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CASTELLO MONACI – LIANTE, Salice Salentino, Italy. $11.99.

IMG_0721Steer clear amigos, this bottle tastes like ass. Or taint, that region between your….I won’t get into it.

But cork taint I will get into. It’s exactly what this poor bastard suffers from.

THE FACTS: There’s a nasty little chemical compound out there called TCA (trichloroanisole) that loves to hang out in anything that originally comes from a tree – oak barrels, pallets, cardboard, you name it. Unfortunately for winemakers, stuff made from trees abounds in the winery. Lesson: if your stuff made from trees in the winery isn’t squeaky clean, TCA will put the hit on.

So if you’re a winemaker, keep your shit clean. Simple, right? Sure, if you’re a small time producer. If you’re big time, like this Italian gangster, knowing that every single barrel is clean is quite a task. As such, some barrels just may be straight up nasty. Which would ruin somewhere around 300 bottles. And thats not even if you get the cork involved.

Real cork, the kind that comes off cork oak in Portugal (also from a tree), is likewise a giant attraction for TCA. And thats something spick-and-span small time makers of wine really cannot avoid. It’s estimated that about 2% of bottles that use this real cork will have TCA or cork taint. Which makes sense because this is the 96th wine I’ve tasted and talked about on this website and this is exactly the second one that has been corked.

THE LOWDOWN: You’ll know when a wine is corked because it’ll reek of must, mold or wet cardboard. Think of an underground, unfinished basement. That smell/taste takes over the wine and thats all you get out of it. Its harmless, so if basements and mold are your thing, grab a bowl of spaghetti and go to town. Me, I’d only consume this via peer pressured shots.

THE SCORECARD: (out of ten)

Color : Red

Smell :

  • Intensity : Who cares?
  • Smells like : Basement, mold, mildew, wet cardboard.

Taste :

  • Sweetness : Who cares?
  • Acidity : Who cares?
  • Tannin : Who cares?
  • Alcohol :Who cares?
  • Body :Who cares?
  • Finish : Who cares?
  • Taste intensity: Who cares?
  • Tastes like : Drinking liquid mold.
  • Good with : Basements, slumming in wet cardboard.



Sierra Batuco. 2012. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere. Valle del Maule, Chile. $13.99

IMG_0329Welp, this was a let down. It’s like when the NFL Network says your favorite team has made a big trade and after a commercial break that lasts an eternity you find they trade for Sam Bradford. This wine is Sam Bradford, flawed and overrated.

The labels tells me nothing but good things are on the way….a blend with a majority of Syrah, cool climate Syrah (which is tough to find at a good price), Chile and Estate Bottled, meaning that it probably went from farm to bottle without a middle man. But just as Sam Bradford was toted as a premium QB out of college, he really end up doing nothing for the Rams and was hurt all the time. Truth is this bottle is pretty much hurt as well.

To me it had something reminiscent of what they call “cork taint” in the wine world. Basically this annoying chemical compound called TCA can find its nasty little way into corks or barrels in the winery. If it does, it completely f’s up the resultant wine. If its in the cork, it’ll screw up one bottle, if its in a barrel, it could screw up a bunch of bottles. Watch out, because this bottle is a screw cap. I’ve heard it said that it happens in some degree to 2% of all wines, which makes sense because I’ve probably had 50 bottles of wine in the last two months and this is the first one that got it.

It wasn’t completely bad….there was a presence of some tangy red fruit on the nose, but there was more of this odd, offputting oven cleaner smell. It had a decent silky structure to it with plenty of promising fruit, but ultimately something wasn’t right because of that damn smell. It was defected and unfulfilling. Like the new QB for the Eagles.

Good with: A day cleaning the oven, a day finding out that your football team may never actually win a Superbowl.

 SCORE: 3.78 

About Me

My name is Rick. Some of my friends call me Milk. I'm an average dude who knows some things, not all, about wine. Every other night I'm gonna put down one bottle of wine, $15 or less, and tell you if I think its awesome or not and why. Hopefully it'll help guide you through the infinite assemblage of wine at your local wine store. Cheap wine is good, damn good. Trust me.