Whenever I get wine in a restaurant, which I hope to get to do again within a year, when it's presented, I only smell it, I don't taste it. My thinking is unless it's off it was my decision and I should know what to expect. If the wine is not flawed, I should drink it, or at least pay for it, without complaint. You?
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What do you mean? Sometimes the wine offers no nose, you'd have to taste it to see if it's flawed?
Unless the wine is flawed, I pay for and drink it unless it was recommended by the somm, in which case I will refuse the bottle if I don’t like it. I think that is an essential element of the somm making a recommendation.
Generally I’m comfortable enough telling if it’s corked/flawed just my smelling it. I did refuse one this summer at a restaurant for being corked, and it was replaced with no hassle.
The only time I can recall sending wine back was when we were eating with about 6 or 8 others at a generally ordinarily place. A bottle of red and a bottle of white were ordered. Non descript stuff. The white was opened and poured at the other end of the table, about 5 feet from me. It came out and was brownish, like it was totally vinegar. Before anyone tasted it, just from the look of it, I knew it was bad, and so I told the waitress to get rid of it.
I always smell a wine first and then taste. Low levels of TCA can be difficult to detect by smell with certainty (at least for me) but not on the palate.