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Genius Aspirant

Wine Glasses?

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We are looking to buy new wine glasses, and a friend of ours insists that the type of glass we get can have a major impact on the taste of the wine. He claims that the same wine tasted in a different glass can taste dramatically different. Does anyone know if that is true? And if so, any recommendations on good glasses for us to buy?

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We are looking to buy new wine glasses, and a friend of ours insists that the type of glass we get can have a major impact on the taste of the wine. He claims that the same wine tasted in a different glass can taste dramatically different. Does anyone know if that is true? And if so, any recommendations on good glasses for us to buy?

I've never been an oenophile, I just like the wines I like. So this generally works as well for me as anything:

SpongeBob.gifprodSpongeBob.gif

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This is the company that taught us the difference the shape of a glass can make to how we taste various wines.

They have several lines, from daily use to rather expensive. The only thing I don't like is that they now engrave the company's logo on the base. I'm tired of branding, no matter how worthwhile the product.

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This is the company that taught us the difference the shape of a glass can make to how we taste various wines.

They have several lines, from daily use to rather expensive. The only thing I don't like is that they now engrave the company's logo on the base. I'm tired of branding, no matter how worthwhile the product.

Speaking as one who actually does know that glass is better than paper cups for pretty much every liquid we consume :rolleyes:, but who knows next to nothing about how glass affects a drink's taste: that's some beautiful glassware.

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This is the company that taught us the difference the shape of a glass can make to how we taste various wines.

They have several lines, from daily use to rather expensive. The only thing I don't like is that they now engrave the company's logo on the base. I'm tired of branding, no matter how worthwhile the product.

Speaking as one who actually does know that glass is better than paper cups for pretty much every liquid we consume :rolleyes:, but who knows next to nothing about how glass affects a drink's taste: that's some beautiful glassware.

You can find them in the Beyond section at Bed Bath & Beyond. Riedel seems to stay on top of retail prices, no undercutting the minimum price, but BB&B does manage to put these glasses on sale once in a while.

As for the impact glass shape can have on wine and spirits: I had doubts, but after doing some side-by-sides in various restaurants and wine connoisseur environments, I was amazed by the differences -- and I'm nowhere near as fascinated by wine as are 99% of the people I've worked with over the years..

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I do enjoy my wine. My opinion is that there is a lot of marketing hype about glasses for different wines (eg. Riedel). I do like a large glass (so it is only half filled to allow the 'nose' space to accumulate). I like the top to be a smaller diameter than the middle, to hold the bouquet. A stem tall enough to hold (it drives me crazy to see people hold the bowl with their fingerprints all over it. It is like looking at the colour of your wine through a dirty window) and thin sides. I don't know why, but the texture of thick rims has the affect of making the wine seem something for slugging back, rather then sipping from a delicate edge.

I see no reason why the basic 'fishbowl' shape isn't the perfect shape for all wine types except maybe the sparkling type. If one likes to look at champagne bubbles, then a tall glass makes more sense than the wide flat type often used.

The glass should allow one to appreciate colour, nose, 'legs' and 'texture'. The last of these is best served with a thin rim.

Wine should not be swallowed directly, but 'chewed', especially with a bread roll to open it up.

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The only thing I don't like is that they now engrave the company's logo on the base. I'm tired of branding, no matter how worthwhile the product.

What do you find tiring about it?

I like the fact that they are proud enough of their product to put their name on it.

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My understanding is that the shape of the glass is responsible for directing the wine across the different areas of the mouth and tongue, altering the taste. I never noticed anything initally, but with time I could tell the difference.

But I think you would really have to be a connuiessur to insist on proper glasses. What I buy is so cheap it may not make a difference at all. :rolleyes:

And I share most of Arnold's likes and dislikes that he mentions above, especially being able to see the wine in the glass. My wife and I make homemade wine, and inspecting it before drinking is vital, as we sometimes screw up. ;)

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This past weekend, friend and I had dinner at Bouley in New York. I note that Bouley uses Riedel Sommelier stemware -- this is the hand-blown crystal line from that company, a single glass from which may run you $100 or so. We drank a magnificent Pomerol (red Burgundy) with our main courses, and the wine was served in a full Burgundy balloon from that line.

