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gsquared

Wine glasses

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We hosted a dinner party the other day, and the discussion turned to wine glasses. I have been using tasting glasses for yonks as my wine glass of preference. One of the guests,somehat pretentiously, I thought, maintained that Riedel are the only glasses he uses. I have two questions:

1. How does one justify laying out for Riedel, given that my tasting glasses comes in at (loacl currency converted) $3 each?

2. How on earth does one maintain (i.e. clean) Riedel? With a prayer?

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We've mentioned the Spiegelau deal (don't forget to click the free-shipping option when you check out!) several times on eGullet, and this seems the best move for anybody who is interested in an excellent price/quality ratio. The improvement as between cheap Spiegelau and top-of-the-line Riedel is so negligible as to make Riedel almost a complete waste of money from an oenological perspective (as opposed to if you care about the subtleties of craftsmanship and such). There's no need to worry about these Spiegelau stems given that they wind up costing $3.75 each for the same glasses used in many of the world's finest restaurants and by many serious wine collectors. The dishwasher works fine, as does just washing them by hand and exercising some degree of care. IMHO, tasting glasses, if they are what I think you're talking about, are too small to display wine at its best.

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I've got more wine glasses than I should, 3 Riedel Vinum sets, 1 Vinum Extreme, and 2 Spiegelau sets. I wash all of them in the dishwasher but I do so with it empty only putting the wine glasses in on their sides on the top rack, setting the dishwasher to the rinse cycle and using the heated dry. I take them out as soon as they are done and finish drying them by hand. It works well and since I don't use detergent they don't get cloudy. If the glasses are actually dirty instead of just coated with wine I'll soap them with dawn before tossing them in.

I do find a noticeable difference between the Spiegelau Bordeaux glasses and the Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses. Ignoring the subjective issue of how the wine tastes from each glass, the Riedels have a significantly heavier base and are much better balanced than the Spiegelau’s, which are very top heavy.

Both options are good, but I wouldn't say they are equal products, however given the price I would recommend the Spiegelau glasses over the Riedels. Unless of course you don't mind the higher price tag for the Vinums.

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Here is a pic of the tasting glass I use.

glass.jpg

I have, of course, used various styles and grades of glass, but have to confess that I have not found much advantage to using larger glasses. Maybe I am missing something here? My argument has been that, if the tasting glasses are what is best used when tasting wine, surely the same is best for actually drinking it....

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if the tasting glasses are what is best used when tasting wine, surely the same is best for actually drinking it....

To the contrary, one purpose of the tight egg shape of an INAO tasting glass is to highlight the flaws in wine so as to allow for critical analysis. Whereas, a glass intended for hedonistic enjoyment should be designed to flatter the wine. You will absolutely notice, if you switch from an INAO glass to a proper Burgundy glass, that your pinot noirs show much better, especially in terms of the nose.

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This is an excellent piece on the subject at hand:
“The shape of the glass changes the taste of the wine,” he said.

Now that’s a simple enough statement on the surface. Simple enough, we thought, that it invited proof. “Show us,” we said. And so he did.

http://www.privateclubs.com/archives/2000-...ne_stemware.htm

Excellent article. At Copia we had a Riedel tasting hosted by Georg's son Maximilian Riedel. My experience matched what was described in that article to a tee. Including:

Likewise with the Cabernet. A sharp, awkward, angular wine (in the standard glass) was swiftly transformed into a wine with more defined fruit — all the tobacco, green olive, and bell pepper that the grape had to offer — and a longer, more open finish.

The glasses are only able to hide structural flaws; there isn’t anything anyone can do about the vegetal nature of Mondavi Cabernet.

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I always liken using bad glasses to buying a great stereo system then using cheap speakers. Yeah it works, but not up to the potential of the equipment.

I like the INAO glasses for tasting and also use them for sherry and port, but to me they just hold to little wine to use for serving at a meal.

You lose all the theatre of swirling in a big glass and say what you will the INAO glass just does not show off bouquet like serious glasses.

I do not recommend them for anything other than technical evaluation (and port and sherry).

I use a large assortment of Riedel but got them before they got hyper expensive. I have enjoyed the

Spiegelau glasses many times both restaurants and friends houses. There can be no doubt that Riedel has a better feel than any of the others.

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The glasses are only able to hide structural flaws; there isn’t anything anyone can do about the vegetal nature of Mondavi Cabernet.

Or, as the Mondavi's prefer to characterize it, not another California fruit bomb.

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The glasses are only able to hide structural flaws; there isn’t anything anyone can do about the vegetal nature of Mondavi Cabernet.

Or, as the Mondavi's prefer to characterize it, not another California fruit bomb.

It's funny how a yield of 8+ tons an acre off the valley floor and not another fruit bomb (aka bell pepper/asparagus) go hand in hand.

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After experimentation, I'm pretty much convinced that five types of wine glasses are all any geek needs:

Flutes, for bubblies.

Standard red wine (12.5-20 oz), for most reds and the biggest whites.

Standard white, about 20% smaller than the standard red. The primary reason for a smaller glass is that the serving is smaller and so has less time to warm up before it is consumed, or so it seems to me. Is this right?

Balloon glasses, 25-35% larger than the standard red wine glass, for Burgundies and other reds whose bouquet benefits from the extra space. Beware the hulking 32 oz and bigger balloons, however. Many wines, even Burgundies, get lost in them, and they're highly prone to tipping.

INAO tasting glasses, for Port, Sherry and some sweet wines, as well as for tasting, the main advantage being that using a standard glass removes the stemware from the analytical equation. They're also easy to swirl. Have to agree with the others about their shortcomings as tablewine glasses, though.

