“It is the responsibility of the glass to convey the wine’s ‘message’ – its appearance, bouquet, and taste – in the best manner to the human senses.” Riedel
If you are a serious wine lover, trying to decide what glasses to choose and keep in your home can be confusing.
It doesn’t help that there are misconceptions about the impact that the shape and size of your glass has on wine.
The first misconception, is that wines can be split into four simplified categories: white and red, light bodied and full bodied.
If this were the case, this is how wine would be labelled. You would walk into a bottle shop looking for a summer afternoon drink and peruse the “light bodied white” section. Winemakers would rave about the latest vintage of their “full bodied red”.
In reality, there are over 1200 individual varieties of wine, each as different and interesting as the next. Riedel make glasses that take these differences into account, and respect your palate and its ability to discern them.
Georg J. Riedel, 10th generation, has made it his life’s work to develop specific glasses to enhance individual wines, carrying out workshops with experts in their field to develop a whole array of correct varietal glasses, from Shiraz, to Riesling, to Single Malt Whisky.
Only recently, last year in March, Georg visited Central Otago in New Zealand and hosted a workshop with 20 winemakers and wine writers to find the perfect shape for the region’s Pinot Noir.
The second misconception, is that white wine goes in a small glass, and red wine goes in a big glass.
If you think of all the different structures and weights of wine – their intensity and depth – we can disprove the second misconception.
Think of the structure of a big, creamy Oaked Chardonnay from the Margaret River. When placed in a small glass, the typical stone fruit, nut, and caramel aromatics are not given the space to breathe and develop, and all you end up with is a big whiff of oak. On a similar vein, the fragile complexity of Pinot Noir is diluted in an oversized, wide-mouthed glass.
Every glass must be designed to highlight the complexities in particular varieties of wine.
So how to choose?
The easiest way to navigate the minefield of glassware is to make a personal choice.
Select your favourite varieties and choose glasses that complement these wines. Once you’ve decided on the varieties, choose a style that reflects your taste, occasion and budget. Want glasses that scream elegance? You can’t go past Vitis or the handmade Sommeliers. Short on space? Go for the stemless O Wine Tumbler. Invest in quality products that suit your lifestyle, knowing that your wines will benefit from it, and you’ll get more enjoyment from drinking them.
Note to Vintec Club members: as a reminder, you are entitled to an ongoing VIP discount on Riedel glassware as a member of the Vintec Club. Visit My Member Benefits page to access your unique code (you must be logged in).
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