How Important is a Wine Glass?
If you have ever drunk wine out of a mug, then you should know a glass can completely alter your enjoyment of a wine. But how important is the wine glass itself?
Riedel are the Rolls Royce of glassware producers. This tenth generation family have been producing crystal glasses since 1756, but it wasn't until 1958 that they really became noticed, when Claus Riedel produced the first varietal-specific glass. Since then they have blend creativity and science to create a range of glasses that improve the aroma and taste of a wine. They have glasses for each style of wine including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. People were sceptical about this at first, so they delivered Glass Workshops throughout the world to showcase how one wine can taste different in different glasses. Over the years this has successfully stimulated a lot of support from leading wine critics and sommeliers, including the influential Robert Parker.
So, how does it work? As you know, we have five taste sensations on our tongue – sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami (a savoury sensation). Riedel works on the claim that we are more sensitive to each sensation on certain areas of the tongue. The volume of the wine glass, the height of the stem and the thickness of the rim are all precisely designed to firstly enhance certain aromas and then deliver the wine to a precise place on your tongue every time you sip. Riedel say that the shape of the glass will also determine how you tilt your hear when you taste the wine, affecting the way the wine flows into your mouth. As an example, a Sauvignon Blanc glass has a pronounced curve of the glass and a tapered rim, which is intended to direct the wine to the centre of the tongue, rather than to the sides of the mouth where more acidity receptors are located. This allows you to appreciate the wines other flavours before the acid kicks in.
In 2014, Riedel even collaborated with Coca-Cola to create a glass designed to express the complexities of Coke’s aromas and flavours. According to Riedel, ‘The size of the size and curvature of the “bowl” and its rim diameter unleash Coke’s sweetness, spiciness and bite, along with its more subtle nuances’. The ‘finish’ he claims ‘is much longer’.
Whilst some have been quick to dismiss the notion that a glass can change the taste of wine, there is plenty of evidence and blind tastings to show it works. It’s not going to make a bad wine taste good, however it will change your perception of the wine by enhancing its most positive attributes. Riedel say that you should ‘'Plan to invest in one glass as much as you spend on average for a bottle'’. Now perhaps that would be a bit much if you are serving a €500 bottle of Bordeaux! Nevertheless, do not underestimate the importance of glassware and if you have particular guest who are very interested in wine perhaps Riedel could be an interesting addition to your glassware collection. On a yacht we understand that storage can be a problem therefore it is difficult to stock many different types of glassware, however luckily Riedel do have glass ranges that are suitable for more than one style of wine.
If you would like more information or want to purchase Riedel glasses feel free to contact us.
Riedel also design an elegant and creative range of decanters.