"It is difficult to enjoy a good wine in a bad glass."
- Evelyn Waugh
Gerry recently gave some Riedel crystal wine glasses to all the adult family members for Christmas. Riedel is considered one of the finest wine glasses in the world. Does a nice glass matter? Try this test: Pour the same wine into a water glass and into a good, ample size wineglass. From which glass does the wine taste better?
Interested in knowing a bit more about glassware? This top ten list is adapted from The Wine Bible...
- Only buy wineglasses you can afford to break. If you spend $50 per glass means you will never use them, buy ones that are less expensive.
- Buy more glasses than you need. Glasses do break. And besides, there may be times when you want to serve two different Zinfandels side by side for comparison.
- Consider buying one great style of wineglass that can be used for both red and white wines. It's simply nonsense that white wine should be served in smaller glasses. A well-designed wineglass should have an ample bowl that gives the flavors room in which to evolve. Closer to the rim, however, the bowl should narrow, forcing the aromas to be focused toward your nose.
- Buy glasses that are absolutely clear and smooth. Clear glasses show off the depth and richness of the wine's color. Colored and/or cut glass may be beautiful, but you cannot see the wine.
- Make sure the glass has a thin rim so that the wine glides over it easily and so you don't feel like you have to chew on the glass to get the wine.
- Choose a glass with a stem long enough to give you something to hold other than the bowl. Holding the glass around the bowl can warm the wine. Editor's note: Remember, if Rosie sees a Wine Club member holding a glass by the bowl, you will get a gentle scolding. Hey, you were forewarned.
- Never buy small wine glasses. Drinking wine out of a small glass feels as awkward as sitting in a chair that's too small or eating dinner off a bread plate.
- In addition to regular wineglasses, buy flutes for serving Champagne and sparkling wines. The long, tapered shape of a flute encourages a steady stream of bubbles, and with these wines, bubbles are part of the pleasure.
- Wineglasses should be filled half way. This leaves plenty of room to swirl the wine so that its aromas and flavors come alive as they mix with oxygen. However, fill Champagne flutes slightly more than half since the goal is to encourage a bead of bubbles streaming to the surface. However, do not fill flutes to the rim. Some air space will help to focus the aromas.
- Wash the glass properly. Sometimes the wine will taste odd because of an improperly washed glass; i.e. the glass is in poor condition, not the wine. The best way to wash crystal is using your hand, not a sponge, with a small amount of diluted soap and lukewarm water. Then rinse crystal several times in hot, not scalding, water. Drain crystal upside down, then turn the glasses upright and let them dry in the air. Any drops or spots can be finished off with a clean, soft cloth. Store wineglasses right side up, standing on its rim, not on its more fragile rim.