Corky wines we opened a well-known producer, a Charmes and it was 100% corked but in Japan we simply do not argue, we send it back, or the supplier replaces the bottles or credits us. Now travel in Europe, in France and try as a foreigner to give back a bottle, and they simply shit. But in Japan, it isn’t always straight forward and sometimes a sommelier cannot detect the “bouchon-eh” and that poses a problem.
I used to drink at Tsubaki and stopped, after the sommelier abused her powers and poured a bottle which was tainted, so we let it go and never went back. It is best to handle it that way in Japan and it makes people wonder doesn’t it. Well if you are a foreigner you would probably make a fuss which often turns out worse, it just isn’t the way to manage a problem in Japan. You are better off to say, I think this wine needs some time and let it breath and it doesn’t improve ask politely to please change the bottle – go slowly.
On the other side of the cork, many drinkers do not have the experience to understand what is corky, and when a cork is tainted. It must have “signs” so what are they? The first is smell, an off smell, or a clearly nose biting corky- cork is the tell-tale sign.
But don’t be fooled because sometimes a cork can drink and many do, a clear indication the wine is potentially wonderful. Be careful and know your business and think twice before you pass judgement or forever hold your tongue.
This cork below looks strange to most but it is normal and the wine was mint and yes the wine had leaked.