Sending it back

By | September 20, 2008

We went out to a local resturant for dinner last night. The food is good and we can walk there. We ordered some wine, one we’ve had before but can only get at this restaurant. It’s a cheeky little Basque number, a little prickle on the tongue, blossoms and fruit, bone dry, zip-a-dee-doo-dah.

I drank my manzinilla and looked forward to it arriving. Then it did. It wasn’t good. It was positively fizzy and a smidge cloudy. It tasted ever so slightly of pickled socks. My trusty dining companion sent it back. The waitress explained that it was meant to be like that. We explained that it wasn’t, we’d had it before, it was a great wine, but this was a bad bottle.

The waitress came back and asked if we’d like to choose something else as we didn’t like it, after a quick recap that we liked the wine, but not that bottle, I suggested we just had any Albarino on the menu as the food had arrived and people were starting to eat.

The waitress came back, the manager had found another bottle of ‘Chomy’, and we could have that. She poured a glass, even the children dining with us identified, ‘that’s different, it’s not fizzy’. It wasn’t. It was good.

It was a strange experience. We left happy, the food had been delicious, the wine great, the service overall friendly if a little inefficient, but the minor squabble was irritating. My dining companion had held back the ‘let’s run it past someone with a degree in wine – try some darling’ defence quite deliberately I’m happy to report, but perhaps less knowledgeable or less confident diners would have been stuffed with a bad bottle which could have put them off Basque wines, or Spanish whites, and would likely have put them off the restaurant forever. We will go back.

One thought on “Sending it back

  1. Christianne

    What a shame. I have sent a wine back once and it was truly bad. However, while the waiter was not rude in an way, the ruckus it caused across the restaurant with the manager was quite embaressing to myself and dinner mate.

    On the flip side, I work in a wine bar and retail store. One night, we had a rather expensive bottle of wine returned to us because it did not have the “smell of roses” that was desired. I was truly flabbergasted at how to proceed. I asked if there was something wrong with the wine. No there was not. In fact, we enjoyed it ourselves later that evening.

    I wonder how often good wine is returned as bad too. It is rare in my limited experience at the wine bar so far. And that would never excuse bad behavior on the part of a server when a bottle is returned.

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