By September 28, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

You Bet Your Glass It’s Important

By Brad Gibson

For as much as America has become
a wine drinking nation, it amazes me
how many very nice restaurants have
inappropriate or poor quality wine
glasses or stemware or how often the
glass smells like bleach or detergent.
While you may not have any control
over the glass you get when dining
out, with a little thought and minimal investment (I sell a nice pulled crystal
glass for $5), you can make sure you and your guests get the most enjoyment
out of your wine while dining at home.
A lot has been written in recent years about different styles of wines demanding
different types of stemware. Most stemware manufacturers have
a large number of choices with characteristics designed to enhance specific
types of wines. In theory, the different shapes direct the wine to different
parts of the mouth, emphasizing the best characteristics of the particular
wine you’re drinking. Now, if you followed the advice of these manufacturers,
we’d all own 8-10 different wine glasses. For most people this
just isn’t practical and even for serious wine drinkers I would argue that
three different glasses is enough. I would suggest a flute for Champagne
or sparkling wines, a large bowl red wine glass, and a smaller bowl white
wine glass.
One common characteristic is that they are all designed to hold a small
amount of wine “relative” to the volume of the glass, allowing the aroma of
the wine to collect in the bowl and leaving room to swirl the wine without
spilling. This is important to remember when the “relative” we all have
grabs your new 22 ounce red wine crystal and decides to “fill-up” his or
her wine glass. Short of dropping the bottle, there is no faster way to lose a
bottle of wine. Seriously though, when choosing wine glasses, first pay attention
to the material from which it is made. Wine glasses should be glass
or crystal, not pewter or silver, and should be clear so you can adequately
see and appreciate the wine. As mentioned before, the bowl should be
big enough to allow a good size pour and still have enough room to swirl
the wine without spilling. The glass should have a stem so it can be held
without getting greasy fingerprints on the bowl and so your hands don’t increase
the temperature of the wine (holding the bowl in your hands can be
useful if the wine being served is too cold). Finally, your wine glass should
be somewhat tapered at the top. A wine taster will use a swirling action to
release aromas and aerate the wine, and the tapered shape serves to concentrate
the aromas near the nose.
Regardless of type, when caring for your glasses, wash with hot water
alone or with a mild detergent. If using detergent, make sure the glasses are
thoroughly rinsed; a soapy residue or even a trace of lemon or otherwise
scented washing liquid can ruin the taste or nose of a wine. After washing,
hold the glass up to the light to make sure they are clean; a less than clean
glass can also affect the wine, particularly sparkling wines which will not
demonstrate their fizz. Once washed, allow the glasses to drip dry. Once
dry, a quick polish will rid them of any residual water marks. Store them
upright in a clean, odor-free cupboard.



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