Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wine Glass Tasting

We’ve all been wine tasting, and we all know the drill: pour, swish, smell, taste.  Did you know that also applies to wine GLASSES?  Neither did I.  I had the opportunity to attend an actual, official wine glass tasting, presided over by Mr. Georg Riedel of the Austrian family that makes the glassware.   I was pretty sure this was going to just be a situation where he would plug his product while trying to convince us that his glassware made everything taste better.   It was held at a pretty swanky place, and hosted by a local wine shop that also had much to gain by plugging their product.  Skeptical?  You bet!
We settled in our seats, with several shapes of glasses (and a plastic cup) lined up. As there was already wine in one of the glasses, I reached out to get started.  Not so fast!  Mr. Riedel was on me like a shark on chum, admonishing me to wait for his instruction.  It turns out that there is a system to all of this, and it has to be done in order.  I should not have been surprised.  Once I was brought into line and followed the method, I began to notice the subtle differences.  We tasted the same wine in all the different vessels, starting with the plastic cup and working our way through Riesling, Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay glasses.  We tasted the 4 wines that were meant to be poured into each glass and at the end of it all I had to admit Mr. Riedel had something there.   I was surprised to find that the shape really DOES make a difference in how the wine smells, and ultimately how it tastes. 
I now consider myself not only a wine snob, but also a wine glass snob.  I have been known to comment to a server in a restaurant that they are not giving me the correct glass for the wine I ordered.  I'm guessing I will not be making any friends in the restaurant server world any time soon...

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