have you ever sent back a bottle of wine?

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boomchakabowwow

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you know the pomp and circumstances..you get a tiny taste? and "okay" the bottle?

you ever get a bottle that you sent back? what happens? does the sommelier snap into action and do things. :)

i like wine, but i am not a pro. i was thinking that i have never seen a bottle sent back. not that i remember.
 
I'm in the same boat. But I was helping out at a dinner recently and got to spend time with the wine guy. He opened >24 bottles that night. One was corked -- it was definitely noticeable. Something you would send back in an instant. Funny thing was it was a dessert wine (a Sauternes), which he indicated is much rarer to find corked then a regular wine. In this instance you would typically expect to get another bottle of the same wine.

Now if I ordered a wine and just plain didn't like it, that's a different story. The 'taste' you do at the table is to check for the wine being corked (as I understand it), and not to see if you are happy with your selection.

There's a grayer area though if the sommelier recommended the wine to you, and you taste it and do not like it. In that instance I think they will typically get you a bottle of something else.
 
I've returned a couple of bottles that were recommended to me. This was after telling the sommelier the style of wine we were looking for and he totally missed the mark. It was no big deal either time. The bottles were in the 50 dollar range.

Once I've okayed a wine I've never had the need to send one back. But... I don't let them rush me. I check the color, swirl the wine for a good 10-15 seconds, and smell the wine a few times before I swallow. I figure after all that once accepted it's on me:biggrin:. Of course if its a 20 dollar bottle of wine the process is much quicker!
 
Please, please, please tell me where you can get a $20 bottle of wine at a restaurant in our area :hungry: Seems like it's hard to find a dang glass of wine for under $10 these days, and bottles are starting in the mid-$30s.

More to the point though -- have you received a corked bottle at a restaurant? The one I mentioned above was definitely at the extreme; I'm not sure I can reliably identify one that is not that far gone though vs it just having a little more 'earthiness'.
 
More to the point though -- have you received a corked bottle at a restaurant? The one I mentioned above was definitely at the extreme; I'm not sure I can reliably identify one that is not that far gone though vs it just having a little more 'earthiness'.

this..i'm asking more about a bottle that is corked.

i once tasted a bottle at Kendall Jackson. a friend works there. i asked about this. the lady went back and brought a bottle she said was just turned. back to back, it was noticeable.

but i am more like WildB. i usually dont do the test-taste. i defer to my buds.
 
I once served a table a $1200 Bordeux and they left some for me to try. I thought they should have sent it back. It tasted like a $10 bottle to me, just totally dead. The guy was buying just to put his balls out on the table and when they left they looked happy.

Would you rather be the broke a$$ server who can tell the $1200 bottle is no good or the guy who can blow $1200 on a crappy bottle and be happy as a clam?
 
I've sent back bottles twice in my life. Once the wine was really obviously corked and the Som agreed and there was no drama at all.

The other time, the wine was kind of sent back for me: a buddy of mine was our server, she chose the wine poured it, I was underwhelmed, but didn't comment, two glasses in she asked how it was, I said 'ok I guess.'

Her response? 'Bull****! That wine's amazing, let me taste it!' The bottle was quickly replaced (and the replacement was amazing), and I got scolded for accepting rubbish - even if she recommended it.

There should never any drama with sending back wine as long as you're not a jerk about it.

If I'm unsure, sometimes I'll ask the wine guy "please taste this, is there a fault in this wine?" the Som will then register that you don't love it, and respect that you're being humble about it. If there's a fault it will get replaced, if it's meant to taste the way it does, you know not to order it again :)
 
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Never had amazing wine or good wine or bad wine. I've had some alcoholic grape juice and some pretentious alcoholic grape juice. I like the pretentious stuff because I enjoy being able to turn it into urine.
 
I am not very sensitive to the cork taste unless it is totally obvious. A friend of mine in Germany works in the wine business, and she sorts out many more bottles than I do... But I have returned bottles, and in some cases I also politely asked the wine guy to check my suspicion and try it himself, a bit of respect goes a long way there. More difficult are the ones affected by something without a dominant cork taste. So far I was very fortunate and have not identified a wine as 'corked' that came with a screw cap ;) BTW, as far as I am concerned, they could all have screw caps - I drink my wines rather younger than older, and I don't see any need for corks in those that are meant to be consumed young - and I prefer screw caps over plastic corks etc. But that's a different discussion.

