Dear Restaurant Guru,
I love wine, especially red wine. I rarely order a bottle because I like to try different wines. What should I do if I order a glass and it tastes funny, flat or sour? I am not picky but I drink enough wine to know when it’s not quite right.
Dear Glass Guzzler,
Let’s get you out of this sour situation. If you’re not digging the wine you’ve been served, and you believe the wine is ‘off’ in some way, do not be afraid to have a qualified conversation with your server. If his quick response is “We just opened it,” your response should be, “I do not doubt the bottle’s freshness, though I’m more concerned about the bottle’s integrity.”
Without being too geeky, wine is alive. It’s constantly changing and evolving or, in this case, devolving. A freshly opened bottle may be corked, stored incorrectly, past its prime, suffered heat damage or simply flawed by the winemaker. A $4 glass of Alabaman Malbec could simply just have been made improperly. But let’s hope you’re not drinking Malbec from Alabama. (Sorry ‘Bama – Roll Tide.)
But guess what? You’re allowed to send back wine! Flawed wine occurs roughly 8 to 10 percent of the time, so you’re going to run into a bad glass every now and then. Any wine distributor worth its salt will provide a restaurant credit or a replacement for a bad bottle. No one really loses; so don’t be afraid to speak up. As I’ve said before, you’re paying for it.
Host of the NC F&B Podcast.