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Wine by the glass not what was ordered, thoughts?

k
Klunco Oct 4, 2011 08:45 AM

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?

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  1. JAB Oct 4, 2011 08:54 AM

    I had a very similar situation and did bring it to the server's attention however, they insisted that they had it right and offered to show me the bottle but, I declined at that point not wanting to cause that much of a scene but, still don't believe that I received what I had ordered.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JAB
      ChefJune Oct 4, 2011 10:26 AM

      The server could have shown you a bottle of what you ordered, and that still wouldn't mean it was what had been poured in your glass.

      I would definitely question it when I think I've been incorrectly served, and I wouldn't return to a restaurant whose servers refuted me. I think the only solution to that problem -- IF they know they are right -- is to say something like We;re sorry you're not pleased. I'll bring the bottle over to your table and pour you a fresh glass." and then do that.

      1. re: ChefJune
        Bill Hunt Oct 6, 2011 08:37 PM

        You are correct ChefJune, but then a glass from THAT bottle would tell a tale. When asking for that, even when I offer to pay for the additional glass, the restaurants have almost always refused. My recent experience found the server agreeing that the wines were NOT the same, but the bartender refused to compare, and insisted that she'd gotten things correct, and we were all wrong.

        Hunt

    2. b
      budnball Oct 4, 2011 09:06 AM

      I had a situation a few years ago when I ordered wine flight of Ca. pinots. 2 of the 3 glasses tasted exactly the same. when I questioned the server, he insisted that I had received 3 different wines. Not feeling sure of my tasting skills and a bit reluctant to cause a scene, I let it go and never returned to that restaurant again. I think I would be more assertive and ask for another pour in front of me.

      1. momskitchen Oct 4, 2011 09:15 AM

        I'm no wine snob but a CdR is made of grenache grapes which are my favorite, very fruity, or as you might call it "fruit bomb" That's what I like about them. Some can be tannic which you might consider "oak". And some have syrah grapes in them. Like I said, I am no wine snob but I know what I like.

        5 Replies
        1. re: momskitchen
          k
          Klunco Oct 4, 2011 09:48 AM

          Cotes-du-Rhone red wines can be made with 21 different grape varieties. Many are made with Grenache but few are 100% Grenache. Only tiny producers are allowed to make 100% Grenache wines. North of Montélimar, 100% Mourvèdre and Syrah wines exist. All that said, most CdR are blends. I agree with you that 100% Grenache wines can be fruitier than a blend and that they also tend to have a chewier mouthfeel; that said 100% Grenache wines are definitely the exception to the rule and the bottle listed was not 100% Grenache.

          Everyone's tastes are different, but to my tastes, I would say that a run of the mill CdR is middle of the road in terms of fruityness. I don't consider them "fruit bombs." I reserve that term for wines that taste very strongly of fruit and not much else; wines that aren't balanced. I tend to associate that term with warmer climates, ripe fruit, and high alcohol (ie. some producers in California or Australia). CdR's I would also consider medium bodied. This wine was very heavy in terms of body.

          Tannin and oak are two distinct things. I used the term oak in this case because the wine had a very strong Vanilla flavor (generally associated with American oak) as well as a fruity sweetness (granted that could be oak, could be alcohol content, could be ripeness of fruit). Tannin is different than oak, and this wine didn't have strong tannins.

          1. re: Klunco
            momskitchen Oct 5, 2011 07:54 AM

            Everyone's got their own terminology, I guess! I have found lots of people that use the term "oak" when they really mean "tannin". Like I said, I'm no wine snob, but I know what I like. And if you don't like what you got, by all means ask to see the bottle and taste it to check! I would....

            1. re: momskitchen
              s
              sleepercar Oct 9, 2011 08:01 PM

              Not to be a troll, but are you implying that someone who is knowledgeable enough to ascertain the difference between tannins and oak-imparted flavors a "snob"?

              1. re: sleepercar
                Bill Hunt Oct 10, 2011 08:23 PM

                Personally, I refer to them as a "wino."

                Hunt

          2. re: momskitchen
            z
            zin1953 Oct 5, 2011 07:20 PM

            There are certainly "New World" styled Côtes-du-Rhône reds that can indeed be described as "fruit bombs." There are a great many, however, where "fruit bomb" would be the *last* two words that would come to mind. The same can be said for levels of oak -- some may have loads of new oak and vanillin; a great many will have low levels of oak or none whatsoever.

