What’s With The Stemware?

wine_glassDisliking the pomp and circumstance of wine has set me up as an outsider. I’m one who refuses to believe that wine was made for royalty and only royalty have the right to it’s magical equations and definitions. Yes, I hate elitists and those that won’t share what they know, the person who believes he or she has some divine right to this information because somehow they’ve earned it. However, if you do only one thing to enhance your wine experience, then invest in some decent stemware even at the risk of looking like a pompous ass!

Why? Because they work, that’s why. I have tried most major producers of glasses and believe the stemware of Riedel works as good or better then any others. George Riedel is a very interesting man and he and his son Max run Riedel as their grandfathers had before them. With focus on quality and detail, all of their upper line are hand blown to perfection. I know both men, have been to Max’s pad in New York and have had George over to my home. I can attest to their dedication but this is not an article about them. It’s about maximizing your enjoyment. Riedel, from time to time, puts on a tasting of stemware. That’s to say they match their glasses against others and show you why they work. I  went through this tasting and was somewhat skeptical at first. I left the tasting convinced that a glass is as important as the wine it holds.

Have you ever been to a great restaurant and the food is great, the company’s great, the atmosphere’s great. You order what you know to be a great bottle of wine and then they serve it in a clunker of a glass or a glass so small that as soon as you try to move the wine around to release it’s bouquet it flies over the side. What a bummer!  I have also found that you really don’t need a Chardonnay Glass, a Cabernet Glass and a Burgundy glass. I know this because I bought them all. But my glass of choice almost 100% of the time is the Sommelier Series Burgundy Glass from Riedel. This glass, designed by George’s father, has been the Grand Cru of tasting glasses for more then half a century. You can go to our web site, punch reviews or store and see a picture of this glass. But you will have to endure my mug also! Now I do use a champagne glass from time to time because I like the bubbles. But when I don’t care about the bubbles then I use the Burgundy glass.

Riedel makes some less expensive Burgundy glasses and they also work great. But the sommelier series glass is the best and it matters not what wine you pour in it. You will be rewarded by this king of glasses maximizing all aspects that particular wine has to offer. This is no small investment. They run between $75.00 and $125.00 a stem. The difference between Nieman Marcus or better put (Needless Mark Up) and your discount wine shop. But even the latter is not cheap.  Another thing to be concerned about, the stems break very easily if precautions are not taken. Normally this occurs when you drink too much and knock it over but it can easily happen during cleaning as well. Holding the glass by the stem and spinning it around while drying can snap it at it’s weakest point. But if you take the proper precautions you will be rewarded for years to come. Yes, I’m hooked and if you try one I believe you will be also!

So, remember, this holiday season if your husband tries to buy you a new toaster or your wife decides you need to change your look and buys you a new shirt, stop them before these zealots get carried away and demand a new glass for the true wine experience.

All the best, and don’t tell your spouse or significant other I was the cause of your uprising.

Good luck,


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