An interesting article in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine of July 20, 2008 was about a 24 year old studying to take the Master of Wine exam. He is a sommelier here in DC who, apparently, always tries the wine he has opened for customers - to make sure it's good. This very much surprised me when I read it. In the past I have offered to let the sommelier have a taste, especially of an old or rare wine, but routinely?
The sommelier who is tasting your wine is not doing it to become familiar with or to enjoy the wine but to check and see if the wine is off. Think of a busy restaurant where he/she opens and sips from fifty or more bottles a night. Also realize that the sommelier takes a small enough sip that it can be tucked into a corner of the mouth without swallowing (one swallow from each of fifty bottles and you'ld have a very loopy sommelier). His/her tasting is work. Not pleasure.
The glass we choose to offer is a different story altogether.
Daniel Rogov wrote:The sommelier who is tasting your wine is not doing it to become familiar with or to enjoy the wine but to check and see if the wine is off.
Then the restaurant would be remiss or negligent if they hired a sommelier that was insensitive to TCA, and unable to detect corky wine. Yet I have seen this repeatedly. Many otherwise perceptive tasters may be relatively insensitive to corkiness.