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June 2, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Banrock Station 2007 Semillon—Chardonnay

“Beautiful citrus aromas.” “Clean and crisp fin­ish.” “Rich melon palette.” “Subtle hints of oak.”

These are all phrases that, presumably, are used to describe good wines. Wines that have a good taste. Wines that have a good odour.

Wines that don’t taste like somebody’s pouring vinegar and turps down your throat while playing Chris de Burgh music in the background.

I don’t normally drink (though this fortnightly column will see me doing a lot more of it than I used to), and usually only do so when it is a special occasion. This weekend was a special occasion—it was Thropy, the most excellent university debating competition in New Zealand, and it was being held in my hometown, the kind of shit Palmerston North. The Saturday Ethnic Muck Dinner, long a tradition of the tournament, was being held this year at China Town, which also happened to be a BYO. So I brought my own.

“My own” was the Banrock Station 2007 Semillon Chardonnay. If I remember correctly, it had a 7.2% alcohol content (which to me, the eternal lightweight, might as well make it fucking moonshine), the sassy taste of citrus fruits, and a melon fusion with an aftertaste of oak. Or something like that. I don’t remember. I did get a fair bit tipsy off of it, which will be my excuse for not remembering.

What I do remember was my first taste of that alcoholic liquid.

To be fair, I’m not the most ardent fan of cheap wines. They all seem to have the same irascible, gag-inducing aftertaste for me, and while this may be, once again, a testament to my being a goddamned lightweight, I’d like to think that it was at least partly down to the wine’s badness.

Or fully down to the wine’s badness.

The first taste hit me like a freight-train that doesn’t stop for hobos crossing the tracks. It was foul, on a par with being crapped on by a bird or being forced to walk into a changing room in a boys’ high school immediately after it’s been Lynx-nuked. I hunted for the citrus. I looked for the melon. I sought the oak. I desperately searched for anything even remotely sassy.

I found lemon. And a touch of lime.

But I mostly found shit.

I don’t think I can fully articulate just how awful this wine was. Drinking it was like being slapped with a flannel drenched in vinegar for five hours straight. And yet, against my better nature, I kept drinking it. Dammit, I’d paid eight dollars for this because I wanted to get drunk, not because I wanted my palette to be tickled by the butterflies of taste.

Regardless of my intentions, I only got two-thirds of the way through the bottle. I couldn’t stomach the taste any more. It was like some demented soul—a clone of Hitler living out a peaceful existence as a wine-maker, perhaps—had put lemons, limes and human faecal matter in a blender, thrown the result in some stale pond water, and then bottled it and sold it worldwide, unsuspecting wine tasters heralding it as some sort of marvellous alcoholic beverage. When shit like this can get mass-produced and put in a prime position (i.e. somewhere not in fucking Area 51, next to the Ark of the Covenant and the Roswell aliens), there is something horribly, horribly wrong with the world of wine.

The Banrock Station 2007 Semillon Chardonnay. A wine so miraculously awful it would probably make all the Wine Masters turn to Scientology or something equally hopeless if they knew it existed. Do not drink this. No matter what you do, no matter who threatens your family, do not drink this. It is like paying some dirty old man eight dollars to scour your tongue with a Steel-O. For the love of all that is holy, do not touch this wine.

Type: White Wine
From: Pak ‘n’ Save Palmerston North
Price: $7.98

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