            Without knowing the producer and -- as Brad alluded to -- the importer, we may never know in which style this particular CdR was produced . . . .

          3. m
            Maximilien Oct 4, 2011 09:22 AM

            If you are not certain, ask them to show you the bottle when serving the wine.

            I've never been fussy about that since most of the places where I order wine by the glass always show me the bottle before pouring new wine.

            At other places where I know they will not do that, I order beer or something else (mixed drink, ... )

            1. b
              Brad Ballinger Oct 4, 2011 10:49 AM

              Next time ask the server to pour you a small taste at your table from the actual bottle. Then compare your two glasses side by side.

              But, as a couple of people have mentioned, CdR can be an amalagmation of anything. And they can vary in terms of oak treatment. Didn't happen to be a Robert Kacher wine, did it? :o)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brad Ballinger
                z
                zin1953 Oct 5, 2011 07:16 PM

                Naughty, naughty . . .

                ;^)

              2. z
                zin1953 Oct 5, 2011 07:33 PM

                >>> Has this ever happened to you and did you speak up knowing there's no way to "prove" that you were served something different? <<<

                Sure.

                >>> 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)? <<<

                Of course!

                >>> Do restaurants sometimes pour an open bottle thinking that most patrons won't be able to tell the difference? <<<

                In short, the answer is "No." Not unless they wish to be sued for Fraud with a capital "F." Now then, has there ever been some bartender/wait person in the history of the world who grabbed the wrong bottle, poured the wrong wine, and either refused to acknowledge the mistake or never realized they made a mistake in the first place? Oh, I'm sure that's happened from time to time, but I sincerely doubt there's a Giant Conspiracy behind it.

                >>> For me, it turned me off from the restaurant but at the same time it's possible I was wrong. Thoughts? <<<

                As I said elsewhere, without knowing the specific producer (and, perhaps, the importer), it's impossible to know for sure, but what you are describing sounds (to me) *exactly* like a Côtes-du-Rhône rouge produced in the "New World" (aka "fruit bomb") style. So, one thought I have is that -- yes! -- it's definitely possible you could be wrong.

                Of course it's also distinctly possible you *were* served the wrong wine by mistake. It's impossible to know.

                You don't say (unless I missed it somewhere) what YOU did . . .

                -- DID you say something to someone, in an attempt to verify exactly what the wine was that you were served?
                -- If so, what did the restaurant say/do?

                If you did and/or said*nothing* then I have to ask: What, exactly, "turned [you] of from the restaurant"?

                Cheers,
                Jason

                2 Replies
                1. re: zin1953
                  Bill Hunt Oct 6, 2011 08:44 PM

                  Jason,

                  "but I sincerely doubt there's a Giant Conspiracy behind it."

                  How do you then explain those black helicopters overhead at the restaurant... ? [Grin]

                  I think that what many have encountered are the "honest mistakes," but then, I have encountered some, shall we say "odd" instances, where I almost felt that a law suit might be warranted. In a few, I had a strong suspicion that it was a common practice with those restaurants, but those were only suspicions on my part. Mostly, wrong bottle, and most have 'fessed up, when confronted. Others have stood steadfast, even when the servers have agreed with me.

                  Hunt

                  1. re: zin1953
                    k
                    Klunco Oct 7, 2011 08:26 AM

                    Sorry, I should've clarified what turned me off from the restaurant. I mentioned to the waitress that it was different from what I was expecting and asked if she was sure this was the CdR. She flatly said, "Yes" and walked away. It was clear she wasn't interested in whether it was or wasn't.

                    I didn't think about asking for the bottle or for it to be poured in a separate glass in front of me and it's tough to say if I was in the same situation again if I would. I feel that if it was a more expensive glass of wine or a more serious occasion I would, but at a simple bar like this I didn't want to cause a scene (that and obviously I can't be 100% sure of my tasting skills on such a varied region of wine).

                    I had no idea there was a good chunk of CdR wines being made in the "New World" style. Quel malheur! It's disappointing to me when the choices for a glass of red are a California Cab, Argentine Malbec, Australian Shiraz, and a Cotes-du-Rhone and then the CdR is made in the new-world style.

                    I'm not expecting to be back to the place anytime soon (it's not convenient to me) but if I do, I will definitely write down the name of the bottle and the importer.

                    I appreciate hearing everyones experiences and opinions on this matter.

