I’m not one to make a fuss but this was bad. That said, the beautiful thing about wine is that myriad styles can produce different scents and flavours ranging from floral to fruity to earthy and leathery. These are elements that may be pleasing, or not, depending on one’s own personal taste. For instance, I might like my reds to taste a little like mushrooms and wet leaves and molasses; you might enjoy one more jammy with a toasty-chocolatey vibe. And that’s okay. That’s what we love.
In the WSET course, we learned about what scents can be expected from good wines but also how to determine if there are faults ~ primarily whether a wine is corked. Cork taint in wine happens when naturally occurring fungus in the cork comes into contact with chlorides in bleach and other components used in winery sterilization. This creates the chemical compound TCA (2,4,6 – trichloranisole) and it can affect not only the bottle but the entire winery. It’s a main reason why most wineries no longer use chlorine based products for sanitation. What does it taste like? Imagine chewing on a piece of wet, moldy cardboard. And while it poses no health threat if you drink corked wine, I can’t imagine why you’d want to. Blech.
So I did something I never do in a restaurant. I sent it back. It took a bit of deliberation because I used to think it was really officious of someone to send back a bottle; I mean who do they think they are?? And I think if you do it politely (as we did), it makes it easier for everyone. When you buy premium wine by the bottle, you should get what you’re paying for. It also helps make the restaurant aware of any problems with the wine they stock.
So the next time you’re dining out and find what’s in your glass is smelling like soggy cardboard, don’t be afraid. Send it back. You’re paying a lot for that vintage ~ it really should be good to the last drop.