It was extraordinary even before the wine hit the tongue: as the glass was lifted to the lips, the wine's black currant aroma hit the nose so clearly that it was a real treat in and of itself. If anything, this revealed what Riedel has focused on in the making of its glasses. -- the importance of the nose as well as the taste buds in the perception of taste.

Wine begins to evaporate as soon as it's poured. The idea behind wine glass shape is to "trap" as much of the vapor within the glass before it dissipates, thus enhancing its "nose". The typical Riedel glass shape consists of a large bowl with a rather significantly smaller rim (this proportional difference is even more pronounced in the Burgundy balloon). In addition, the crystal is absolutely clear to show the color of the wine which is important not only in distinguishing the grape used in its production but the age of the wine. One other factor is the nature of the rim itself: is it "rolled" or straight cut. Riedel glasses are straight cut with no lip at the rim. The claim to the superiority of this straight cut rim to the wine tasting experience is that, in addition to allowing the wine to flow unimpeded onto the tongue, it reduces the perception of acidity.

Do you need a $100 hand-blown crystal glass to have this experience? Or will the $3 Linens 'n' Things all-purpose number do the trick? I really cannot say, though it would never occur to me to serve a wine of similar magnificence to the one we enjoyed on Saturday in anything other than my best glasses. There have been some studies over the last few years to indicate that it may not make that much of a difference. The one thing I can say is that the Riedel glasses are exquisitely beautiful works of art. There's no denying it, and it would not surprise me to learn that that is their most significant contribution to the wine experience.

Oh . . . like Arnold, smudges and fingerprints on glasses really bother me. Thus my preference for stemware.

And . . . Riedel's Vinum line, though machine-produced and, therefore, significantly less costly, is also a beautiful gass.

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The only thing I don't like is that they now engrave the company's logo on the base. I'm tired of branding, no matter how worthwhile the product.

What do you find tiring about it?

I like the fact that they are proud enough of their product to put their name on it.

I'm tired of the branding declaring the product worthwhile versus the product standing on its own terms. I see name brands drop quality all the time. Yet, by stressing the brand -- bigger graphics, bolder typeface, the logo front and center, etc -- they maintain or increase sales because of the perceived prestige the name or logo on the item. I find it superficial. Example: Do I need the term "PORSCHE" splattered and highlighted everywhere in the tiny interior of a 911? As Armani once put it in an article on his design approach to his understated yacht, branding has become "visual noise" -- he should know...;-)

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I'd like to suggest that if we're at the point where a basic, less-than-$100-glass can come close to opening up a wine properly, it's largely due to the impact Riedel and others have had on glass design and wine culture.

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I agree with the folks above that Riedel is the ultimate brand, although, as Vespasiano points out, they have different grades of glassware, hand-blown and machine manufactured, although none of their glasses would have a seam or bead.

And that's the point: There are 2 main differences:

  1. Shape, as mentioned above, the reds of different varieties needing more or less surface area to "open up" (oxidize) evenly, which is why the "big" reds, like Cabernets do better in a glass with a wide surface area (fill only to the widest portion of the glass to get that advantage). Sparkling wines, like champagne and asti spumante, should be poured into flutes, not those martini-like shallow glasses, to preserve the carbonation.
  2. The lip of the glass. Premium glassware, certainly hand-blown, because they are blown, then the rim is the point at which the hot globe is cut, and good machined glassware, have a smooth, flat lip. With a bead on the lip, as in cheap Libby, Anchor Hocking, and other mass-marketed trash, the wine catches, with surface tension, on the bead, then, when the mass exceeds the resistance, a big glop of wine comes cascading into your mouth. If you're trying to taste wine, as opposed to guzzling it, this matters. A clean, cut lip of the Riedel, or Spiegelau, the next-best (and generally cheaper), you get just the sip you want and you can control it, to allow your mouth and tongue to distinguish the various tastes and textures (tannins giving it that astringent mouth-feel).

I love my Riedel glassware (I just have the Vinum machined and one Sommelier set of 4), but I actually like the Spiegelau Reds for everyday use (work well for both red & white). They are in-between and have a nice shape and feel and are a little more durable for daily use. I'm glad I looked at the link, because it seems Spiegelau was recently bought by Riedel -- a la Rockefeller, not a bad idea to buy your best competition. They overlap, but do fill a slightly different niche, while still having the same qualities of a great glass.