                  2. Bill Hunt Oct 6, 2011 08:34 PM

                    This has happened to me several times, and once just this week.

                    I usually express my concern, and ask to see the bottle. It is usually at this point, that a confession is forth-coming, such as, "OK, we were out of the 1955 Taylor-Fladgate VP, so we substituted the Dow's 1998 LBV. Sorry." It is at this point, that I ask how my bill will be adjusted, and am adamant that it will be adjusted. Had similar at a restaurant in Denver, where I had ordered a Taylor-Fladgate 40 Year Tawny, only to be served either a Ruby, or an LBV. When I asked to see the bottle, one could not be produced. I asked what this wine was, and after much consultation, was informed that it was "a special cuvée, done only for us by Taylor-Fladgate." Yeah, right. The beverage manager (no sommelier) insisted that this was "as good as the Taylor-Fladgate 40 Year Tawny," and insisted that I pay the US $40 per glass. I contacted the management, but never received an answer. I do not believe that that restaurant is still in business now, and perhaps this was one reason why.

                    Recently, my wife ordered a Cal-Chard, and got an SB. I asked to see the bottle, and it WAS a Cal-Chard, but the wine was different. Even the server could tell the difference. I asked what the bartender had actually poured, and the message that it was from THAT bottle. I asked that the bartender taste both the wine in my wife's glass, and a glass from that bottle, and look me in the eye, and tell me that it was the same wine. The bartender declined, and the wine was comped.

                    I would like to think that most of these incidents are just mistakes - grabbing and pouring from the wrong bottle, but in some cases, it does seem to be some restaurants just assume that the patron will never know the difference, and just pay the tab. That, however, is pure speculation on my part, but is based on how some have behaved, when questioned.

                    I have also been turned off from several restaurants, where I have encountered such "mix-ups."

                    Hunt

                    1. c
                      Clarkafella Oct 6, 2011 09:11 PM

                      Often my wife and I will get a glass or two of wine with dinner, but usually just go with the "house" stuff. One night we were grabbing dinner at some steak place like Outback (I think it was called "Longhorn" or something like that), and my wife ordered the Cavitt Pinot Grigio. I don't know what kind of wine the waitress brought to the table, but it was red. And as we had a bottle of Cavitt PG in our refrigerator, we knew for sure that it was supposed to be white!

                      The waitress wouldn't hear of it though- she insisted that she "drank it all the time" and it was supposed to be red. We argued a bit until finally she agreed to bring us something else- but on her way back to the bar we saw her stop to talk with several other employees and by her gestures I'm pretty sure that she was telling them what cretins she was having to deal with in her section.

                      1. sunshine842 Oct 7, 2011 08:51 AM

                        I absolutely would have sent it back. If you'd ordered a Mercedes and you got a Toyota you'd send it back, right? Doesn't matter that the Toyota is a decent car...it's not what you ordered.

                        As a fan of CdR and a rather firm NON fan of California oaky reds, I'm not surprised at all that you could taste the difference.

                        and @Jason, I've eaten at a number of restaurants across the country (that I would bet at least a little of my lunch money on) pour the cheap stuff, charge whatever the full price was, then claim "oh, I'm so sorry, we brought you someone else's glass" on the rare occasion that they get called on it. Nobody can prove that they are deliberately making the cheap pour...and the payoff is substantial. Explaining WHY you're returning a glass that's too full is sometimes a real challenge.

                        I've sent back many glasses of wine where the glass was filled to the brim (a balloon? To the rim?) -- and many more where it was obviously a bottle left over from last weekend, and it's been hanging out in the refrigerator all week -- it's thick from evaporation and completely oxidized. *That* is rarely a problem to get replaced...most of the time they'll admit immediately that yeah, it's an old bottle, and will open a new one for me.

                        (hey...salespeople these days rarely get to eat in places that are expensive enough to respect the wine...)

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: sunshine842
                          z
                          zin1953 Oct 7, 2011 09:29 AM

                          Random thoughts . . .

                          >>> I absolutely would have sent it back. If you'd ordered a Mercedes and you got a Toyota you'd send it back, right? Doesn't matter that the Toyota is a decent car...it's not what you ordered. <<<

                          Doesn't this presume that you KNOW it's a Toyota?

                          >>> As a fan of CdR and a rather firm NON fan of California oaky reds, I'm not surprised at all that you could taste the difference. <<<

                          I can pour you numerous CdR reds that I guarantee you would think were Californian in orogin -- or worse, Australian!

