NY Times article on the etiquette of Sommelier tasting [General]

2010 Jul 7

Thought it was an interesting read. I have not had many sommeliers taste wine at restaurants. But I have never had a problem with it.

In France, we were at a Michelin 3 star and I was talking with the sommelier about how much I liked the white wine we were drinking. In the best pretentious, but still friendly tone, he responded "It is a little young for me, but it is quite nice." The kicker was that it was a ten year old white wine! I laugh every time I think about it. He definitely sampled, and did not spit out. My wife and I joke that he is probably sloshed every night!


2010 Jul 7
Thanks for the link: that was a fun read!

I can empathize with the discomfort around knowing that some dude may be back there drinking your wine. At the same time, though, I can see restaurants wanting to give the best service to people, and if pre-testing the wine for faults is the way they want to do it, so be it.

A lot of people are really intimidated by the whole wine scene, and even people who are knowledgeable in wine are often reluctant to send a wine back due to faults. They don't want to be seen as the rude, I-think-I-know-better customer, after all all. Having a sommelier try it out beforehand provides a bit of insurance against faults, at the very least.

(That won't provide any insurance against people who just plain don't like the wine, but that's another discussion for another day.)

That having been said, I would not exactly be comfortable with my wine being sampled more than just the most cursory of sips. Like a tablespoon or two tops. I paid for that wine, and you're darn right that I want to drink as much of it as possible ;)