Stefan
 
As far as i know of screw caps will age almost the same as corked. Most of the Australian industry is screw capped these days.

But that being said if the wine industry goes that way, where will we get our corks from?
 
I've been really lucky, and have never had to. I've sent back food, when there have been obvious, and unexpected, faults, and things have always been made right. I would expect wine to be treated the same way.
 
Years ago I used to collect wine and have bought and sold many, many cases. Hence it is unusual for me to pay premium process for fine wines in restaurants as I don't perceive the value in the mark up. Personally I rarely taste wine when offered in a restaurant, but I always release the bouquet and smell it. A wine that is off is immediately obvious in most cases. Bear in mind that I generally know what to expect as I tend to order wines I already know in restaurants and my tastes have narrowed over the years, hence few surprises.

Corked wines used to be much more common: defective cork letting the wine oxidise, poor storage, whatever. But modern production and bottling techniques, synthetic corks and screw caps etc all help, as does our tendency as consumers to drink much younger wines and these things have drastically reduced wines that are off or corked.

In 30 years of buying wines in restaurants I have only ever sent back four corked bottles. Two of them were LaTour on the same day where I expect the whole case was ruined. In all cases the sommelier also tasted and agreed. In fact with the LaTour he said "oh no" when he opened the second bottle and we agreed that maybe it would be a good idea to switch to my second choice, a Palmer.

I have had a few examples as a guest where wine has been accepted by the host but would have been questioned by me. I just kept quite and didn't drink it. Incidentally, I never actually sent wine back. I just ask the sommelier for his or her opinion. Discreetly. This always works.

Trained sommeliers know what they are doing and never make a fuss if the customer keeps it low key. These days, in the trade, as a proprietor, you do get a bit of prattish behaviour from a very few customers, and these are usually the ones who think they are tasting wine to see if they like it, or wanting to show off to fellow diners. Some restaurants allegedly have special techniques for dealing with such people.

These days in restaurants I tend to order off the lower end of the list, usually a youngish Rioja. In countless bottles I have never had one corked.
 
Not to mention, the restaurant will save the bottle and return it to the distributor for credit. So it's not an issue for the house.
 
Indeed. When I first starting working in the hotel business (5 star place in Rome) I was astonished how little wine stock they had. In many cases one or two bottles of the more expensive wines (many out of stock or just fantasy filling on the wine list) and it was not exactly kept in optimum conditions either. Stock was topped up pretty regularly by the merchants. Many fine dining establishments don't do this though, and keep quite a decent cellar. In which case they may well have aged wines themselves (for example Villa Feltrinelli in Italy (on Lake Garda) has a superb cellar).

The wine biz is a tricky one. Lets not go there.
 
If I'm unsure, sometimes I'll ask the wine guy "please taste this, is there a fault in this wine?" the Som will then register that you don't love it, and respect that you're being humble about it. If there's a fault it will get replaced, if it's meant to taste the way it does, you know not to order it again :)

sometimes the obvious answer is the best. this is a good way! thanks.
 
try decanting the wine first before sending it back. Some wine would need some time to aerate. But i've sent some wine back before. The restaurant doesn't take a lost. The wine sales rep would pick it up and claim it as damage or no good, which the restaurant would get credit for their loss bottle.
 
Had to return a few bottles over the years but since cork has all but gone it has become pretty rare. The last 3 of times has been failed screw caps (yes it does happen) and bottle shock. This was in a winery with a very young wine that had been very recently bottled. Basically it tasted very confused (for want of a better word) and out of balance. Wine maker tasted it, agreed and replaced it with a red face.
 
So far I was very fortunate and have not identified a wine as 'corked' that came with a screw cap ;)

Stefan

TCA is not restricted to korg. It can happen to screwcaps and glass or plastic corks, too
 
yes.... you can always ask the som to confirm, and they should oblige.
 
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