Seating at a Restaurant

The waiter walks up to you holding the bottle you just picked out of the line-up. You weren’t a hundred percent sure it was the one, but you made a firm decision! The rest of the table smiles, glad they didn’t have to be in your seat.

Excitement begins to bellow in your depths as you realize your lips are drier than you had imagined. You even unconsciously drop out of the conversation in anticipation. You watch her as she gingerly walks around to where you are seated and broadcasts the bottle to you. Doing the due diligence, you make sure it reads exactly like its description said, knowing if it is not the same vintage you can ask for an explanation or change. Actually as the wine is not open, you are more than welcome to have pre-buyer’s remorse and ask for a different bottle altogether. It’s your money; it’s your experience.

Also, you ensure the wine has not been opened away from your sights as you can’t guarantee something else hasn’t been replaced in the bottle.

Satisfied that everything checks out, you ask her to open it for you. At this point the entire table is focused on you, waiting to give their judgment on your selection. A small voice in your head laughs and says “If it’s a terrible bottle, at least I have this company to help me finish it!” To them, your smile reeks of self-confidence in your choice. 😛

Now she pulls out the cork and places it beside you. If she doesn’t, feel free to ask for it. You check to make sure the cork is in fact wet; otherwise if it has dried out the wine was probably not stored correctly and has, as a result, let air in (Note: synthetic corks don’t moisten like natural ones would). You further smell it. You don’t always do this, however the urge has hit you today. Not only does it whet your appetite, but if it smells “funky” you can guarantee the wine will too.

She pours a tasting potion. This is the important part; you are not just going through the motions. You are taxed with ensuring the bottle is fit for your guests and your consumption. Looking at the wine you check for any milky suspensions. If there is, the wine has a protein instability; and just between the two of us, I am not in the habit of putting unstable substances in my mouth.

You are swirling the glass intently, before sticking your nose in. You are first and foremost engaged in a type of forensic tasting in which you are searching for faults that will deduct from the hedonic (relating to the amount of pleasure) experience. Primarily you search for cork taint that is either caused by TCA (Trichloroanisole) or TBA (Tribromoanisole) found in the cork, wooden barrels or the winery environment. You detect it through a wet cardboard, wet dog or mouldy aroma that also dulls the fruit of the wine. If not this, next you check if it is oxidized. This occurs when the wine has had too much contact with oxygen, like a wine that has been opened for over a week. In these three instances, you are obliged to ask the waiter to return the bottle of wine and replace it with a similar one or an alternative bottle of your choice at no extra cost (naturally if the alternative bottle you order costs more that will be the price you shall pay).

Left on the Table
Left on the Table

Equally as important, you analyse the temperature of the wine. Both red and whites should not be too cold or too warm. To correct for this, the bottle could either be left on the table or placed in an ice bucket.

Now you get to the organoleptic (involving the senses… no, I don’t ordinarily talk this way) sensations for your own personal enjoyment. You decide for yourself whether the wine does it for you or not, noting that you can be over critical on the wine considering your “podium”. If you did happened to select a crappy bottle, tough luck. You should not try to send it back. Possibly wait a little before turning it into the evening farce and have you guests try it first, you know one man’s rubbish… 😀


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