                          >>> and @Jason, I've eaten at a number of restaurants across the country (that I would bet at least a little of my lunch money on) pour the cheap stuff, charge whatever the full price was, then claim "oh, I'm so sorry, we brought you someone else's glass" on the rare occasion that they get called on it. Nobody can prove that they are deliberately making the cheap pour...and the payoff is substantial. <<<

                          a) We obviously go to different restaurants; b) it's an EASY thing to prove.

                          >>> Explaining WHY you're returning a glass that's too full is sometimes a real challenge. <<<

                          Well, beside the fact that I'm not sure I'd return a glass that was too full -- though if it really was "to the brim," I might ask for a second, empty glass (again, it seems you and I go to very different restaurants -- I have NEVER had a glass filled that full) -- it seems to me to be an easy explanation . . .

                          >>> I've sent back many glasses of wine where the glass was filled to the brim (a balloon? To the rim?) . . . <<<

                          See above.

                          >>> -- and many more where it was obviously a bottle left over from last weekend, and it's been hanging out in the refrigerator all week -- it's thick from evaporation and completely oxidized. *That* is rarely a problem to get replaced...most of the time they'll admit immediately that yeah, it's an old bottle, and will open a new one for me. <<<

                          Exactly.

                          Cheers,
                          Jason

                          1. re: zin1953
                            sunshine842 Oct 7, 2011 10:13 AM

                            Note the comment about salespeople...there was a day when we got to eat in nice places with nice wine lists...nowadays, not so much...and when you're in a small town, sometimes finding the place that even HAS wine can be a challenge...so they honestly have no idea that you're not supposed to fill the glass to the rim...or why it's a bad thing.

                            And a lot of times you end up going where the client wants to go...which may or may not preclude a decent wine experience.

                            If you've ever tried to drink out of an overfilled balloon, it's actually more of a problem than letting the wine breathe or concentrating the aromas...it's all but impossible to accomplish!

                            1. re: sunshine842
                              Bill Hunt Oct 7, 2011 09:02 PM

                              Yes, the over-fill can be an issue. I seldom encounter this with wine B-T-G, but too often at client dinners. When I see such, I pull the server far aside, and explain what a pour should be. In a few instances, I had the feeling that the restaurant (through the server) was trying to sell more bottles for my table.

                              OTOH, I have been with too many folk, who get a nice stem, with an appropriate pour for that stem, who complain that they "ordered a glass of wine," and think that it SHOULD be full to the rim. Their bad.

                              This is one reason that I personally like the little carafes, served with the glass. In nearly all cases, I ask for a light pour from that carafe, and handle the additional pours myself. No issues there. Some servers look askance, when I ask that the full carafe NOT be poured into my glass initially, but I can easily live with that.

                              Cannot recall sending a glass back for an "over-pour," but when I encounter such, I handle it, as above - quiet conversation, with a full reason why this is not the way that I want it to be. Never had a real issue.

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                Veggo Oct 7, 2011 09:11 PM

                                Hunt, in my lifetime (so far), 99% of "honest" mistakes inure to the benefit ......of the perpetrator.

                                1. re: Veggo
                                  ipsedixit Oct 7, 2011 09:15 PM

                                  What percentage for "dishonest" mistakes?

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    Veggo Oct 7, 2011 09:21 PM

                                    tautological, 100

                                  2. re: Veggo
                                    Bill Hunt Oct 7, 2011 09:25 PM

                                    I'd wager that I have only had about four instances, where I felt that something nefarious was afoot. Most are just grabbing the wrong bottles, though even some of those have yielded "cover-ups." In the few cases, I did feel that the restaurant (or their staff?) was trying to "put one over on me," and I do not abide by that.

                                    Like a friend of mine, who would take the wrappers from my Cuban Cohibas, and later place them on different cigars, which were offered to his guests. "Wow, I did not know that Cuban Cohibas came in vanilla flavor... " "Yeah, that's something new!" Right.

                                    Still, it pays to have a great memory for flavor profiles, and some places are betting that one does not.

                                    While I am certain that I have missed some, where I ordered B-T-G wine X, and got Y, which was a few $ less, but also from the Alexander Valley, there have been a few, that were not even close.

                                    Going back in time, switching was a reason that many vintners put their mark and the vintage on their corks. It WAS a common practice to offer bottles of lesser vintages, or from lesser producers, so the corks became a way to tell - at least a little bit.

