A loyal reader writes in with a curious request: he’s lost a bet, which requires him to cough up a bottle of wine that retails for more than $50. But he says he’s “not willing to pay it off honorably”, and is asking if there are any expensive wines with a Wine Spectator score of less than 60. Basically, he’s looking for the worst possible wine in that price range; he says “The wine has to be available either online or in most NY/PA/NJ stores.”
My gut feeling is that any number of Burgundies might fit the bill, or else — if the recipient is anything like me — a particularly sickly Riesling, or a sweet Champagne. Or maybe a high-end vintage white — a Sauvignon Blanc way past its sell-by date, perhaps.
In general, though, this isn’t an easy bet to pay off dishonorably, since expensive wines really do taste better just by dint of being expensive, so long as the person tasting them knows what they cost. In any case they can always be regifted in good conscience. If your friend hates the 17% ABV California fruit-bombs, I’m sure he’ll know someone who loves them. My gut feeling is that the best course of action is to look for a celebrity endorsement, ideally accompanied by a donation to charity. This would be perfect, but it’s too cheap, maybe it comes in a limited-edition magnum?