Once, having the restaurant's sommelier taste your wine before pouring it was one of the most basic, generally accepted aspects of wine service. It was supposed to ensure that the customer never got a flawed bottle. But when we polled readers in 2008, we found many disliked this practice—whether they prefer to decide for themselves, think it's too stuffy, don't want to lose a drop of a high-priced wine or fear that, if the bottle is opened out of site, they might not receive the same wine they ordered. Now some restaurants and sommeliers take other approaches, such as simply smelling the wine beforehand and tasting only if the customer questions the bottle.
June 10, 2015