Clear cut: Glassware

First published in Style Magazine March 2010

I didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself. The wine glass company Riedel conducts masterclasses around the world in which the same wine is served in a range of different glasses. It sounds like a marketing stunt, but everyone comes away from the tasting astounded at the difference the glass can make. It’s an exercise you can try at home, and you may just find that you’ll amaze yourself and your friends.

Choosing the right glassware is a simple way to improve your drinking experience. A well-designed glass curves in at the top to hold in the bouquet. The rim is designed to deliver the wine to the right part of your tongue to enhance the taste. A fine glass is better than a heavy, chunky glass as it doesn’t change the wine temperature when it’s poured. It also reduces arm strain during a heavy drinking sess!

And it’s not all about taste, smell and temperature. The colour of the wine will afford maximum enjoyment from a clear glass with no colour tint or cut crystal.

You can buy hundreds of different shapes of wine glasses, and many are matched to a specific grape variety. But the good news is that you don’t need to buy a different set of glasses for every type of wine you serve. A good starting set is a Champagne flute, a medium-sized white wine glass and a larger red wine glass.

I prefer larger glasses as you should never more than half fill the glass. This allows plenty of room to swirl and enjoy the aroma without an embarrassing accident!

When you wash wine glasses, rinse them thoroughly as the slightest residue of detergent will mess with a wine. If you store them in cardboard boxes, give the glasses a rinse before you use them as the boxes will make the wine smell cardboardy.

A great dinner set can really set off a meal, but the right glass will do more than that – it really will improve a wine. Try it for yourself.