Glassware Designed to Tempt your Taste Buds
Do you have a collection of wine glasses from different events and from going wine tasting? I have over 50 of those glasses; I use them for juice, and water and even wine sometimes. Some are small, some are balloons, some are thick, some are thin; I even have one Riedel from Silver Oak Vineyards in Napa.
Does it matter what you drink wine from? Can a plastic cup suffice? You have probably gone to some effort in choosing the wine to go with a meal, so having the wine at its best on the dinner table means using the right glass.
The right shape of glass can make an enormous difference to your enjoyment of wine because it can effect how the wine tastes. Glasses that are designed to enhance the flavor of wine don’t have to be expensive; often overly ornate, wrongly shaped glasses will cost much more but do nothing for your wine experience.
The classic good-for-any-wine shape is a glass that tapers towards the top, it looks like a tulip. This shape allows the wine to release its aroma, and also funnels the wine onto your tongue as you drink. Clear, plain glass is best as the visual impact of how the wine looks is part of how it will taste. A thin glass, without a discernable lip is a more pleasant feel in the mouth when drinking wine. Small glasses don’t give the wine enough room to develop its aromas.
Of course there are glasses made specifically for each type of wine; there are over thirty diverse shaped glasses available on the market today. I don’t have room in my cupboards for them all, but they are designed to give you the best experience. Wine does taste differently depending on how it is served.
Try tasting the same wine in a large bell shaped glass, a plastic cup, and a champagne flute; each glass will change the flavor of the wine. This occurs because the different shapes funnel the wine onto different areas of your tongue focusing the key flavors where you will taste them the most. For example, A Riedel Riesling Glass is specifically designed to funnel the wine onto the tip of your tongue, emphasizing the crisp, fruity flavor, and then passes the wine over the back of the tongue for a long finish.
The basic rule of thumb for a well stocked wine glass selection is to stick to the classic tulip shape but vary the size of the glass and the bowl. Try a larger bowl for red wine that will give the wine more room to develop its flavors; and choose a tall flute for champagne or sparking wine that will make the best channel for getting the bubbles into your mouth.
Now that you have taken the trouble to get the right glasses, cleaning them in the right way is also important. Glass will absorb smells and that can really interfere with the taste of the wine. Whether washing by hand or in the dishwasher wine glasses should not be washed in detergent, just clear warm water, and they should be dried with a lint free cloth. If using a dishwasher wash the glasses in a separate cycle from the other dishes using a short wash without detergent. If a glass seems to have an odor to it before you pour, wave the glass through the air a few times to get fresh air into the bowl and remove the smell.
I used to quake at the sight of five different glasses lined up over my dinner plate at a fancy affair, but now that I know the science behind the glass I can get the best out of every glass of wine I drink. It’s crystal clear!