                                    Jason makes a good point (up TO a point), on fraud, with the wines. However, how likely am I to fly to SFO, to try to prosecute a restaurant there, that served me the wrong wine? Even if we're in SF 2x to 3x per month, am I going to sit in court for a "small claims" trial? No, not that likely.

                                    Still, I like to think that when I get wine Y, but ordered wine X, their was a simple mistake. We all can make 'em, so I cut the staff a bit of slack, after I ask to see and sample the bottle... [Grin]

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                      Veggo Oct 7, 2011 09:33 PM

                                      Essentially, we choose who we trust, and our judgment is a part of the blame or credit for the result.

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        Bill Hunt Oct 8, 2011 07:34 PM

                                        Veggo,

                                        I trust you.

                                        Hunt

                                      2. re: Bill Hunt
                                        z
                                        zin1953 Oct 8, 2011 09:11 AM

                                        FWIW, I wasn't thinking of small claims . . . I was thinking organized, deliberate, intentional fraud and criminal prosecution. A small claims case would never result in any monetary reward.

                                        OTOH, I've seen far too many people want to sue retailers for accidentally leaving up the (now wrong) point-of-sale signage when there's a vintage change . . . .

                                        (I'd laugh, but people are far too litigious.)

                                        1. re: zin1953
                                          Bill Hunt Oct 8, 2011 07:58 PM

                                          Got you. I suppose that much would depend on how busy the AG was, at that time, and how it might impact on their political career.

                                          Let's take one cited incident. We were dining at a highly-vaunted restaurant in Orlando, FL. I had ordered a glass of the Taylor-Fladgate '70 VP at ~ US $ 35/glass. I knew that wine well, and had just served it at a Port Tasting at my home. The wine was not the Taylor '70, and I questioned it. The first report was that it WAS the Taylor '70, and I asked to see the bottle. The server came back, for the second time, and informed me that it was actually a Taylor LBV (do not recall the year), and that it was just the same. I explained that it was anything BUT the same, and then asked how my bill would be adjusted down for this "mistake." It was, so all was OK for me, but I would *guess* that others had paid the higher rate for the same wine, which was NOT what was on the menu. Now, let's say that I contacted the FL AG, and reported the issue. What do you suppose would have been done? Unless the AG was running for political office on a "crack down on fraudulent wine service," I would guess - nothing. After all, in the end, they did make it up to me, but I had to call them on it twice. Mistake? Could be, but then why insist that what I got, was what I had ordered? Though I came out OK, what about others? Should I care about them? Should the FL AG care about them, if they had not received many complaints on that restaurant, which was a bastion of the community?

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: Bill Hunt
                                            Veggo Oct 8, 2011 08:03 PM

                                            Bill, Florida has a more prevalent and pernicious issue with inferior fish being served as grouper, about 32% of the time, and nothing happens. Year after year.

                                            Recall my 99% rule above: have you ever heard of anyone accidentally being served Chilean sea bass, when they ordered tilapia? Doubtful.
                                            Incoming black helicopter! Duck!

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                              z
                                              zin1953 Oct 9, 2011 08:48 AM

                                              The AG? No.

                                              The ABC? Yes.

                              2. c
                                caviar_and_chitlins Oct 8, 2011 09:23 AM

                                I have a kind of ammended question to this one, that touches on a peeve of mine, and it's the way wine is kept/stored at a restaurant.

                                The beer is kept cold and under pressure, but 99% of the time, wine is opened, and has the cork shoved back in the bottle and left indefinitely (presumably) until it is emptied.

                                Could this practice have altered the wine enough in the OP's example? Here at home, we often leave about 1/2 glass in the bottle, replace the cork, and see how that wine fares with overenight sitting. Our unscientific finding are that some wines are greatly dimished, some not much, and occasionally, there's an improvement. Almost universally, however, French reds, including CdR, do not fare well.

                                What do you think, oenophiles? Could it have been CdR, but tasted "off" because of the wide grape variations (as discussed) or could it have just been yesterday's bottle?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: caviar_and_chitlins
                                  z
                                  zin1953 Oct 8, 2011 09:43 AM

                                  >>> I have a kind of ammended question to this one, that touches on a peeve of mine, and it's the way wine is kept/stored at a restaurant. <<<

                                  Always a concern.