Appellation/varietal-specific glasses may make sense if you drink a lot of one type of wine. If I made Brunello, I'd probably be tempted to own some Riedel sangiovese glasses. But having played with various Riedels and attended one Riedel-led tasting, I find Riedel's claims exaggerated. And, though a big deal is always made about how their glasses direct the wine to the most receptive area of the tongue, what are we to make of that claim in light of recent studies that show that receptors for bitterness, sweetness, etc. are not specific to any area of the tongue? Psychological factors were obviously at play at the Riedel tasting I attended, and I left wondering whether the whole business wasn't first and foremost a brilliant marketing ploy, a way of upping sales by playing on consumers' insecurities.

Riedels are gorgeous but outrageously priced and the high-end stuff is extremely fragile; does your pretentious friend also insist that a Rolex is the only watch worth owning? Spiegelaus are a close-to-ideal compromise between cost, function and robustness. Crystal d'Arques' Oenologue series is excellent, too. Mikasa (sp?) has got good reports.

I always wash stemware by hand. Have heard good things about Crystal Safe racks, however, including from Riedel owners.

FG, are you sure the INAO tasting glass was designed to highlight the wine's flaws? I thought that was the big selling point of the Impitoyable series.

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FG, are you sure the INAO tasting glass was designed to highlight the wine's flaws? I thought that was the big selling point of the Impitoyable series.

I don't think the INAO glass was designed for that purpose in the overt way the Riedel tasting glass was; rather, the purpose is inherent in the concept of a standard glass that does not seek to flatter any given wine particularly. Kind of like viewing something under a harsh white light rather than whatever light would be most flattering to that particular subject. Of course it happens to be a flattering design for sweet wines -- could this in part explain the ridiculously high scores given to so many sweet wines by so many publications?

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Of course it happens to be a flattering design for sweet wines -- could this in part explain the ridiculously high scores given to so many sweet wines by so many publications?

Not a chance, this late harvest white zin would score 96 points in any glass! :laugh:

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does your pretentious friend also insist that a Rolex is the only watch worth owning?

aka the Texas timex.

I'm happily using Riedels- the burgundy glass for reds and the chardonnay glass for whites

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I usually use BORMIOLI glasses.

I prefer DEGUSTAZIONE for wine tasting. With friends: BORDEAUX for both white and red wines, and BAROLO for red kings. (The reason is I have not a lot of space into my dishwasher) :biggrin:

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I purchased the SPiegelau stems from Amazon.com and am very happy with them. I already had white Riedel Chardonnay glasses. I do recommend upgrading to one of these two lines to enjoy the wine you drink more...

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I love my Riedel glasses. However,....

We eat outdoors frequently, and drink wine even more frequently out on the porch or by the pool. Even in the Texas summer. For those situations I need/want a strudy glass. Has anyone tried the Oueverture series of Reidel? I have only heard the Vinum and Sommelier (sp?) mentioned herein.

I was thinking of trying the Ouverture for outdoors, travelling (picnics) etc. I thought the mold was the same, but the stem was sturdier and the material a bit different. Not the same but perhaps a good compromise. Or does this august group recommend the Spieglau for this purpose?

Confession: Having heard my mother dictum of "no glass by the pool, especially no wine glasses" for years, there is a part of me that wishes Riedel (or Spiegelau, for that matter) made high quality plastic glasses (if that isn't too much of an oxymoron).

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Either the Overture Riedels (essentially generic restaurant Riedels, right?) or most Spiegelau stems would be fine IMO as they don't cost $14, $20, $50 or more...

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Personally, I would shy away from Spiegelau glasses by the pool, they are top heavy. The Riedel overture glasses aren't a bad choice, they are reasonably thick and seem to be fairly sturdy. Several tasting rooms in the area use them and they hold up to the abuse.

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I wouldn't use crystal at all for poolside; I'd go with large, heavy, restaurant-supply-house glass. Minimum 12-ounces, preferably 13+, and the more mass the better.

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I have the Riedel Overture Magnum glasses. The Riedel Overture series, as well as the Riedel Wine series, are "non-leaded" crystal, or in other words just plain glass. I'm happy with the Overture Magnums, they're decent glasses and quite strong (have not broken a single one yet in a couple of years of use). But I paid about $6 a stem for them, and with the current Amazon deal on the Spieglau glasses, I'm not sure if the Overtures are all that great a value.

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Riedel now makes a commercial grade stemware in the same shapes and sizes as the other series of glasses. The salesman was proud to show me you can actually drum them on the table without damaging them in any way. Of course, they are breakable, but you really have to wing them onto the floor or against a brick wall to break them. They are also commercial dishwasher safe, provided you have the correct racks. Of course they are a bit thicker and less delicate than the sommelier series, but still, are very durable and make a nice presentation. They still "ping" wuite nicely when tapped. All for about $3.00/stem! In Pennsylvania, Lauber Wines is the distributor. Not sure about other areas.

Personally, at home I use the Spiegelau Grand Burgundy glasses. But they have to be hand washed. I'd always recommend the Riedel "tasting glasses" on the really short stems which makes them dishwasher safe, if you're lazy.


Edited by KatieLoeb (log)

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hummm. i'd been thinking for a while that i probably shouldn't be putting my riedel glasses in the dishwasher.

that said as long as my partner doesn't see (he throws a fit) and as long as they are placed in carefully with no other dishes, i haven't had a problem :-)

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I always wash my Reidel by hand. I figure if I spent that much money...

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