A couple years ago, I attended a Riedel tasting. I was a skeptic about a wine glass making any kind of difference in the enjoyment of wine. The first thing I learned was the Riedel is pronounced like it rhymes with “needle, not ‘Rid-el”, as I had always said it.
|Windward Vineyard Photo|
According to the Riedel representative, conducting the tasting, the selection of the wine glass for a wine style is important, as the glass shape can influence its’ perception.
The wine glass affects the interaction of the wine with air. Taste is largely impacted by the smell of the wine. So, the glass should affect flavor. For example, the wider the bowl, the more "breathing" the wine might experience. This is why red wine glasses are bigger than white wine glasses. The larger bowl lets you aerate red wine more, softening the tannins.
Another consideration is having a stem on the glass or not. This allows you hold the glass without affecting the serving temperature of the wine. It also lets you see the color of the wine without your hand getting in the way. The newest trend seems to be stemless glassware (mainly because if anything is going to break…it’s going to be the stem). I still have trouble with these. I like to swirl and observe the wine in the glass, and find these difficult to work with. When it comes to breaking the stems…the best advice I heard was, “don’t drink and dry”. Most wine glasses are broken while cleaning and drying the glass. I always put a little water in the glass (to avoid a wine stain), then clean them in the morning.
|Sommelier Glass w/ Scarecrow|
I said I was skeptical in the beginning. No longer. I am a firm believer in the affects your stemware has on the ultimate wine experience. If you have not been to a Riedel tasting, I encourage you to try it.