Is it okay to refuse to pay for a bottle of wine after tasting it in a restaurant?
The purpose of the ceremony of the waiter opening a bottle of wine and pouring a bit into your glass is not for you to taste the wine. You are intended to swirl it in the glass to mix it with some air, and then smell—not taste the wine.
The purpose is to determine whether the wine is “corked.” Whether the cork has failed to do its job of keeping the wine isolated from the outside atmosphere during the years it has been stored. There’s a reason wine is stored on its side in the bottle. That keeps the cork saturated, and that in turn keeps the bottle sealed. If a bottle of wine has been improperly stored, by standing upright for months or years, for instance, the cork can dry out and fail—cease to maintain an airtight seal. And when the outside atmosphere enters, the wine spoils. It sours. Goes rotten. Or perhaps it has some other fault, like being “lightstruck”—spoiled by being exposed to bright light.
Wine that is “off” can almost always be identified immediately by smelling it. You do not need to taste it and you shouldn't. The etiquette, the best practice, is to swirl, smell, and if the wine is not “off” you nod to the waiter, who then pours the wine for you and your guests.
In a very fine restaurant, where there is a wine steward or sommelier, that person will open the bottle at your table, inspect the cork, pour a bit of the wine into their tastevin—the little shallow silver cup they wear on a chain around their neck, and if it should happen that the wine is bad, the sommelier will know this without having to pour you a sample. They will say something like “I’m sorry, this bottle is off. If you will excuse me I’ll get another bottle for you.”
But in an ordinary restaurant where your server opens and pours the little sample for you—then presents the cork for you to inspect—you should swirl and sniff, and if the wine is corked you will know immediately by the smell. Tasting is not necessary. Inspecting the cork is a backup method. A corked wine will have a dried-out or cracked cork, or you may be able to see that the cork has failed in some other way. Attacked by fungus. Bored out by insects. Who knows? It's an uncertain world, for wine just as much as for people.
In this case you reject the bottle diplomatically, saying something like “it has spoiled” or “it has gone bad.” And your server will take it away and bring you something different.
“Wine tasting” means something different, and entirely more joyful. It's a party for you and your wine drinking friends. Maybe at the winery. Maybe at home where you can fall down on something soft, if necessary.
This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.
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