Years ago I was at an “offline” dinner, that is a gathering of internet wine geeks, where some brave soul brought a wine many others immediately and fairly dubbed the “weirdest wine ever.”
It was the 1998 Fox Creek JSM, an Australian blend of various red grapes intended as a lower priced sibling to their Shiraz varietals. That is, until the ’98 JSM got a huge rating from the pundits and turned into something you’d bring to an offline.
Indeed, this was weird wine with a dayglow color, a buttery oak aroma, a syrupy texture and flavors more akin to sugary breakfast cereals than anything vinous.
Now I think I’ve found something weirder still.
Wine geeks reading this might think it heresy to mention Fox Creek with something so different in character like the 2005 Conti di Buscareto Crima Marche Rosso IGT. The Buscareto Crima (crima allegedly being the grape, though I haven’t found much to support that) has a natural texture and wine-like base aroma and flavor.
But it’s now the weirdest wine I’ve ever tasted.
It starts out black as night. But take a sniff and it’s like someone’s soaked incense sticks in Italian petite sirah, maybe with hand soap in there too. A local wine store guy, who has a terrific though more than adventurous palate, suggested it’s like gewurztraminer blended into some red wine, as if it were a good thing.
I don’t know about that.
In the mouth, the Crima is taut and tangy with a simple charm, but it’s dominated by a strong floral perfume taste, leaving a less than pleasant bitterness that overlingers. One day later, the wine hardly seems different. And while I want to like it for its distinctiveness, I’m simply perplexed. It’s not flawed. It’s exactly as billed. It’s just not that pleasaurable.
What would you serve this with? How do you get past the bitterness? What am I missing here? Who drinks this and says, I want a case!
I’m always happy to try something different, and this wasn’t undrinkable in its odd way. But once was enough. Unless of course it gets a big score and I have the chance to bring it to an offline.