The Wine GuyR,
my wine tastings, I am always asked, “Does the type of glassware
really make a difference?” Well,
YES. Here’s a little
exercise to try on your friends.
to the left is a Waterford Crystal Wine glass similar to one your Mom
may have used in her fine china settings.
As you can see, the shape of the glass is like an upside-down
teardrop. To the right you
will see a 22oz Bordeaux/Cabernet glass by Riedel (pronounced Riedel
like needle), in more of a bowl shape.
the same bottle of red wine into both glasses and ask some unsuspecting
guest to taste each glass. Ask
them what tastes different between the two.
Usually the response is the 22 oz glass shows more fruit smell
and seems to have more character.
is the response you would expect in this test and here’s why.
the shape of the glass directly affects where the wine lands on your
tongue. Where the wine
lands on your tongue ultimately affects how the wine tastes.
The image below shows the regions of the tongue that are
responsible for the four taste profiles, bitter, sour, sweet and salty.
the shape of the glass also affects the ability to swirl.
What differences does swirling make?
I’m glad you asked.
allows for oxygen to enter the wine, allowing the fragrances of the wine
to bloom. This blooming of
fragrance of the wine suddenly becomes very apparent when you swirl and
then smell the wine. Here’s
a hint…try swirling your glass with one hand while covering the glass
with your other hand…then smell.
Why is smell important?
plug your nose and eat an onion can you taste it?
The answer is, for the most part, no.
When you remove the sense of smell it affects your ability to
taste. So if you can smell
more of the wine, you can taste more of what it has to offer!
What does this all have to do with glassware?
The shape of the 22oz Riedel glass is conducive to swirling,
where as when you try to swirl Mom’s Waterford glass, it will land
most of the contents on the table.
final note…wine does not necessarily taste the same way that it
smells. Just because you like the smell, doesn’t mean you’ll like
the taste of the wine, and just because you don’t like the smell
doesn’t mean you won’t like the taste of the wine.
I have had plenty of wines that smell horrible and taste great
(less filling) sorry wrong article.
of the top glassmakers in the word for wine consumption, Riedel and
Spiegelau, create glassware designed to deliver the wine to a particular
area of the tongue that is best suited for tasting that type of wine.
I recommend the 22oz glass for the all purpose glass if only one
is what your going to buy or can afford. Spiegelau glassware is almost
identical to Reidel and at half the cost.
A Matter of Taste (Howard
Hughes Medical Institute)