Wine 14

Corked Wine At An Event

Bill Hunt | Jun 10, 2008 07:30 PM

Not sure if this just did not post, or was deleted by the MODs, but it has not appeared, or disappeared without notice. I'll try again, and see where the problem lies. Usually, if something is considered off-topic, CH will notify me, via e-mail. If it is against the policy, I'll get notified too. If it's more appropriate elsewhere, either a "lock" on the post will appear, and/or a note as to where it was deemed more appropriate. With the problems with the CH server, I assume that it just never made it up, so here goes.

We had an interesting experience last night. We were attending an “event,” at a local resort – one with a very nice restaurant, complete with a very good wine list. That restaurant features a series of “wine-maker dinners,” throughout the year, and takes pride in doing so. The event was a non-hosted bar, prior to the dinner and the awards, etc.

I inquired about the Chardonnay, being poured, and was told that it was XXXX (without presenting the bottle). OK, it was their “house Chard,” and at US$9/3oz pour, not much of a deal. Still, I asked for two glasses, paid and tipped well.

As I handed my wife’s wine to her, I got a whiff of TCA. I checked my glass, and confirmed it. My wife handed back her glass with a whispered, “it’s corked!”

I returned to the bar, and quietly told the bartender that they were corked, and that the bottle should be taken out of service.

“That’s impossible, ‘cause they came from two different bottles,” he responded. “Fine, then you need to take TWO bottles out of service.” “No one else has complained,” he countered. “That does not indicate that the wine is not corked. Try it yourself,” I countered.

It did not help that the wine was ~ 40̊F and that the little glasses were filled to the brim, but it was unmistakable, that they were corked. He didn’t bother to even get close to them, and put them on a sideboard.

“Here, this is a new bottle,” as he poured two more glasses. Both were also corked. I can only assume that he’d just poured from the “second” bottle (if there really were two bottles used for the first two glasses). Both were corked, as should be expected. I returned these, as well. Both were placed on the sideboard too.

He opened a new bottle in front of me, and poured a glass for my wife, that I delivered to her, just a few steps away. When I returned, my glass was waiting for me. Hell, it was corked. The bartender had either mixed up his bottles, or had deliberately poured from the known corked bottle. I returned it, and said that I gave up. I ordered a glass of Ravenswood Zin and left the bar. In a few minutes, I looked back, only to see the four glasses of corked Chards were gone. I saw several ladies near the bar with glasses of Chardonnay, and felt that the bartender had re-sold our returned wines. Either that, or a bus-person had whisked them away, but I saw no one, except for the bartender, several patrons and the person taking money, at a table near-by. I also think that he was still pouring from the bottles, that were definitely corked.

What gets me, is that any good distributor will replace corked wines, especially for a resort of this size and level, considering the quantity of this one wine they buy. It is not a big deal! It also made me worry, that he’d possibly sold wines that had already been sipped from (in the case of two of the glasses).

This was a bartender at a function, and not a sommelier, or trained server in a wine-friendly restaurant, but it was one of most disgusting situations that I have been part of. Maybe next time, I need to proclaim to the whole room, that the Chard is CORKED!

Guess which restaurant we will probably not spend much time at, if this is an indication of the resort’s current wine program. I’ll also make my choices known, regarding to upcoming events.


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