Selecting the right wine glass stemware will have a significant impact on your wine tasting experience. This is the most frequently asked question I encounter while conducting wine tastings; Do wine glasses make a difference? The unequivocal answer is yes! Let me share with you some of the reasons why choosing the proper stemware to taste wine with will make your wine experience better.
First, let’s take a look at the elements of wine that are important to know about before we even take a sip. Whether you are a wine expert, wine aficionado, or a casual wine drinker there are two things any of these wine lovers attempt to discern and discuss; aroma and flavor.
Riedel Wine Glasses
Each grape varietal has its own unique relationship with fruit, acidity, alcohol, and tannin in a wine. Stemware made for each particular grape is designed to deliver wine to the mouth in a very deliberate fashion.
A wine glass has three parts; the bowl, the stem, and the base. The height of the stem and the width of the base are the architecture of the glass. The bowl of grape-specific stemware will vary in size, shape, and diameter, the design of the rim will also vary.
The glass is designed to deliver the “message” of the wine to the 4 sensations humans are able to recognize.
- Aroma – how the wine smells
- Mouthfeel – the feeling of weight and texture of the wine
- Flavor – interaction of fruit, acid, bitterness, or minerality
- Aftertaste – this is the flavor that lingers after we taste the wine
Riedel Wine Glass Tasting
The architectural design of glassware must be balanced in size, height, and width. The bowl of the glass must be proportional to the height of the stem and width of the base. This ratio ensures that the glass is harmoniously proportional, adhering to an architectural design from the Golden Age of Architecture. This design is based on a mathematical formula known as the Fibonacci sequence, in nature, it is referred to as the Golden Ratio.
Glasses adhering to these design standards are functional and also visually very pleasing to the eye.
How Does It Work?
The tip of the tongue recognizes sweetness, the middle saltiness, the sides of the tongue and cheek areas of the mouth sour, and the back of the tongue bitterness.
Varietal or grape specific stemware works like this; the perfectly designed glass allows the wine to meld harmoniously in a very specific way within the glass. This is why the bowl of each glass is shaped so differently, facilitating aroma, flavor, and sensations that are known to be correct according to the wines natural profile.
The shape of each wine glass bowl also allows a person to examine and determine color, structure and the density of individual wines.
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Varietal specific wine glasses feature two types of openings or rims of the glass, cut or rolled. The cut rim allows the wine to flow to the tongue, but the way it flows and hits the tongue is predicated by the shape of the bowl. When you lay a varietal specific glass with wine in it on its side you will see a shaped pattern in the wine.
This pattern is exactly the way the wine enters the mouth and hits your tongue.
A rolled rim is designed to inhibit the smooth flow of wine to the mouth, delivering the wine exactly as the winemaker intended. Again the manner in which the wine is delivered to the mouth is predetermined by the shape of the bowl and the style of the rim.
Think of the wine glass as a trajectory system that delivers aroma to the nose and flavor to the mouth exactly as it should for each and every grape type.
When I teach wine and stemware classes the real litmus test is having an individual taste wine first from an incorrect glass, and then pouring the remainder of the wine into a correct glass. Even the most experienced wine drinker is shocked at the dramatic difference in flavors and aromas between the right and wrong glass.
What to Drink from Now?
To summarize; It is true a wine cannot truly be analyzed from a non-specific glass. It doesn’t look, smell or taste like it was intended by the winemaker.
I have two suggestions, Riedel is the brand that I use and recommend. They make a purpose designed generic red and white wine glass. The other best option is to purchase varietal specific glasses for a few of the red and white wines you drink and serve most frequently.
Riedel Wine Glass Company
Most of us think of wines that we drink as weekday, weekend, or special occasion. I recommend using the correct wine glasses for even weekday wines, it helps the wine to be the very best it can be.
For more information and help to select the right glasses email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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From my table to yours,