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When you order wine in a restaurant, often you are presented a taste in order to check for problems in the bottle, if it’s off or “corked”. See the description of this tasting ritual.

Assuming it’s fine and nothing is wrong with the wine, what is the appropriate thing to say in French? You don’t necessarily want to say that the wine is good, or delicious, since that isn’t the purpose of the tasting. Rather it’s to convey that the particular bottle doesn’t have any problems.

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A simple slow nod of the head is usually enough to indicate the wine is good/accepted. If there’s a desire to add something vocally, not a bad idea by any mean, a simple “oui” or “c’est bien/c’est bon”, with an optional “merci/merci beaucoup” will do.

If you want to say something, though, articulate slowly and use a warm tone, rather than a quick and dry “merci”, which will likely be interpreted as “please leave us alone now” (the waiter will usually leave without you asking anyway, so pointless to stress one’s desire to be left alone).


As aCOSwt mentioned in comment, if you initially asked for advice on the wine you should have, it would actually be kind to speak out a word of appreciation for the advice once the wine has been tasted (one would actually probably be expected to do so). It can be kept short and yet transmit the appreciation properly: something in the line of “Un grand merci pour votre aide” or “Vous nous avez bien conseillés, merci” would be fine.

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    usually... I follow you on that one. A simple nod is enough. However, when the waiter is in fact an authentic sommelier I'll ask for some advice prior to ordering. When he comes back with the bottle and serves you for tasting, his face is indeed eloquent. You can too easily read something like "Pourvu que je m'sois pas gourré...pourvu que..." in case of a novice, or " çui là mon bonhomme, tu vas m'en dire des nouvelles " in case of an old fox. (my translation of course... ;-) ) It's obvious, in this particular case that remaing silent is rude. – aCOSwt Nov 14 '18 at 14:23
  • Ah but if I use pourvu que then I have to follow it with a subjunctif and I try to avoid that at all costs ;-) – Brusselssprout Nov 15 '18 at 11:24
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"Vous pouvez servir" is a good way to say that he / she can continue without saying any tasting words.

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