Always Drink Responsibly

13 March 2013

What's in a Glass?... Why Riedel is a Tool, Not Pretention

Part of the misconception about wine drinkers being snobs has to do with glassware. Many people will say, "what difference does it make the glass you use. Just drink the damn wine!" And I freely admit, I used to be one of those people...

Let me put it this way. If you needed to hang a picture on the wall with a nail, why would you reach for a screwdriver instead of a hammer? Sure, you could bang the nail in with the handle and it may get the job done, or it could bend the hell out of the nail. To get the job done correctly in the best manner possible, you need the proper tool.

It's the same concept for drinking wine- to maximize the wine's characteristics, you need the glass that best exhibits the wine's aroma (or nose, if you're a "snob") as well as the flavors ("notes"). And it's not just a matter of having the proper glass if you're a professional taster or judge- every day wine drinkers would find how much more magnificent wine tastes if only they had the proper tool. (Temperature is also very critical when it comes to tasting the wine at it's best.)

As I implied before, I used to drink wine out of any old shaped wine glass. I was a skeptic about spending money on specific varietal glassware until I actually tried it. I was fortunate enough to be persuaded to do a side-to-side comparison with good friends, tasting a 2006 Syrah first in a thick, run-of-the-mill glass and then in a Riedel glass made for reds.

WOW! The difference was amazing. I went back and forth between the two glasses, astounded by the fact the same wine was in both. The Syrah's qualities failed to shine through in the regular wine glass, leaving the aroma lacking and the taste very bold, in-your-face, peppery and with the illusion of high tannins. In the Riedel however, the bouquet was incredible- fruit forward, cherry, plum, and very smooth with little tannin on the taste. I was sold, and a skeptic no more.

In conclusion, as an every day wine drinker, and a sommelier by no means, I would recommend investing in Riedel glassware for yourself (save your old glasses for guests). I am confident many people who think they don't like wine would be amazed if only they tasted it in the proper tool at the proper temperature.(I will test this theory out on my mother soon and get back to you.) Many who think they cannot pick up the nose and notes may find it wasn't their lack of senses after all, but rather, an improper glass.

You can also try out Riedel at their Taste Washington Seminar on Saturday, March 23rd! For $45, experience a hands-on tasting seminar and receive a Riedel 3-piece glass set ($98 value). Local Libation will be there, tasting right along side you. (Tickets:

Taste the Difference!