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Should wine glasses be rinsed out with wine?

My father used to rinse wine glasses with a bit of whatever he was pouring before he filled them: I think that's pretentious and a waste of perfectly good wine. But then I was in a fancy restaurant the other week and they did the same thing. Am I missing something here?

Wine glasses do pick up all sorts of smells, from musty cupboard to kitchen grease to your pink-grapefruit-and-patchouli dish detergent: All of them can affect the taste of your plonk. Before you fill it the next time, stick your nose inside a glass. Smell anything? Splashing in a few drops of your wine and rolling it around will mask any lingering scents. Afterward, dump it out (or just slurp it back). Don't forget, too, to rinse your decanter. Then, you know, own that pretension with a few well-chosen words to your guests on how claret futures aren't what they used to be. You've earned it.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist. Have an entertaining dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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