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The cork, to smell or not to smell? That is the Question.

I have, as I was diligently taught, always avoiding smelling the cork upon opening the bottle. I have however, run across several Sommeliers, whom I respect, who do smell the cork as part of their table service.

As I currently work with a Sommelier who does this, I thought I'd open my mind a bit and give it a whirl during service. As I have always been taught that this is a hug no no, it seemed odd at first, however it was nice to head off a few bottles that were corked before they were served to the guest to taste. Personally, I still prefer to secretly take a whiff of the wine before pouring a taster for the guest.

I have also noticed however, that I have come across several corks that smelled of TCA, yet the wine did not appear to be affected. To verify this, I set the bottles in the cellar to see if the TCA levels increased, which they did not. This was an especially useful test when tried on a bottle of Tokaji. Still no sign of TCA after one month, yet the cork reeked of it.

So, the question. Do you smell the cork as a part of service, or do you not? Will you be docked for this at the Master level exam? I'd especially like to get some feedback from the Master's themselves.