Monday, May 14, 2007

On glassware and wine experience

I have never been a big believer in the Glassware cause. When I read that Riedel has launched their latest glass design especially for drinking Mavrodaphne or whatever, I usually ignore it.

However, I have been away for a week staying in what was otherwise a very nicely furnished cottage in Cornwall. Unfortunately, their choice for wine glasses was limited to a heavy glass beaker in the shape of a martini glass.

I didn't really care as we were not drinking expensive wines most of the time. However, when we did buy some better wines (including a Pipers Brook PN from Tasmania with thanks to David McWilliams at BinTwo in Padstow) the wines were obviously great, but really struggled to show their true colours.

It makes you wonder how many people are put off wine by a combination of selecting the wrong wine for the occasion (Zinfandel with Fish & Chips?), poor storage (reds stored next to the cooker!), wine faults and poor glassware. Any one of these could be enough to turn away those who did bother to open a bottle, and they are more than likely to turn up in combinations.

Of course glassware is the least of these, but it nevertheless shows that you need to consider many different issues if you are to understand how others see and interact with wine, even potentially minor and uncontrollable variables such as the choice of glassware.

Next time I'll pack some better glasses, just in case!


ploop said...

Like you Robert, I'm a little suspicious of the claims from Reidel. However, I did an extensive tasting with a Reidel guy once - the correct glass for each wine etc and I was sold.

I'm perfectly happy to accept that I was won over by the marketing speak - but I certainly convinved myself I could tell the difference!

Robert McIntosh said...

Yes, I hear a lot of people who say that, but I have never gone to the extreme and compared the various glasses.

I am sure one could tell some difference when comparing them side by side, but I am still not sure that justifies the expense!

The important thing is that as long as the glass is "OK" your enjoyment of the wine is not ruined, but a bad glass can mean you get nothing at all from the experience.

Now, if Riedel want to try and convince me too ... I'm willing to give it a go!