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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Rants and Raves | 11 comments

The Wines of Guantanamo Bay




I’ve got a huge problem.

My private stock of wine includes several bottles of shit.

They’re utterly undrinkable, and frankly, an embarrassment.  I have no idea how they entered the front door of my home.  Now, I don’t know what the hell to do with them.

Life can be so full of challenges.

This weekend, while restocking my inventory, I counted 382 bottles currently in stock.  I wouldn’t exactly call what I own a “collection.”  That’s because I don’t collect wine.  Nope.  I drink wine.  There’s a difference.  Collecting win is profitable.  But drinking wine is lots more fun.

IMAG0003Over the years, I’ve accumulated healthy reserves of most of the wines I enjoy.  That way, in case there’s a nuclear war and we all have to take emergency cover inside bomb shelters, I’m pretty much covered for an entire year.  At a rate of consuming about a bottle per day, that means 382 bottles will last me slightly more than a year.  Add in the assorted bottles of liquor, and I can probably stretch it for two full years, so long as no freeloaders take cover and end up raiding my stash.  These are the survival skills I’ve developed.

In between all the solid “go to” wines I’ve hoarded and the more-expensive bottles for special occasions like when I have a winning day sports betting, somehow a few catastrophes of the vintner trade slipped their way past my consciousness and into my private reserve.  I’ve captured 18 intruders among my current inventory.  They’re segregated into a corner of the room, but off from the good stuff in what I’d call the wine reserve’s equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.  If a serious wine connoisseur were to see these wines resting amidst the classics, I’d be laughed out onto the street.  So that won’t happen, I now find myself faced with the unenviable task of having to dispose of 18 bottles of crap.

IMAG0004Just to set the record straight so that Gareth Edwards and Stephen McLoughlin and all the other snobs living on Planet Elite don’t excommunicate me from the universe, these shitty bottles were either casino giveaways, or were deep clearances from grocery stores, or in some extreme cases….gifts from “friends.”  If you happen to see your prized bottle in the mugshot above, take the following advice with the best intentions:  Do some fucking research first before buying me a bottle of shitty wine.  Friendship has its limitations.  Oh, and Merry Christmas to you, too.

There are also a few bottles of Merlot, which I refuse to drink unless my finances get really, really bad.

Here’s the inventory of horror:

Rex Goliath 47 Pound Rooster — 2001   (3 bottles)

Rex Goliath 47 Pound Rooster — no year listed   (1 bottle)

Yellow Tail — no year listed   (1 bottle)

Finca Flichman Malbec — 2010   (9 bottles)

Barefoot Cabernet — no year listed   (3 bottles)

Cooks Brut — no year listed   (1 bottle)


What should I do with these wines of embarrassment?  Got any ideas?  A few worthwhile options include:

— toss them into the garbage

— save them for guests who don’t know anything about wine and won’t know the difference between drinking a $5 bottle and $50 bottle

— re-gift to people I don’t really care about

— save them just in case I have to stay in the bomb shelter more than two years…..that aged bottle of Yellow Tail is going to taste pretty damn good when the rest of the stash and the world is wiped out.


What do you think I should do with these 18 bottles of shitty wine?



  1. easy! use them for Sangria or re-gift!

  2. Use them for cooking boeuf bourguignon or coq au vin. Do you not like Malbec or just not that one?

  3. The November 9 of 2016 get 2 bottles each?

  4. I’d go with keeping them as a “last resort.” You don’t want to be wineless and say, “Gee, if I hadn’t tossed out that Yellow Tail…”

  5. 1) Any wine too shitty to drink is too shitty to cook with, so take that option off the table. Of course you’re not going to use your best bottles to deglaze pans, but no decent chef would put wine in food they wouldn’t be willing to drink straight up. 2) In the same way, any wine too shitty to drink is too shitty to use to make sangria or any other wine mix. 3) Your liberal ethical mores precludes (or should) giving wine this bad to someone else for any other purpose. If someone *asks* for it, you are ethically required to warn them *once* that it’s crap, and then you can let it go with a clear conscience. 4) However, if you have decent Merlot (yes, there is such a thing) that you just don’t want to drink, regifting that is entirely acceptible. If you want to save the crap for the apocalypse, that’s your prerogative, but for me the correct answer is flush the wine and recycle the bottle and be done with it.

    • Not true. Fresh out of the bottle, any Madeira wine is undrinkable, but make an excellent cooking wine. Chinese rice wine, which can be used as a paint stripper, makes an excellent marinade for lamb.

      • 1) You’ve been drinking the wrong Madeira. Madeira bottled for the purposes of cooking is swill and shouldn’t be used for anything, 2) neither of these things you mention are technically wine, only one of the two is made from grapes, and it’s fortified, 3) Nolan didn’t list either of these on his questionable list. So, other than that, you were right on point.

  6. I would say use them for cooking or cheap partysangria but I usually don’t even use those tables. Well maybe the Dave bynum my dad knew him years ago when both were alive??

  7. Barge bust out gifts or bring them to Kareoke. Better than the shot they sell there!

  8. Silly question – how do you end up with 9 bottles of bad wine? Buy a case and drink 3?

    Answer to you question is easy – you’ve got a bunch of bum wine … give it to bums begging on the street corner.

    (Or did bingo already say that 😉

    P.S. – You need better storage – too many upright bottles in those pics of good wine, get it resting on the cork.

    • Nolan Replies:

      That’s EXACTLY what happened. I went through a Malbec phase a few years ago, where I found every Malbec to be either good or very good. I came across this new brand for export from Argentina which I had not heard about before, and was priced ridiculously low (probably ~$6 a bottle, when the average Malbec runs about $9-12.) I should have known, of course. The case discount is 10 percent, so I was getting a wine I usually enjoy for about 40 percent off the normal rate. How could I go wrong spending $65 for a case? Not sure how I made it into the third bottle, but I found it to be undrinkable. Also, I got a bad case of cottonmouth (where your mouth dries out the next morning). So, I decided it wasn’t worth it to consume these bottles. BTW, I found a local person (a poker writer) is going to take them for free. Now, he will have to deal with cottonmouth.

      — ND

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