They Can't All Be Winners

In the endeavor of loving wine, we must kiss a lot of frogs.  Here are some of those.

2016 Jose De Sousa Vinho Alentejano (Portugal) $16
The best (by far) red wine I had on a trip to Portugal a few years back was a $15 bottle from the Alentejo region.  Since then I've been repeatedly trying to find something similar.  This one looked appealing, so I gave it a try. A dense, tight nose of burning paperwork leads to a palate that's more of the same.  Did I get a bad bottle?  Wine Enthusiast gave this 93 points.  I gave it a swift kick in the ass.

2014 Sterling Merlot Napa Valley $13
Originally priced at $27, the vintage suggests that a palate of this was found in a forgotten corner of a warehouse and priced to move.  Sold to me as wine that "drinks like one of the big boys," I should have realized that this was code for "merlot masquerading as cabernet hammered into submission by an oak regimen that would be the envy of a lumber baron." 

What was I thinking?