                                  >>> The beer is kept cold and under pressure, but 99% of the time, wine is opened, and has the cork shoved back in the bottle and left indefinitely (presumably) until it is emptied. <<<

                                  "That assumes facts not in evidence," as my wife would say, and varies widely depending upon the establishment. The *worst* wine storage is what you are describing, and I've never worked in a place like that.

                                  The worst place I ever worked did indeed replace the cork back into the bottle until one of two things happened: a) the bottle was emptied; or b) the establishment closed for the evening. BUT, then we would either pour out the rest of the bottle (if just about empty anyway), or else top off the bottle with argon for overnight storage. ANY bottle stored that way overnight would then be tasted prior to beginning service the next evening, and if it wasn't "rock solid," it would be poured out and not served.

                                  >>> Could this practice have altered the wine enough in the OP's example? Here at home, we often leave about 1/2 glass in the bottle, replace the cork, and see how that wine fares with overenight sitting. Our unscientific finding are that some wines are greatly dimished, some not much, and occasionally, there's an improvement. Almost universally, however, French reds, including CdR, do not fare well.

                                  >>> What do you think, oenophiles? Could it have been CdR, but tasted "off" because of the wide grape variations (as discussed) or could it have just been yesterday's bottle? <<<

                                  NO.

                                  The description of the OP's wine has *nothing* to do with oxidation, and everything to do with either a) being served a Côtes-du-Rhône in a New World style, or b) being served the *wrong* wine. Nothing in the OP's description even hints at oxidation . . . .

                                  Cheers,
                                  Jason

                                  1. re: zin1953
                                    sunshine842 Oct 8, 2011 10:58 AM

                                    while I could give you a laundry list of places who have served me wine that's been shoved into a refrigerator to oxidize for a few days (places that were not my pick, Jason, so it's not my taste - it's their ignorance).

                                    But not one of them could have ever masqueraded as another type of wine -- oxidized wine is just nasty and tastes stale.

                                2. w
                                  wew Oct 8, 2011 01:01 PM

                                  When this came up with me I opened a new bottle at the table. The possible waste was negligible and I sent the bottles down the the kitchen at the end of the night for stock etc.
                                  I know it might sound strange but what's wrong with making a diner feel happy while resolving a question?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: wew
                                    w
                                    wew Nov 2, 2011 09:42 AM

                                    To make clearer, I was the server not the diner in the above. I was also the wine buyer and was able to set the rules.

                                  2. i
                                    Isolda Oct 8, 2011 01:10 PM

                                    This has happened to me a few times, and I'm no connoisseur, but I recall asking the server very nicely, "This doesn't taste like a pinot noir. Do you think it's possible the bartender poured from the wrong bottle?" I think there was only one occasion where I didn't automatically get a fresh glass and I tipped well every time.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Isolda
                                      maria lorraine Oct 9, 2011 10:38 AM

                                      That's a courteous way to ask the question.

                                    2. egit Oct 20, 2011 02:58 PM

                                      I had a similar situation, but not with wine. I walked into a pub and ordered a pint of the beer that I was drinking all the time back in those days. I watched the bartender grab the Brooklyn Lager handle and pour the pint. This was early evening, so it's not as if I'd been out drinking for hours.

                                      I tasted it. It was not Brooklyn Lager. Absolutely, 100% certain of that. He pointed to the handle as if that were incontrovertible proof. I said it doesn't matter what the handle says, I know it's not the BL. He didn't know what to say to me. I suggested maybe it was possible the line was tapped into the wrong keg? No. Absolutely not.

                                      Did I make a scene? No. Not worth it for a $5 pint in a fairly empty pub. I drank it slowly, then left. Never went back to there again. The point of it being there's only so much you can do. And, while it sucks when you don't get what you ordered, not every argument is worth having. The bartender served me a different $5 pint from the one I ordered. It was of comparable quality, but qualitatively different at the same time. It wasn't what I wanted but it wasn't a big enough deal for me to throw a tantrum.

                                      1. g
                                        gryphonskeeper Oct 23, 2011 12:51 PM

                                        Working as a bartender at restaurant in my area a few years back I worked with another batender who would pour wines that were not ordered to "get rid" of the last of one bottle before having "too many" open ones. I also saw her use a funnel to pour cheaper tequila into a Petron bottle because it was the "biggest seller" and she ran out. I left that job after just 2 weeks because I was so worried I would get into trouble if the ABC did an investigation... The bartender on duty is the one responsible for the liquor in the bottle, even if they were not the ones who put it there.

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