“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.”– Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate.
Who knew? The first time we heard this, we were skeptical. Like most of the US, it was hard enough switching from the random glass in the kitchen cabinet to consistently using A wine glass for drinking wine. The idea that you could “design” a glass to heighten the experience of tasting a specific varietal, seemed a little far fetched. Well, far fetched right up to the point of actually testing the premise.
A significant number of years ago, we were invited to a Wine Glass Tasting seminar at the Wine Company, a twin cities distributor of wine and Reidel Stemware. In fact, the seminar was to be facilitated by Maxmillian Reidel, the 11th generation Reidel to lead the Austrian manufacturer. While we decided to give it a whirl, we also decided that we go with with our skeptical caps firmly in place.
Wine was presented in plastic cups, kitchen glasses, generic red and white wine glasses and, ultimately, Reidel stemware designed specifically for the varieties of wine that were presented in the tasting. We started with the plastic cup and worked our way up the spectrum. Since the experience of tasting wine is equal parts taste and smell, the size and shape of the the bowl is designed either focus or diffuse aromas as well as influence the manner in which the wine lands on the taste receptors of your mouth. In relatively short order, our skepticism quickly turned to surprise and then outright wonder. “How in the world did they come up with this?” The propaganda was not propaganda.
Wines tasted dramatically different in Reidel glasses. Glasses for specific varietals and/or regions improved the quality of the tasting experience of the intended wine. A California cabernet tasted best in the glass designed for California cabernet. Not the glass for the French cabernet or the jelly jar. But, the glass specifically designed for a California Cabernet. Wow. I go back to my original premise – Who knew?
Since our first experience with Reidel, the wine accessory world has exploded with possibilities and opportunities. Countless entrepreneurs have been inspired and motivated by Reidel’s industry shaking premise that design has the ability to enhance experience. Fortunately, Reidel’s original premise has withstood the test of time. Their glasses still enhance the experience.
I’m reminded of this every time I have a sip of California cabernet from the Reidel glass specifically designed for the California cabernet. Brilliant. The grilled rib eye with a fresh crush of black pepper and a twist of Maldon sea salt is a story for another posting!
If you’d like to try the Reidel experience for yourself, we’ve got a class…..
$100.00 (includes a set of Riedel glasses)
Thursday, January 19, 6 – 8:30 PM
Location: Cooks of Crocus Hill, St. Paul
Register online, here!