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Posted by Robert Whitley on August 31, 2016 at 1:55 PM

What's In A Glass?

 To the casual observer, what's in a wine glass is infinitely more important than the glass itself. To a large extent, that's true. Yet the glass ultimately plays a huge role in the level of enjoyment you get from the wine.

With apologies to Georg Riedel, the Austrian glassmaker who promotes the belief that virtually every different wine type requires a glass tailored in size and shape for very specific grape varieties, stemware requirements are a bit more pedestrian.

I don't need a $75 hand-blown Bordeaux goblet to fully experience the wonders of my favorite cabernet sauvignon. A simple wine glass that can withstand the rigors of a dishwasher does the job most of the time. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but the sensory aspect is more or less the same.

What I look for first in an everyday wine glass is a shape that is conducive to aromatic development. That means the mouth of the glass should be narrower than the bowl. This allows you to swirl and aerate the wine, which brings up the aromas and softens some more astringent wines.

The notion of drinking good wine from a Mason jar might be a romantic nod to fond memories from yesteryear, but you will lose some potential flavor development in the process, and you won't get as much from the tasting experience as you should.

I also prefer a wine glass that has volume. A 10-ounce glass is about the smallest I use, and generally for white wines only. I much prefer wine glasses that have a capacity of 20 ounces or more. The greater capacity allows for a greater surface-to-air ratio, enhancing the aromatic complexity of almost any wine. Pour 5 to 7 ounces into a 20-ounce glass, and see for yourself. It doesn't matter whether the wine is red or white.

It may surprise some wine enthusiasts, but white wines also benefit from the additional room to breathe. Even sparkling wines and Champagne taste better in this type of glass than they do in a traditional Champagne flute.

Bottom line, using a good wine glass may not be as important as what's in the glass, but it's certainly part of the pleasure equation.

Moet & Chandon, Champagne (France) Grand Vintage Brut Rosè 2008 ($90)
With gentle notes of strawberry and spice, Moet’s 2008 Grand Vintage Brut Rosè is a thoroughly seductive rose Champagne. It shows a note of cola. On the palate the creamy richness is balanced with fresh acidity. A Platinum award-winner at the 2016 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition.
97 Robert Whitley

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This Issue's Reviews
 
E&J Gallo Dazzles at Sommelier Challenge
Robert Whitley

Throughout the weekend of the eighth annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Challenge in San Diego, California, the judges made a point of noting an improvement in the quality of entries from the previous year. The results reflected the initial impression as the assembled professional sommeliers, which included Master Sommelier Bob Bath of The Culinary Institute of America, awarded medals to 66 percent of the entries. The 2015 Somm Challenge saw a medal percentage under 50 percent.
Book Review: 'The Winemaker,' by Richard Peterson
Marguerite Thomas

This is a book about so much more than wine and winemaking. First and foremost it is an account of the development of California's wine industry by someone who helped shaped it into what it is today, but additionally The Winemaker is a charming personal reminiscence of a life fully lived. Among the things that set this chronicle apart from other wine-themed histories is that the author's own life parallels and echoes that of California's post-Prohibition wine industry.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Oven-Fried Chicken and Garlic Rice


We've been experimenting recently with avocado oil in the kitchen, which inspired us recently to make a meal that exploits some of its advantages. Since most of the favorable attention avocado oil receives is for its extremely high smoke point, we decided to test that out and make fried chicken. Rather than deep fat frying in a lot of oil we wanted to see if we could get appealing crispness and good flavor by frying the chicken in the oven using just a few tablespoons of oil. Another one of avocado oil's appealing qualities is its delicate buttery/mushroomy flavor, which adds a pleasant, savory taste to salads but is even more flavorful when warm. To take advantage of this attribute we made garlic-rice infused with avocado oil to accompany the chicken.
On My Table
A Great Chardonnay Find from South Africa
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

For white wine lovers, something feels just right about a good Chardonnay now, after all the pretty Rieslings and Sauvignon Blancs of summer. When the fleece jackets come out, Chardonnay's greater weight and more substantial personality seem to bolster us for the serious seasons ahead. Maybe the early autumn context caused me to love this South African Chardonnay -- but the wine's indisputable quality and amazing value had more than a little to do with my positive reaction. Imagine: a Chardonnay under $20 that you can only praise, despite your best critical efforts to detect some shortcoming. Glenelly is a property in the Stellenbosch region with a long history of agriculture, dating back to the 17th century, but the property became a wine estate only a dozen years ago.