The Perfect Glass

Today’s PSA is about making sure you have the perfect glass to enjoy all of the wonderful wines we usually write to you about. You may have noticed that at the bottom of the last few email communications I’ve included a recommendation on glassware that will help each wine shine to their fullest. Well I’d love to elaborate on why I think this is an important issue.

Let me start off by saying that I don’t recommend having a different glass for every different grape or blend that you drink. Don’t get me wrong, if you think that’s what you need to do then I’d be happy to sell you the whole Riedel glassware line. However, I do think based on how you drink wine, you could get much more enjoyment from the beverage if you match your glass to your ldrinking style So let’s dive deeper and see why it matters…

Style 1: The Casual Wine Drinker
When I say different types of wine glasses, I’m sure all of you can at least split them into three categories: white, red, and sparkling. This level of differentiation is likely enough for most people who enjoy wine casually because it takes care of the main needs of each of those kinds of wine. White wine needs a smaller bowl because that helps to maintain temperature better. Red wines need a larger bowl because they need more exposure to air and more room for the aroma to express itself. Sparkling wine needs the narrowest bowl to help it maintain not only its temperature but also its carbonation. As long as you all have at least those three kinds of glasses, I’d say about 60% of us are perfectly equipped to enjoy our favorite fermented grape beverage.

Style 2: The Enthusiast
Moving up a little bit in complexity I’m going to break down each of those previous categories into its two main styles. Starting with white wine glasses, they mainly fall into two camps: White Burgundy (oaked Chardonnay) glasses and standard. The main difference between the two is that oaked Chardonnay glasses have a wider bowls to let the subtle flavors of minerality and fruits show through the dominating flavors that come from oak aging. These wines should also not be drank as cold as other white wines, so the bowl doesn’t need to be as narrow to maintain a chill.

Regarding red wines, this category is dominated by the styles of the two most popular red grapes in the world: Burgundy/Pinot Noir Glasses and Cabernet/Bordeaux Glasses. The difference between these two is similar to our white wines. The Burgundy glass is much wider as Pinot Noir wines are generally focused on finesse over power (including lower alcohol %). The wider bowl allows more of the aroma to come out of the wine, so each subtle note can shine on its own. The Bordeaux glass is narrower but taller, as wines made from these more powerful grapes tend to have higher amounts of alcohol which lets them be more naturally aromatic in the glass and the taller sides let that denser aroma build up before reaching the mouth of the glass.

Lastly let’s talk about the two styles of sparkling wine glasses (and no I don’t mean coupes, which I say should be saved for cocktails): flutes and modern champagne glasses. This is probably the least known split of our three styles, but is potentially one of the biggest. In the last decade there has been a shift from flutes being the catch all glass for the different styles of sparkling wine. The first style that most people know as champagne glasses are actually called flutes. This glass is great for maintaining the carbonation of a sparkling wine, but terrible when it comes to enjoying the aroma of you bubbly. Flutes should be used for sparkling wines that are being drank for the bubbles and not the complexity. The second style are what are now called “Champagne glasses”, these look like a cross between a flute and a standard white wine glass. The slightly winder bowl allows the wines aroma to stay in the glass for longer so you can pick out the nuances of fine-sparkling like true champagne. So for the 39% of us that have taken the step to have all of these glasses, you are ready to get the most out of your awesome wines.

Style 3: The Connoisseur (or True Geeks – I use that term with the utmost endearment)
The final 1%. This tier is defined by one thing, the obsession to explore everything you possibly can. I’m not going to dive into every kind of glass that exists, because the list is almost endless. I will say that for those who are experienced hunters there is a difference between drinking a Zinfandel out of a Bordeaux style glass and drinking one out of a Zin specific glass. Would you ever notice the difference if you didn’t have the glasses side-by-side? No. Anyone that says they would know the difference is either overconfident or delusional. That being said, seeing the difference next to each other, it becomes apparent, and is a very cool experience and a great idea for a wine tasting party.

There is no glassware/crystal producer that has quite the breadth that Riedel has. There is a reason that this is the brand we have carried for years and whole-heartedly believe in. They do have every style of glass you can think of and they are all of the highest quality. All of our Riedel glassware and decanters, are currently 20% off. So come on by the shop and we can find you the perfect glass(es) for whatever level you feel you’re at (or want to be at).

For our wonderful patrons of our location in Broadripple, any glassware that you find on the Vine & Table website can be sent down to your local store for purchase. Just let an associate know what you would like sent down and we can take care of that for you.

REMINDER Vine & Table REWARDS MEMBERS: If you’ve been looking for something to use some of those hard-earned store credit points on, glassware is a perfect place to spend them!

Benton Givens
Vine & Table
Manager, Buyer
Level 2 Sommolier

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 Vine & Table #301