Have you ever discovered a wine that you absolutely love? You snap a photo of the label, or jot down a note about the brand and other details. A few weeks later you discover the same exact wine at a local shop, and can’t wait to get it home to enjoy it again!
But there’s a problem. You open the bottle, grab a glass off the shelf, pour, swirl, sip, and…
It doesn’t taste the same. The aroma isn’t there, the flavor is less vibrant, and… you just don’t love it like the first time.
Ah ha! You didn’t let the bottle breathe… duh. (Let’s assume it’s a red wine.) Yeah, that’s the ticket. So you let it breathe. While waiting, you stare at the bottle and consider giving it mouth-to-mouth. But instead you wait. Then you pour, swirl, and sip…
Still nothing. It’s tolerable, it’s just not the same.
You try a few more techniques that pop into your mind. Chilling the wine for 30 minutes. Pouring it through an aerator into a decanter. Whining about your misfortune on Facebook. (It probably doesn’t hurt, anyway.)
Finally, defeated, you stare at the glass of wine and decide that it must have gone to your head last time, and tricked you into thinking it was tasty.
Little do you know that you are looking at the problem. THE GLASS!
Your Glass Affects the Taste
Did you know that the same wine tastes differently depending on the shape, size, and even rim of the glass you are drinking from? Actually, if you want to get really technical… EVERYTHING tastes differently when drinking it from different containers.
It’s NOT just a conspiracy between all the fancy wine glass companies, although the idea of Professor Claus J. Riedel sitting at a table with Anton Müller and the founder of Spiegelau snickering to themselves about the greatest con in history does paint an interesting picture. Of course, they didn’t all live in the same time period, so that would be quite a feat.
But seriously. The size and shape of the glass will change the taste of the wine you are drinking. And along those same lines, certain glasses enhance the flavor of specific wines.
That red wine that you loved at a friend’s party or fine restaurant when served in the perfectly-sized glass may end up tasting muted or more tannic when served in the dinky glass you got for free at your local wine festival.
This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and buy a dozen different glasses in order to ever enjoy wine again. After all, I have a great t-shirt from the Wine Folly that proudly includes a Solo® cup as an option for enjoying wine.
Before you dump that entire case of wine (frankly, it’s alcohol abuse to even contemplate such a thing) that doesn’t taste the same as the first time, consider the vessel you are drinking from – it could be significantly affecting the aromas and flavor.
Personally, I really like this set of Riedel wine tumblers that my mom gave me for my 27th birthday – the type of wine that is typically enjoyed in each size is engraved on the bottom of the glass for easy recognition. But this Wine Spectator writer, James Laube, on the other hand says just using a high quality glass makes all the difference.
Megan Vogel is a bubbly marketing professional, living in Atlanta, GA. Wine, marketing, and humor are some of her favorite enthusiasms… along with Ikea, and pizza from her hometown of St. Louis, MO. To learn more, visit www.meganvogel.com.