January 18, 2010
I just attended a Schott-Zwiesel wine glass tasting with the Ontario Wine Society which was led by Michael Pinkus, “the grape guy”. The glasses are factory-made blown crystal without the lead; titanium and magnesium are used instead for environmental and health reasons, but the company soon realized that the glasses became more resistant to wear and breakage. The rep actually banged the bowl of a glass on the table several times to prove his point.
The tasting consisted of five wine glass shapes that we tasted each wine in – pouring the wine from glass to glass to taste the difference. The conclusion? Glass shape does affect the taste and aroma of the wine. For example, the cab-cab blend that I tasted was dusty and coarse until I tasted it from the Bordeaux glass. It was definitely interesting to taste the difference that each glass made to a particular wine.
The differences in taste and smell mostly results from the way the bowl shape directs aroma and the way that the wine pours into your mouth – although there is contention about the reality of a strict tongue map as glass-master Georg Riedel (rhymes with needle) would have us believe. I think bowl shape does affect general taste and may flatter one type of wine, but I think it is stretching the truth to say that there is a bowl shape for every varietal or blend. That is just marketing at its best (or worst – depending on your point of view).