Over the years I’ve tried scores of different wineglasses, and I’m convinced that the easiest way to make any wine taste better is to use a good glass, one that allows a wine to show its stuff, be it visually, or aromatically, or how it delivers the flavors to your palate.
Riedel alone makes dozens of different glasses (check out their website), seemingly one or more choices for every different kind of wine or alcoholic beverage available. There’s a Teroldego glass, a Blauburgunder stem and gin glass. I looked up the different recommendations for wines from St.-Estèphe and St.-Emilion and they’re nearly identical, except the latter has nine glass recommendations, one more than St.-Estèphe.
I’ve done many different glass tests, too, where the same wine is served in different-shaped vessels, and indeed there are often real differences in how a wine smells or tastes, depending on the glass. But most of the time, I find that good wine tastes good in a good glass, and it’s easier to convince yourself of the differences in stemware when faced with multiple choices of one wine poured into six or eight different glasses.
Most people are surprised then when they find out that I only use one kind of glass at home for drinking table wines, irrespective of the varietal, color or appellation. It’s the Tritan Burgundy Glass by Schott Zwiesel 'Forte' (model 8465/140), which sells for about $9 a stem, which I think is great for all wines. I have a couple dozen handy for nights when multiple stems are necessary. And I only use one style of decanter, the Riedel Cabernet model, which sells for about $40. I also have a few of these ready for action.
I feel fortunate to have found what I consider the perfect wineglass and decanter. They’re both attractive, elegant, balanced, sturdy without being heavy or clumsy (and they produce a nice clear ring when a "cheers" is in order), and they're durable and dishwasher-safe. That last point is an important consideration, since I don't like to handwash glasses, especially at the end of a late-night dinner party, and I love the brilliantly clean, crystal-clear glasses that emerge from my kitchen car wash, er, dishwasher. Ditto for the decanters.
For years when I used the fussier, more delicate glasses, I found myself breaking more stems than I could afford. That made washing them a chore.
But not anymore. I’ve got the perfect glass and decanter. I don’t think I’ve broken a single one of either and I hope this isn’t a jinx.
I do have one wine glass challenge, though. I haven't settled on the perfect Champagne flute. But I'm still searching and researching.
Brian Loring — Lompoc, CA — July 10, 2009 4:08pm ET
Hoyt Hill Jr — Nashville, TN — July 10, 2009 4:30pm ET
Patrick Mullane — san mateo, ca — July 10, 2009 6:10pm ET
Emily Weissman — san anselmo, ca — July 10, 2009 7:19pm ET
Fred Brown — July 10, 2009 8:15pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — July 10, 2009 9:03pm ET
David Peters — Mission Viejo, CA — July 11, 2009 2:14am ET
Richard Seegull — Simi Valley, CA — July 11, 2009 12:37pm ET
Neil Barham — Vail, co — July 11, 2009 5:01pm ET
Whit Thompson — Rochester, NY — July 13, 2009 9:38am ET
David Rossi — July 13, 2009 11:36am ET
Cindy Goodaker — Royal Oak, MI — July 13, 2009 12:00pm ET
Cindy Goodaker — Royal Oak, MI — July 13, 2009 2:43pm ET
Quek Li Fei — Singapore — July 14, 2009 7:13pm ET
Nick Perdews — Simi Valley — July 29, 2009 7:54pm ET
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