Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Size Does Matter: When it comes to wine glasses, bigger is better!

In the market for some new stemware to enhance your enjoyment of your wine experience? Not really?
Maybe you think any old glass will do the trick, after all - it's just a beverage, something to quench your thirst or wash down your dinner. If that's your thought process, I beg you to indulge me by reading onward!

Riedel, the Austrian maker of varietal specific stemware, travels the world over giving glassware seminars to wine industry professionals. During the course of the class each participant sits at a table with one bottle of Syrah and four types of wine glasses before them: a heavy restaurant or bar red-wine glass with a thick rim at the top; a smaller wine glass suitable for a generic white wine; the appropriate Syrah glass – large with a deep, wide bowl and a narrow opening; and a plastic tumbler that one would get at an outdoor pool party or 4th of July gathering.

A three-ounce pour of the Syrah goes into every glass, participants are then asked to evaluate the aroma of the wine in each glass and then the flavor of the wine. The restaurant glass is first, swirl then sniff - this wine smells floral, with strong alcohol aromas. The white-wine glass is next: swirl then sniff – lighter floral, a touch of red fruit and also high alcohol aromas. The Syrah glass is third: swirl then sniff – big red red fruits and berries followed by chocolate, some spiciness from the barrel and a deeper expression of the Syrah grape. Lastly, the plastic tumbler: swirl then sniff – hmmm, sniff some more, swirl some more, sniff some more – there are no aromatics from this glass. Its physics, in wine vessels with wide openings the aroma is diluted instead of being captured in the narrow opening of the glass.

Why is aroma so important? 80% of what you taste is in the smell… If you smell nothing, you will taste nothing. The larger the glass, the more surface area inside for the wine to cling to when you swirl, the more aromatics you will experience, therefore the better your wine will taste! Try it for yourself, I think you’ll agree – Size does matter!

Salud` !

KathyD.

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