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The Wine Glassware Shootout
The story: Does glassware really matter when tasting wine? We decided to do some tests after receiving samples made by the German glassware vendor Zieher. And guess what? The results really surprised us.
The players:Zieher, Reidel, and your ordinary, everyday no name tumbler.
The evaluation: We sampled wines using various glassware, and used vendor recommendations on what wines to pour into every glass type. For example, we sampled a red Burgundy in the Reidel Vinum Pinot Noir glass and the Zieher Balanced (recommended for wines like a red Burgundy) glass. For kicks, we also poured wines in an everyday no name tumbler.
Details on the Zieher Brand
All glassware is hand-blown and come in six designs with the recommended wine types for each:
Price: 59-85 euro, so roughly $67-96 for a two piece set Glasses are theme and character specific, rather than grape varietal specific. Meaning the vendor distinguishes which glass to use based on the type of wine (powerful or fragrant) rather than color or grape. For example, you’d reach for their INTENSE glass if you had a powerful wine, and the BALANCED glass to showcase nuanced harmony wines, and the FRESH glass for lively, fresh wines.
Zieher glassware "Place Zieher Image here"
Details on the Riedel Brand
Glasses are grape varietal specific and come in many designs. We used the Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot glass, Ouverture Champagne Glass, and the Riedel Vinum XL (Oregon) Pinot Noir Glass.
Price: Varies, $24 and up
The results: Both Riedel and Zieher showcased the wines but there were subtle differences between the two. For example, the Zieher BALANCED glass acted much like a decanter, speeding the opening of the wine. The glass really accentuated a lovely high note on the Pinot noir flavors, which was not detected in the other glasses used in the experiment (e.g. Riedel or tumbler glass). Most wines were brightened and elevated when sampled out of the Zieher glass. But the biggest differentiator is the Zieher design, which are unique in shape, enhancing the visual depth and light refraction, giving it a very picturesque, pleasing element to the tasting.
Riedel did equally well, with different characteristics at the forefront. For example, the Riedel Vinum Pinot Noir glass picked up more of the rustic tones of the wine, yet the wine was a bit more closed. Overall, the glasses showcased the quality of the wine and represented their motto of enhancing aromas and flavors and translating the “message” of the wine to the human senses.
As for the tumbler glass, we were surprised how bad the wine tasted in the tumbler compared to the Riedel and Zieher. This glass almost cheapened the wine and made it taste average at best.
Final assessment: If you prefer simple glassware, you might not fancy the Zieher design. But if you saw this glass filled with wine from a distance, it would grab your attention… and once that glass made it into your hands, the aromas would convince you to take a sip… and that sip would lead to many more sips of awesomeness.
As for visuals, wine in a glass can’t get more aesthetically pleasing than with the Zieher. And it was no surprise to read the philosophy of Zieher’s marketing jargon, which calls out the importance of visuals, which supposedly maximize tasting senses.
On the downside, we found the Zieher glass a little intimidating in size for everyday use, although it would make for a perfect glass for special occasions and restaurant settings. It’s also very delicate, so you’ll need to be extra careful with cleaning and storage. I expect they won’t last long in a household that has a bunch of rough and tumble wine drinkers.
Overall, we give Zieher two thumbs up.
This blog post was originally posted on enobytes.com - The Wine Glass Shootout