Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I have read, and personally found true, that certain people can, and others can't, taste TCA taint. I am a restaurant professional and I have had occasions where customers have offered me tastes of wines (that I have recommended) that were tainted, and they didn't notice. Should I say something? I want them to have the best wine experience possible, but I don't want to seem pedantic.
—R.A., Virginia Beach, Va.
The reason sommeliers taste wines before serving them to customers is because they know best whether a wine is flawed or not. If the sommelier (or other server) notices that a wine is flawed and doesn't replace it, that's a breach of trust.
I understand what you're saying, but it is your responsibility to make sure your customers aren't served flawed wines, and there are ways to bring this up without sounding like a jerk. Even though some people aren't as sensitive to TCA (or don't have a vocabulary to describe it), tests show that people prefer TCA-free wines to ones that are even slightly tainted.
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.