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The importance of using the right glass

Is there a right glass for drinking wine? Over the years we have seen quite a few wrong glasses. Let`s look at these first: Do you recall the old Paris glass with the stubby stem and small bowl? What a horrible glass that was, not just ugly and inelegant, its bowl so small and shallow it would inevitably be filled two-thirds full, as opposed to an ideal one-third; near impossible therefore to smell the wine`s aroma. Such a thick rim, too!  No wonder it became obsolete. Remember the saucer-shaped Coupe glass, used for Champagne, apparently designed in the image of Marie Antoinette`s left breast. Or so I heard! Presumably before the revolutionists chopped her head off. It was in truth always quite a pretty glass, just no good whatsoever for Champagne. Way too open-mouthed and shallow with too much surface area for bubbles. Then there was the “V” glass you find in department stores. Considered trendy they nonetheless lack bowl and open outwards, rather than inwards, letting the wine`s aroma escape.  So, what is it that makes a good wine glass? From what I have written about a bad wine glass, you may deduce that a good one would naturally need to have at least a small bowl and ideally incline inwards at the top; or it requires a chimney to help channel the wine`s aromas. The dual functions of swirling and sniffing are served by these design elements. Size doesn’t really matter, except on a wholly personal level I like a big one because it feels grand. But also – a big glass helps aerate the wine, giving it full expression. But we shouldn’t underestimate how important it is for our enjoyment of wine to use glasses which make us feel good. A thin lip. Light and airy. Elegant. Cristal. Nicely polished. Drinking wine first with the eyes and the nose. But also, by touch – the right balance, weight, feel. My absolute favourite is the Riedel `Vinum` Pinot Noir glass, but if you favour a big chimney try their `Vinum` Bordeaux. Enquiries welcome.

 

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