Would you like to taste the wine….?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Given the rise and general acceptance of the screw cap, why are we still being asked to taste a wine when we’re out and about “if it’s not sealed with a cork doesn’t that mean it can’t be corked?” I was asked. Is the offer to taste a wine now just a ritual that is so embedded into our routine that to not be asked to taste the wine would above all else be rude? Or are we being asked to taste the wine to see if we like it? Could we reasonably return a wine that has been especially opened for us on our request just because it’s not quite what we fancied? Or are we all too scared of not knowing what it should have tasted like in the first place so nod-and-smile and drink it anyway?

In NYC recently a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against a wine store and its owner by a customer who bought a number of wines he “didn’t like”. This case doesn’t just highlight the raison d’etre of “would-you-like-to-taste-the-wine-sir?” but in the rise of internet wine sales makes me wonder where we stand on returning a bottle of wine that has been opened, partially consumed but not enjoyed. It’s not like a jumper from M&S that you can throw back in the plastic bag it arrived in and pop in the post box.

The trouble is I don’t have the answers, so I wondered if you do? In the mean time though here’s a wine bought online, that I’d challenge anyone to find a reason to return.

Le Versant Pinot Noir 2012, Vin de Pays d’Oc, France, £9.49 from www.finewinesdirectuk.com If you have one of those friends that doesn’t drink red then tempt them away from the white with this. I drank it with one such friend who was not only surprised by how much they liked it but also by the price. “Decent red wines are too expensive”. Well this one comes in under a tenner. It’s smoky, earthy and herbal with sweet spices, black and red fruit flavours and a long, smooth, vanillary finish. It won’t just please the white wine drinkers, it’ll please the Pinot Noir lovers too. Not easy. And you’ll be employing the nod-and-smile for all the right reasons.


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