Sunday, February 21, 2010

Decisions, decisions. Which glass to choose?

Now one person may accuse another of being a wine snob because of the type of wine they consume or all of the due diligence engaged in prior to a wine purchase, but this label may not always apply. My idiosyncrasies may suggest the profile of a snob, but to be honest, I have no problem sitting down with some cheap plonk as long as it is somewhat drinkable. What about glasses? Yes, one can look like a snob by the type of wine glass he/she chooses or by the way it is used. Like, for example, upon arrival to a tasting, lo and behold, like He-man unleashing his sword, a beautiful $30 Reidel glass is unsheathed and held in the air followed by the war cry "I’ve got the power!!!!!" I for one have not brought personal stemware to a tasting, but I understand it. People ask how can a wine glass dictate the performance of the wine? For some, not having the correct wine glass is almost akin to driving a Porsche through a slalom course strapped with Firestone tires instead of Pirellis.

Professor Claus Riedel was the first glass designer to recognize that the bouquet, taste, balance, and finish of a wine can be affected by the shape of the glass. Below are some sample wine glasses with the corresponding wines from the Riedel glass company.

I for one have found that the differences are subtle. In fact, I find myself using a small Stolze Bordeaux-style white wine glass for my reds, especially if the wine is drinking well after the initial pop and pour. Unorthodox maybe, but sometimes a glass with a larger volume bowl can subject the wine to too much oxygen causing the flavor to fade out rather quickly. When pouring your wine, utilize the lower 1/3rd of the glass and not much more. This gives you the ability to swirl your wine comfortably and, along with the act of diving your proboscis deep into your glass, allows examination of the bouquet. It is your choice as to whether you use a stem or stemless glass (not shown above). Find a glass that works comfortably for you. Experiment with different shapes, sizes, and weight. For example, I often find myself using a lightweight, stemless red burgundy Reidel glass for my Cabernet and Bordeaux wines. Whether or not a wine glass can affect the performance of the wine can be subjective. I believe the right glass can enhance the overall experience, but don’t listen to me, you be the judge.


  1. Tried the rose glass at Sonapa on Saturday.They use it for their half glass pour.

  2. Would using the term "cheap plonk" to describe a wine make you a wine snob?

  3. As a matter of discourse, are the words "cheap" and "plonk" redundant

  4. As a matter of discourse, are the words "cheap" and "plonk" redundant

    They are when your describing me:)

  5. I have tasted expensive wines that I considered to be horrid, and "inexpensive" wines that I truly enjoyed, so I personally do not find a redundancy.

    Of course, we could continue discourse as to what one considers "cheap."