Does Size Really Matter? In Wine Glasses…yes.

WSJ - Does the wine glass size really matter

Photo by F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

How particular are you with the glasses that you use to taste or drink wine? Does the size and shape of the glass really matter that much?!?!?

For those of you who have ever attended a seminar put on by Riedel, you’ll know that the answer is yes, size and shape do truly matter. I was amazed at the differences that I noticed tasting the same wine out of multiple glasses, including a plastic red cup. Why the red cup? It was meant to show what happens when you drink a wine at a picnic or somewhere else where wine glasses are not available.

The size and shape will help determine where a wine ‘hits’ your mouth – some will force the wine to the middle and back of your mouth, and some will land the wine at the front of your tongue. In each case, you have different taste buds present, and therefore a different ‘taste sensation’ will occur.

Same for aromatics – different shapes will lead to different aromatics being more or less ‘prominent.’

George Riedel explained it in a similar manner that a sommelier did in this article – that a wine glass is to wine as a speaker is to music. Great analogy, IMHO, as the glass can deaden or highlight highs and lows in a wine, can ‘pump up the bass’, or can ‘smooth out’ the treble a bit if need be.

At the end of the day, did this make me want to go out and purchase 4 or 5 different glasses for each of the different types of wines I like or produce?

No, it didn’t. Why? Because I’m a fairly practical person with limited budgets for such things – and because I’m okay with a great ‘all around’ glass that does a wonderful job for me.

What about you? How many different types of wine glasses do you have, and, more importantly, do you employ them all regularly or usually have a ‘go to’ glass?

Thanks for playing (-:


Word of the Day: Relevance in Wine


How does a wine or winery stay ‘relevant’ in the wine world today?


In order to answer this question, I think it’s important to narrow this down a bit and talk ‘specific relevance’. In the case of a small label like mine, there is ‘relevance’ in my local community with regards to my tasting room and getting visitors in; there is ‘relevance’ from a regional standpoint, being ‘noticed’ and included when the area is discussed and when reviewers or bloggers come to the area to taste; there is relevance at the retail level in the area – are on and off premise accounts familiar with the brand and have they tried it recently? And then there could be relevance at the national level – is the brand being discussed in national publications, is it distributed in other areas, etc.

We live in an increasingly more competitive wine world, where ‘new’ and ‘highly rated’ appear to be what drive ‘relevance’ often times. And once you’re ‘in’, you continue to be ‘in the loop’ – and those ‘out of the loop’ will find it more and more challenging.

Do you think this is true? What else do you think ‘defines’ relevance as it pertains to the wine world?

Curious to hear your thoughts . . . please comment below. Cheers!

What is Corked Wine?

cork taint  in wineTo get things rolling, let’s discuss a topic that I have enjoyed discussing elsewhere recently – faulty wines and bottles. The question always arises – how do I know if a wine is ‘faulty’ and ‘what should I do about it’? This is actually fodder for a NUMBER of different blog posts coming your way in the near future, but for now, let’s deal with TCA and ‘corked wines’.

First of all, how many of you truly know what a ‘corked wine’ is? There’s no harm in not knowing – it’s a term I used for a long time without truly understanding it. And everyone has different recognition thresholds for the chemical compound TCA (tri-chloro anisoles). To me and many others, it smells like wet concrete or cardboard. At very low levels, though, the aromatics of a wine are simply ‘robbed’ and you won’t smell a thing or simply ‘muted’ aromas.

Second, if and when you run across a corked wine, do you a) always return it to where it’s purchased; b) only return it if you purchased it locally; c) only return it if it’s over a certain price point: or d) never return it because you expect this to happen every now and then?

Please comment below…I’ll be waiting. (-:

Word of the Day: Authentic

There are so many wine words that are being thrown around these days, from the often-used ‘terroir’ to some ‘new but old’ phrases like ‘natural’.

Here’s one that I can wrap my arms around, and I’m hoping you can too. When I purchase a wine, I like to know where the grapes came from, how the wine was made, etc. I do NOT like to know how the wine is supposed to smell or taste – that’s for ME to determine.

To me, ‘authentic’ wines have a sense of place and time. They speak of vineyard, of vintage, and of winemaker ‘influence’ to some extent. They are not ‘heavily oaked’, because, to me again, this ‘covers up’ that sense of variety, vineyard and vintage. They tend to be more ‘transparent’ (another word I will touch upon later), and they are ever-evolving.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this – and again, please note that this is MY opinion only, and I’m not trying to imply anything further . . .