Last night I went out with a few friends for cocktails at a restaurant/cocktail lounge. My friends ordered cocktails, and I decided on a glass of Cotes-du-Rhone.
When the waitress returned I was handed a very large pour of wine which was definitely (okay I'm 99% sure) not a Cotes-du-Rhone. What came out was what tasted like a very heavily oaked California wine possibly Merlot or Syrah. The mouthfeel, oak, and really strong fruit-bomb flavor really gave it away. I drink a lot of French wines and a lot of Cotes-du-Rhones (along with Beaujolais-Villages, they are our weeknight wines). I would never assume I could judge a wine blind and I can't be sure what this was, but it definitely didn't seem like a CdR. This felt like the difference between ordering a German Riesling and getting a California Oaky Chardonnay; it was a dramatic difference. Which brings me to my question.
Has this ever happened to you and did you speak up knowing there's no way to "prove" that you were served something different? I have been to restaurants with good wine programs who bring out the bottle when they pour a glass of wine, but would you speak up in this situation (despite the fact that most studies show it's very difficult to blindly identify varietals)? Do restaurants sometimes pour an open bottle thinking that most patrons won't be able to tell the difference?
For me, it turned me off from the restaurant but at the same time it's possible I was wrong. Thoughts?