a year, Lorelei Mustas tries an experiment with her customers at Vina
Mundi in Genesee Depot. She takes one of her stellar wines and then
pours it into four different glasses — a nice, vintage appropriate
glass, "a crummy, old, icky gramma’s glass with a thick, rolled
lip on it," a water glass and a plastic cup. "People were
amazed, and they really did understand how a good wine glass makes a
difference," says Mustas.
owner of Bottega del Vino, an artisan wine glass crafter, says he sees
the same thing in the glass classes he teaches all over the country.
"For people who think the glass doesn’t matter, they should try
a comparative tasting," Hall says. "The thing is, very few
people have the palate memory to remember what one wine tasted like on
one night in one glass, then the same wine in another glass two weeks
later. That’s why it’s so instructive to taste the same wine out
of two different glasses, side by side. It only takes a few minutes,
and really, I’ve seen this proven over and over again that if the
wine matters, so does the glass."
But given that
good wine glasses matter, which glasses should you buy? Should you get
the glass for Bordeaux vintages or go with a burgundy? Do you need one
type of white wine glass or should you buy for each varietal?
"You could get a glass for every varietal, and at some point, I
think it’s just too much," says Mustas.
For Mustas, she
says the four glasses she’d select would be a burgundy glass, a
Bordeaux/chardonnay glass, a riesling white glass and a champagne
flute, and she sells Riedel versions in her shop.
Hall says, for
the very beginning wine connoisseur, he’d recommend going with a
Bordeaux/chardonnay glass. "If someone wants just one glass, the
classic Bordeaux shaped glass works really well," he says.
"You won’t get the optimum experience for all the reds, but you’ll
do OK." The next glass he’d recommend would be a burgundy
glass, and then he’d recommend a delicate white glass. But for the
fourth glass, what he would suggest depends on whether the wine
drinker enjoys sparkling wines or fortified wines; if the oeneophile
prefers the latter, she would forego the flutes in favor of a cognac
Any fine crystal
maker should have these basic styles, but Mustas advises to stay away
from the stemless wine glasses. "Your hands will warm up the wine
in stemless glasses," she says.
The main thing
to consider when selecting glasses is finding versions with thin
crystal. "You should feel as if there’s nothing between your
lips and the wine, and the wine shouldn’t be coming over in a
waterfall over a big, rolled rim," Hall says.
stemware does is accentuate the aromas of the different wine varietals
so that you can optimally taste them. "Ninety percent of what you’re
tasting is actually aromas, and that’s the difference between
drinking wine out of a great glass or a cheap glass," Hall says.
No matter what
glass you sip your syrah out of, make sure it’s washed with no soapy
residue and dried using tea towels or flour sacks, which are little
cotton towels that don’t leave fuzzy residue behind on the glasses
(they’re available at Wal-Mart, Mustas says). "I always tell
people to rinse, rinse, rinse," he says.