Anyone who has searched the couch cushions for a handful of change knows that boozing on an extreme budget can be a risky proposition. To help you decide how to spend that meager pile of pennies, we've scraped the Bottom of the Barrel to review some of the cheapest, most face-planting, getcha drunk wines on the market. This week: Richards Wild Irish Rose.
The Vintage: Richards Wild Irish Rose - Red, ABV 18%
Richards Wild Irish Rose has the distinction of being one of the first branded wines on the market. It also has a proud history of being some of the oldest and most vile rot gut a handful of change can buy. 50 years and going strong! Wild Irish Rose has been trying to up its street cred recently by cutting into the Cisco and MD 20/20 market with a variety of wild fruit flavors, but any true wino worth his salt will tell you Red is the only viable option. (Primarily because the White variety of this wine could double as turpentine in a pinch and your organs don't take well to that kind of scouring.)
I have no idea who this Richards character on the bottle is, but anyone with the chops to pluck this Wild Irish Rose deserves props. It couldn't have been an easy task to tame this bonny lass. My hat is off to you, sir. May your oversized and cirrhotic liver be bronzed as a true testament to your prowess.
(See, swirl, sniff, sip and savor this bounty after the jump)
Appearance: Wild Irish Rose looks the exact same as other red varietals of gutter wine. At first glance it appears to be a relative of red table wine, but the color is a bit too saturated to be natural. I might just have the red-toothed kool-aid grin after drinking this.
Bouquet: The noxious fumes of this supposed "wine" had my eyes watering right after I cracked the screw top. The scent of rubbing alcohol and firewater flooded the kitchen and settled like a thick blanket of shame over the room. I could practically smell it through the bottle, which should tell you something about its potency (and ability to corrode metal).
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Body: It's blatantly clear that the "Red" indicated on the bottle refers more to the color than the flavor. Wild Irish Rose tastes nothing like any other red wine I have had the misfortune of consuming, and there have been quite a few in this series against which I can judge this Irish lass. It is a pungent cocktail of chemicals and carcinogens with a sugary coat of sickening sweet additives that fail to mask the flavor of cough syrup.
Finish: If you have three dollars in your pocket and a cold night ahead of you, Rosie will wrap around you like a warm blanket and hold you tight. It burned all the way down my gullet and gave me an unfortunate case of the rosy-cheeked drunk sweats after only a couple swigs. The finish is just as wretched as the rubbing alcohol and cough syrup profile would have you believe. You may be better off trying to kill a bottle of Aqua Velva than this stuff.
Pairs with: The dank environs of highway underpasses, bus stops, park benches, and cold, hard concrete buffered by newspaper and cardboard. Hopelessness and despair permeate this vintage.
Lasting impressions: This wine has no place in your refrigerator even on an ironic basis, despite the "Serve Cold" recommendation. Ignore Wild Rosie's siren call as she promises a warm embrace and a descent into oblivion. It's all a ruse to get you to polish off some of the vilest "wine" ever bottled. This is truly the very bottom of the barrel. Ain't no going lower from here, in terms of both the vintage and your dignity.