Monday, July 26, 2021

Rant: Wrong Vintage? How Do You Handle It?

Recently, while dining out at a local restaurant, I ordered a bottle of wine with dinner. I knew little about the wine but was intrigued by what I did know. It's also a restaurant which I know has an excellent wine list, so I felt relatively secure in choosing a wine unfamiliar to myself. 

When the bottle was presented at my table, I examined the label, which I generally do, to ensure it was the correct wine. It's rare to receive the wrong wine at a restaurant, but it has happened to me in the past so I always check, just in case. Do you examine the wine label when it is brought to your table?

In this case, everything was correct except for the vintage. Instead of the 2018, listed on their menu, I was brought the 2017. I mentioned this to the server, who simply said that this was the wine they had, and wasn't aware that the wine on the menu had a different vintage.

What should you do if you receive the wrong vintage wine? Does the vintage even matter? Would you ask the server the differences in the vintages? Should the restaurant charge you more or less because it is a different vintage? What should the restaurant's response be if they offer you a different vintage?

In general, I don't make a big deal about the matter and will usually just accept the different vintage However, vintage can definitely matter so it can be a significant issue to receive a different vintage. It helps if you know the wine and how it differs with various vintages. For the wine I ordered, I didn't know anything about differences between the vintages. However, when I did some later research, I found there was actually a major difference between the 2017 and 2018 vintages. 

The producer instituted some major changes to their fermentation protocols in 2018, which greatly changed the style of the wine. So, the 2017 and 2018 vintages are much different wines. If you ordered the 2018 from the menu, and understood which style it represented, what would you do if you received the 2017 instead? You might refuse the wine at that point, as it wasn't what you desired and expected. 

How do you handle receiving the wrong vintage wine at a restaurant? 

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