavor was so WEIRD, I think it may have actually been worse than the BIG BOX.

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  1. One of our regular attendees at wine dinners works for an events company that organises a lot of long distance running events involving world-class athletes. He once brought a bottle to be tasted blind and it was truly an abominable wine. It turned out to be a red from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. It might have been useful for stripping paint, but not much else.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Al Toon

      I had a glass of honey (white) wine from Ethiopia while dining at an Ethiopian restaurant. It wasn't awful or weird and it was 'acceptable' with food. But the next time I got a beer.

      1. re: Al Toon

        Wow - many of these make my "worst/weiderest" wine seem tame by comparision....Pineapple wine someone brought me a gift from Maui.

      2. My gourmet wine group had a theme once to bring wine from the state you were born. I happened to have been born in Michigan, since I don't live there I had to rely on ordering directly from a winery. The wine though made from Washington grapes was undrinkable. Lucky me they screwed up on the shipping and they accidentally doubled my order. Thankfully one of the wine group members was born in Washington so we had at least one wine that saved the evening. The Pensylvanian wine was actually not that bad and was perhaps saved by it being purchased within Pennsylvania and shipped via a family member.

        The weirdest wine I have had was a Republic of Georgia wine. I can't remember the name but I do remember that one of the tasting notes that I read about it referred to it as something like watery bourbon, which was a very accurate description.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pairswellwithwine

          I don't know what Republic of Georgia wine you drank, but Kindzmarauli and Mukuzani
          are highly drinkable. Basically, they are naturally sweet red wines which have been
          made since antiquity. My worst wine was a chinese wine given to me by one of my
          grad students from China. I could barely take a sip without spitting it all out. I poured
          the rest down the drain. A distant second is a wine from Vietnam I drank during a visit
          there. The wine is made in Dalat, which has almost perfect weather for winemaking.
          Unfortunately, the winemaker, who spent an entire week in France learning wine
          making, decided that the "Vietnamese palate is not yet ready fror European
          varieties," so he is making his wine with table grapes. So it tastes a bit like
          fermented sugary water.

        2. The worst: Retsina in Greece about 40 years ago.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PolarBear

            Ugh, Retsina is nasty. That said, it's not as nasty as Mondavi "Private Selection" Pinot Noir. I'd rather drink my own urine.

            1. re: PolarBear

              ditto - how does anyone drink this cr*p

            2. There's weird, and then there's bad.

              I have a fair degree of tolerance for weird. Ethiopian honey wine (tej) is mentioned above. It's made with gesho, which creates bitterness something like the hops in beer. I haven't acquired a taste for the stuff, but can see how some folks might like it. Ditto with retsina. And Georgian wines are their own kind of thing, but I managed to consume a fair amount of sweet reds and шампанское when I was in the CCCP (which should give you a hint as to the time frame).

              I don't know enough about any of those wines to say whether they're good or bad. They're just different. OTOH, I've been to a fair number of art shows / office parties / open houses where the hosts were either clueless about what they were serving or understood that the swill they were offering would discourage people from getting drunk and encourage them to leave early. Most of the times they hide the bottle, so you're never quite sure what it is. But it's a definite step down from Charles Shaw.

              Then there's the confluence of bad and weird. My grandfather used to make dandelion wine. Maybe there's a good example of the stuff, but I've never heard of it. And frankly, I'm not looking to expand that particular horizon.

              But as far as New Mexico wines go, you've got to try Gruet. Not a bad sparkling wine at any price, and a contender for best in the world in the <$15 / bottle price range. Albuquerque's finest.

              1 Reply
              1. A relative gave us some Tennessee tomato wine. It was like the ketchup had gone bad and someone added window cleaner to cover the taste!

                1 Reply
                1. re: garlicvampire

                  LOL! Okay that one is about as weird as the "green chile wine" we had in NM. It was like drinking fermented jalepeno juice and neon green food coloring! One of the few times in my life I actually poured a bottle down the drain...