Riedel: THE Wine Glass
February 15, 2011 by Erin Thomas
Neuschloß, Austria is the motherland to the 250-year-old wine glass known to the world as Riedel. Centuries of handcrafted glassware precision made its way to Seattle’s Urban Enoteca this last weekend, care of Daniel Vu, Riedel USA’s Director of Wineries.
In a mini-seminar that took place in a dauntingly white room – ceiling to floor, with red wine involved! – Vu managed to change many perspectives on wine glassware completely.
Through the power of wine in a Riedel crystal goblet, a few hugely phallic decanters and a festive pink tie, Vu wooed his intimate audience simply by using their own on-the-spot education to showcase the prowess of their glasses.
Riedel says: For a wine consumer to “fully appreciate the personality of different grape varieties and the subtle character of wine, it is essential to have an appropriately fine-tuned glass shape.”
Robert Parker says: “The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make.”Vu says: “The shape of the glass is responsible for the flow of the wine and consequently, where the wine touches upon entering the sensory and flavor receptors of your mouth.”
The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue/Science says: Flavor hits your tongue in specifics ways. Sweetness is found at the tip, salt is at the sides of the tip, sour (acid) is on the sides of the core and bitter (tannin) is on the back before you swallow.
Riedel’s position is that shape brings a harmonious external factor to the wine itself that can make or break the experience of a wine altogether. Vu seemed to successfully prove this idea to his white room of 20 dedicated wine drinkers.
With a line up of four varietal specific glasses, we tasted each individually against a “joker” test glass (which was actually the entry/restaurant line for Riedel).
The results were stupefying.
With the 2007 Cote Bonenville Du Brul Vineyard Chardonnay in a Montrachet/Chardonnay glass, the 2009 Cave B Riesling in its respective glass, the 2008 Fielding Hills Riverbend Valley Syrah in its glass and the 2008 Fidelitas Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in a Bordeaux glass – the joker glass was viewed as exactly that.
The varietal-driven glasses, created for the profile of the specific wine, exposed the wines in a different light – the light they were meant to be seen in. Consumers of the seminar found the fruit to be more significant, the acid to have more balance, the tannin to have rounded and the finish to surpass the aftertaste from the joker glass.
Subjectivity is still king with what particular flavors and aromas arise from these glasses, but the nonnegotiable proof lies as fact is that Riedel offers an overall better glass of wine. Nearly 40 stunned Seattlites can now support such a statement.
Maybe Riedel, Parker and Vu are right – shape and size is everything.