weim-280x240-shd-tig.gifGothamist loves to hear about animals that can do crazy tricks. Gerbils that dance, cats that are potty trained and birds that can count in pig-latin are truly fabulous feats of talent. But last night, Gothamist heard of perhaps the greatest animal trick yet – a dog that can tell if the wine is good by sniffing the cork. Apparently if the wine is good, this brilliant Weimaraner will chew on the cork, but if is it bad, it will drop the cork on the floor. While we did not get to see the dog in person, our waiter who has witnessed the act on many occasions at the Della Femina Restaurant in East Hampton swears that the dog has 100% accuracy.

Unfortunately, Gothamist does not have such a dog to bring around with us to tastings or dinner so we have to rely on the old senses. When the waiter pours that initial taste to see if the wine is good, here are the faults we are trying to detect, with perhaps, less accuracy than our furry friend…

Corkiness – You may often hear people say a wine is “corked”. This is when a distinctly musty smell is imparted to the wine by a tainted cork. To Gothamist, a corked wine often smells like basement. If your wine smells/tastes like the cellar, send it back.

Sulphur dioxide – This one is hard to miss, and is common in cheaper white wines. Wines with this fault often smell of burnt matches and will get right up in your nose and make you wheeze. If it makes you sneeze, send it back.

Acetic – This is when the wine smells of vinegar. It is caused by the presence of vinegar bacteria and oxygen together and is usually a result of bad practice in the winery. Gothamist hasn’t come across this too often, but one sip of an acetic wine can make your eyes water. If it makes you cry, send it back.

Oxidation – In some cases, like Maderia and Sherry, oxidation can be a good thing, however in most cases, not an enjoyable experience. An oxidized wine is often brownish in color and has a tendency to smell burnt. If it smells like Maderia and you're drinking Chardonnay, send it back.

Most times the wine that we order is fine, but there are those occasions where it is not. If you suspect the wine is flawed don’t be afraid to send it back. Trust your instincts and your senses – they are man’s best friend.