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I'd like to suggest that if we're at the point where a basic, less-than-$100-glass can come close to opening up a wine properly, it's largely due to the impact Riedel and others have had on glass design and wine culture.

Yeah. $100 seems a bit high. Though the story about Bouley makes me pause. That is one of my boyfriend's favorite restaurants in New York. (I have not been there yet.) He is lots of older wines -- from the 40s, 50s, and 60s from France. So he is arguing that we buy pretty fancy glasses. I am open to that but just want to make sure it is worth the money.

Thanks to John and all the others for the advice!

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I should read all of the posts before posting. Vespasiano pretty much covered everything I did. But my contention is that a good glass does make a difference and, these days, it isn't going to break your budget -- you just have to be aware of the differences and buy the good ones, whether Riedel Vinum or Spiegelau. You can actually pay more for an inferior glass: Mikasa, Schott, and other fine glassware manufacturers make beautiful stuff, but the emphasis is on the architecture of the glass, as part of an overall design for artistic display on the table. They aren't worrying so much about the physics of wine tasting. So stick with the companies like Riedel, who are passionate about wine.

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I've never been an oenophile, I just like the wines I like. So this generally works as well for me as anything:

SpongeBob.gifprodSpongeBob.gif

Reminds me of swishing fluoride in 4th grade. :rolleyes:

Good wine glasses are as about as wasted on me as good wine. It all tastes the same to me (I'm not much of a drinker).

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I've never been an oenophile, I just like the wines I like. So this generally works as well for me as anything:

SpongeBob.gifprodSpongeBob.gif

Reminds me of swishing fluoride in 4th grade. :rolleyes:

Could have been worse - I could have said I was an onophile. Interesting, the number of wine-related sites that don't realize their error...

Good wine glasses are as about as wasted on me as good wine. It all tastes the same to me (I'm not much of a drinker).

If I consume alcohol four times in a year, it's a lot. I enjoy it, I just never seem to have, or make, occasions for it. I do add certain red wines to my world-famous marinara - there are subtleties of tomato flavor that only come out when you do that. But in that case I'm sure all the alcohol cooks off.

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Here's a picture of a Riedel decanter I like:

Riedel_DecanterSwan_2007-2.jpg

It stands almost two feet tall!

I want one!!!!

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I'm tired of the branding declaring the product worthwhile versus the product standing on its own terms. I see name brands drop quality all the time. Yet, by stressing the brand -- bigger graphics, bolder typeface, the logo front and center, etc -- they maintain or increase sales because of the perceived prestige the name or logo on the item. I find it superficial. Example: Do I need the term "PORSCHE" splattered and highlighted everywhere in the tiny interior of a 911? As Armani once put it in an article on his design approach to his understated yacht, branding has become "visual noise" -- he should know...;-)

I don't necessarily disagree with your main point here -- after all, I refuse to wear certain clothing if there is any kind of logo on it (Izod shirts, etc., for example).

But in the case of Riedel glasses, I should imagine that the "branding" you refer to has as much to do with issues of authenticity as with brand-name advertising. If not more so. It's rather like bona fide Tiffany lamps, which, with rare exceptions, were always signed and numbered by Tiffany as proof of origin. As I wrote above, these glasses really are works of art and, with so many pretty good "imitation" glasses "in the style of Riedel" on the market, it might prove useful to actually know the glass you're purchasing for $100 a pop is the real deal.

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You are a guy! You already have one! :rolleyes:

Not to sell it short, but the one I have is neither quite so flawless nor two feet tall. ;)

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You are a guy! You already have one! :rolleyes:

Not to sell it short, but the one I have is neither quite so flawless nor two feet tall. ;)

You are far, far too modest!

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Wow! That is cool! And very erotic......... :rolleyes:

You find a wine decanter called "Swan" erotic -- "Isn't that special." (I would've thought you more of a [transplanted] Canadian goose knid of guy...lol)

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Example: Do I need the term "PORSCHE" splattered and highlighted everywhere in the tiny interior of a 911?

I should've typed "we" instead of "I" in the above. I currently don't own a Porsche.

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