Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don’t WINE about to many glasses

Jayro…I already know you hate wine…so just go ahead and skip this article Smile with tongue out

I’ve know this for some time, that certain wines, beers and liquors taste/smell better when drank out of the proper glass.  Now granted, some unique glasses are strictly marketing (see the Jagermeister Glass), but if you want a good example of how this really works….check out the Samuel Adams beer glass.  I changes the flavor and nose 100%.  It really was remarkable how this worked.

That being said, you can’t have 25 different beer or wine glasses (or else your curio cabinet begins to look like ours), so someone took it unto themselves to point out the basics. 

Great Read.


Pour Man: Glass choices are crystal-clear

The only time a glass can be truly "wrong" for a wine is when it leaks or it is chipped. I don't want to lose any wine, and I don't want to cut my lip.

I do prefer a proper wine glass, designed specifically for the particular wine it's holding, and I can say with absolute certainty that the shape of a glass does affect the aroma and taste of wine.

The folks at the world's undisputed top wine glassmaker, Riedel, would argue that every grape and every style of wine has its corresponding glass shape and style. If you do a tasting using their glasses, you will not disagree.

While I have not tried every shape and style they make - there must be dozens - I can tell you that their assertion that glass shape influences wine enjoyment is no hooey. They go so far as to design glasses that not only enhance the aroma of particular wines, but also land them on a specific part of a drinker's tongue. The glasses work.

But let's say you don't want to buy eight or nine different glass styles. Let's also say you don't have an empty cabinet waiting to be filled with expensive stemware.

If you have ever wondered how many kinds of wine glasses you actually need, well, here is your answer: two.

You need one with straight edges and one that is bowl-shaped.

Forget about red and white. So often what people refer to as "white" glasses are just smaller versions of "red" glasses. Instead, think of straight sides or bowl.

That glass with the straight edges is a Bordeaux (or Cabernet Sauvignon) glass, and the rounder bowl-shaped one is a Burgundy (or Pinot Noir) glass. They're named for the winemaking regions in France, two of the most renowned wine places in the world (and two of the grape varietals that grow there).

Incidentally, you also can serve Sauvignon Blanc in the Bordeaux glass, and Chardonnay in the Burgundy glass - and both of those grapes grow in those places, too.

Shopping for wine glasses can be like shopping for laundry detergent. Think of that daunting aisle in the supermarket: so many choices for a bunch of very slight variations in products that all basically do the same thing.

If even two glass styles is too much fuss for you, go with Bordeaux glasses only. But get decent ones: nothing too clunky, nothing with designs and nothing that doesn't taper, even slightly, as it rises to the rim. This concentrates the aromas and sends them straight up to your nose.

You can bring those aromas out more by swirling the wine. If this frightens you, do this: Fill your glasses up to the widest spot and not above it, and keep the base of the glass on the table when you swirl. Do that and your wine will never fly out of your glass. If you swirl in mid-air, swirl at your own risk.

Unless your wine is too cold for your taste and you want the heat of your hand to warm it up, hold the glass by the stem: That is what it's there for. Like a C-shaped handle on a beer stein, the stem keeps your hot hand (98.6 degrees, in case you've forgotten) off of the glass.

Now. If you drink port or any other dessert wine, what the Australians cleverly call "stickies," you could use a small dessert wine glass, which would bring your wine glass style to three (or two if you skip the Burgundy glass). Those sweet and viscous wines, two ounces at a time, get lost in big glasses.

If you are partial to sparkling wine, you also could invest in champagne flutes, which are tall and slender to give those bubbles the vertical room they need to do their thing.

But in the last couple of years I've noticed sommeliers serving bubbly in regular white wine glasses - basically smaller versions of Bordeaux glasses. In a pinch, serve your sparkling wine in those.

OK - that's four possible types of glasses, but that's going all-out. And you could get many more if you were to delve into the Riedel catalog.

Then again, you could drink wine from water glasses and be as happy as anyone. The wine glass police have no idea where you live.

One last thing about glass design: A thin glass is better than a thick one every time, especially when it is thin at the rim. You don't want your wine battling any ridges to get out of the glass.

Then again, a thin glass is more prone than a thick glass to develop a hairline crack, and if red wine leaks onto your clothes you'll find yourself right back in that dreadful detergent aisle.

So be careful when you wash your glasses (by hand) and make sure to rinse them well. No glass design in the world can overcome the ill effects of unseen soap residue on the taste of wine.

By the way, there's another aisle with too many choices - the dish soap aisle. I can help you with this: Get yourself two kinds of wine glasses, minimum. Maybe three. Four if you're really into it. Or one if this is all too overwhelming.

In the soap aisle, you're on your own.


  1. A great example would be the scotch glasses we obtained a fews back at the Tinderbox

  2. Randy- Very True. They totally change the complexity of the whisky. Have you tried the ones with a little glass lid?


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