Food - Drink
This Is The Only Time You Should Return Wine At A Restaurant
By CHLOÉ ASTOR
ST. CLAIR
Ordering wine at a restaurant can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. A good sommelier will help you pick a good wine, open your bottle, and pour you a sample. You’ve got your wine, now what do you do?
Contrary to what many people think, when sampling a wine, you’re looking for faults, not assessing based on your personal preference. There are seven major wine faults to look for when sampling a wine, including cork taint, Brettannomyces, oxidation, volatile acidity, and lightstrike, which you can learn to identify with just a bit of practice.
The first step is to look at your wine; some wines are cloudy by nature, older wines will have sediment, and sometimes there are bits of cork. These are not necessarily signs of a bad wine, and shouldn’t cause worry on their own.
Swirl and smell the wine to identify any potential faults. If your wine smells musty like a wet dog, it likely has cork taint, and if it smells like a barnyard, it might have Brettanomyces. Wines affected by lightstrike often smell like vinegar or cooked cabbage, and if your wine smells like nail polish remover, it has volatile acidity.
If you’ve identified a potential fault in your wine, inform your sommelier, who will smell and taste the wine and likely replace the bottle, even if they don’t agree. Most importantly, don’t send back a bottle that is not flawed – it’s considered bad wine etiquette.