The bad-wine kir-all

We’ve all done it — “Hey, Honey, let’s try this wine. It looks good!” Based on the name, the shape of the bottle, the name of the vintner, or the cleverness of the label, we’ve bought an untried wine and hoped for the best. This recently happened to us, and the cure-all answer (at least for white wines) is to create a kir.

One of our favourite vintners for everyday wine is Tariquet, and we buy large quantities of their Chardonnay and Sauvignon. So when we saw that they offered a “Classic,” we immediately ordered six bottles. (We usually buy our wine online, and have it delivered. So there.) After a sip or two, we discovered that “Classic” is short for “having no discernible taste … having the body of a damp Kleenex … and exuding the delightful aroma of, well, nothing actually.” Here is the offender:

Classic wine

The problem.

To be clear, the wine was not “bad” — not oxydized or otherwise undrinkable. Just blah. So we turned to our trusty bottle of Crème de Cassis, and devoted the six bottles of “Classic” to apéritif status. In other words, before a meal we would pour a small amount of the Crème de Cassis into the bottom of a wine glass, and then top it up with the “Classic,” which we kept chilled in the refrigerator. Voilà — a kir! Here’s our trusty tipple:


The solution!

Finally, here is some advice from the Radio Free Daglan Advice Handbook:

Have cassis on hand. Crème de cassis is readily available, not expensive, and useful (you can even pour it on ice cream). If you haven’t had it, it’s reasonably full of alcohol (20%), but not harsh at all; in fact it’s fruity and sweet. A small amount turns most white wines into flavourful apéritifs.

Keep it chilled. We’ve learned through experience that you should keep your cassis in the fridge. Remember that you’re not using very much per glass, so it lasts a long time. If you keep it in a cupboard, it tends to turn brown and get rather nasty.

Don’t expect miracles. Okay, it won’t solve a problem with all white wines. We recently tried a Chilean Chardonnay (mercifully, I bought only one bottle, in a supermarket), and it was absolutely foul. Again, not oxydized or “bad” in that sense, just terrible tasting. By adding some Crème de Cassis, I discovered that I’d created a pretty foul-tasting kir. Down the drain it went.

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4 Responses to The bad-wine kir-all

  1. Lesley says:

    Named after the religious man who found that his wine was ‘blah’ and so improved it’s sellability!
    With Champagne it’s Kir Royale but with v. cheap fizz it’s delish. We also ring the changes with other fruity syrups: orange, raspberry even bananna.

  2. loren24250 says:

    Absolutely, Lesley. Typically, we find that restaurants will assume that you want your kir with cassis, but many will also ask what flavour you want — framboise (raspberry), pêche (peach) and mûre (blackberry) being the most common other choices.

  3. Double D says:

    Dear Alchemist,

    I have a rather dusty Bordeaux left over from the three I bought based on LCBO’s advertising. The first two ended up down the drain and are likely part of Lake Ontario now. The wine is hard to describe, a combination of that smell you get when you are vacuuming, combined with cork and grape. I can’t use this wine for anything, I couldn’t even get away with serving it to people who already had too much. If you have any suggestions on how to save this one please message or Blog.


  4. loren24250 says:

    Dear Double D, there is only one answer to your question: Return the two unopened bottles to the LCBO for a full refund. Doesn’t matter if you don’t have the receipt. Since the LCBO is really the only game in town (in Ontario), they take responsibility. And you only have to say that you didn’t like the wine — no other questions asked.

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