Think below the box

Through the kindness of Francis W. Porretto, we have the honor of getting a look at the entirety of “Contains Sulfites,” a 1999 sendup by Dan Atkinson of wine reviews. One brand name, so to speak, will suffice here:

Thunderbird’s “Serve Cold” (750 ml, $2.79, 17.5%), “The American Classic,” was a complex and aggressive wine from the first sniff. “The stale farts of an aging Times Square hooker,” noted Brandon, seeking vivid metaphors for the barbaric attack, “or the odor of vomit-soaked sewer grates.” Mike found the nose urinary with a hint of Windex. To me, it was a quivering bouquet of Nyquil, rotten grapefruit, and horseradish. The odors were heavy like sun on a headache, like varnish on an open sore.

The flavor was hauntingly scolding, like Mom’s cooking sherry. Quick and staccato, without subtlety, the flavors attacked: Vaseline, allegations of lime, Triaminic and bacon grease, a pile of bum yak on Burnside, a diesel train crashing into a baby duck, rancid Mountain Dew, a back-alley dumpster’s burnt caramel apple. My God, the horror! It was like waking up in a tire fire.

Each sip ended with a hydrogen peroxide sting that made you cringe and wonder if the next sip was worth it. When the glass was drained, the flavors cooled to a slow evil burn, like the lingering itch of jalapeño diarrhea. But at last we had a buzz.

We’ll make a teetotaler out of you yet, Bunkie.


  1. McGehee »

    16 December 2018 · 5:52 pm

    Are we sure they hadn’t inadvertently tasted my cheap scotch?

  2. hollyh »

    17 December 2018 · 8:53 am

    This is why I draw the line at 10.00 per 1.5 Liter at Sam’s Wholesale. Anything lower yields the exact experience described here.

    Which, being a true Scotswoman, I drink on through, to the final blessed buzz.

  3. nightfly »

    17 December 2018 · 2:39 pm

    “Boone’s Farm ‘Sun Peak Peach.’ … It could go well with scrambled eggs.” For some reason this is the line that really made me bust out laughing. My compliments to Mr. Atkinson, and thanks to Mr. Poretto’s instinct for sharing.

  4. hollyh »

    17 December 2018 · 3:59 pm

    Agreed, this was a delight.

  5. 2ABill »

    18 December 2018 · 8:21 pm

    I’ve actually drunk Thunderbird (and Boone’s Farm) and lived to tell about it. That tells you all you need to know bout me.

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