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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

Dr. Michael
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