I had a chance to find out the answer to this question when PartySugar and I were invited to attend a wine glass tasting hosted by Maximilian Riedel himself. There, the CEO (and 11th-generation Riedel glassmaker) introduced us to the company's latest collection, Vitis, and challenged us to taste and compare popular wines using the Vitis grape-specific glasses to decide if shape truly made a difference. Did it? Find out when you read more.
I was astounded by the results. In a plastic cup, none of the wines had any aroma whatsoever. Higher-alcohol wines required a bigger space to breathe; smaller, narrower glass bowls fostered a burning alcohol sensation on the nose and the eyes. Insufficiently-sized glasses cause various wines to have faults that they otherwise wouldn't have, such as overly mineral, bitter, green, or harsh characteristics. I left a complete convert, with the following takeaways:
- A wine glass pour should be no taller than three fingers in height.
- Don't serve wine too cold, otherwise, Maximilian says, "it'll close up like a flower does."
- 80 percent of wine tasting happens through the nose.
- Because aromatics are so important, never drink from a cup or glass that flares out; it will cause the wine to lose its bouquet.
If you aren't convinced just by reading this, then I encourage you to conduct your own comparative wine glass tasting. Does the size and shape of your wine glass affect your tasting experience?