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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Re: How many wine glasses needed?

    I would also argue for quantity. Better to have a whole bunch in 2 styles than a few of 4 or 5 or 6 styles. Why?


    I rarely have any get togethers that require more than eight stems. But if I buy a pattern, I get 36 +. This is at least four times the number I expect to use in one night.

    Otherwise, it's not long till i've broken enough that I no longer have a matched set for company. If you are like me and buy at Costco or look for sales, you may no longer be able to find that pattern for a good price or at all. Of course, if you pay retail for Reidel, you don't have to worry about this problem - nothing wrong with that.

    Re your question: I am skeptical of the Reidel claims that their precise shapes are ideally matched for each of their varietal/stylistic categories. Just one point: the sensory variation among representatives of a single varietal is huge, even if you consider just the excellent examples.

    So, I say get two styles of glasses to start with, or (as said above) three if you like Pinot's. Later, if you have room and you are into it, you can get more styles as a splurge.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Indianapolis, IN

    Re: How many wine glasses needed?

    Based on your response, I really wouldn't worry much about glasses right now beyond a basic white and red type. I would concentrate on just sampling a wide diversity of wine to see where your tastes lie. Your timing is great since the 2005 bourdeaux is highly rated and has several good wines at the bargain basement level.

    While I'm recommending the current bourdeaux, I would caution about making the same mistake as I did when I started. The 2000 release was also rated high and I started my collection with a lot of that release. After about a year, I realized that Cabs were not my favorite wine by a long shot and that my tastes were more with the Rhone (especially Chateauneuf du Pape) and the Aussie fruit bomb shiraz (I also love the more suble French syrah (Cotie-Rotie) but don't like paying the price difference). So now I have some nice cabs aging for friends while I always pull other wines for me. Try all kinds of wines before making a commitment to a certain type either in stocking levels or glasses.


    BTW, I am a big propronent of the Riedel varital glasses. If anyone has doubts, I recommend a tasting where the different glasses are used with the same wine. It really shows the difference a glass can make in the taste of the wine.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: How many wine glasses needed?

    Minimum would be a smaller white glass, ie-Chardonnay, and a larger red glass, ie-Cabernet Sauvignon. Champagne/sparkling wine should be in a flute. I'm thinking about adding the larger Pinot Noir glass since I have some good PN's. Heck, Riedel even created a glass for Oregon PN's recently.

    Check out some on-line stores like Amazon, Beverage Factory or Wine Enthusiast. They frequently have free shipping and you don't pay tax, assuming you're not in their state. I've bought sets of Spiegelau glasses; they're a little less than Reidel and supposedly a little sturdier.
    "A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he's going to get sick on it."

  4. #14

    Re: How many wine glasses needed?

    My family is _IN_ to wine. In a big way. When we gather, we go through an amazing amount of wine without people getting blotto... Riedel is great, but there is no need for all the different glasses. We use the large glasses for big reds, we drink pretty much all reds except Pinot. Most of us don't drink white, but I have a set of white glasses at home for guests and such. They are much smaller than red glasses because white wines don't benefit from the surface exposure to oxygen like a big, aged red wine does. Finally a set of flutes for champagne is nice to have.

    I like to have a small set of glasses for port/late harvest wines as well. But if you are worried, a set for red and a set for white will cover almost everything, and a set of flutes for sparkling wines if you drink those. That's all you really need.

    "Oh Bother!" said Pooh as he slapped another magazine in his AK-47...


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Arlington, VA

    Re: How many wine glasses needed?

    Different wine glasses for each varietal is a scam. The "tongue map" nonsense about how each glass controls where the wine hits your tongue has been debunked. See Shattered Myths by Daniel Zwerdling (Gourmet Magazine, 2004):

    There’s just one problem: Studies at major research centers in Europe and the U.S. suggest that Riedel’s claims are, scientifically, nonsense. Starting with the tongue map. “The tongue map? That old saw?” scoffs Linda Bartoshuk when I reach her at her laboratory at the Yale University School of Medicine. Bartoshuk has done landmark studies on how people taste. “No, no. There isn’t any ‘tongue map.’”
    She and other scientists have proved that you can taste salty, sweet, sour, and bitter everywhere on the tongue where there are taste buds. “Your brain doesn’t care where taste is coming from in your mouth,” Bartoshuk says. “And researchers have known this for thirty years.”


    When Pelchat and Delwiche run the answers through a computer, the cold statistics tell a dramatically different story than Riedel’s tastings. The subjects couldn’t tell any differences from one glass to another in how fruity or oaky or musty the same wine smelled. The tasters did find a small but notable difference in how “intense” a wine smelled in different glasses, but—oops—it smelled less intense in the Riedels than it did in the cheaper glasses. More important, there was virtually no difference in how much or how little they liked the aromas.

    There are certain basic things that are important in a wine glass, but if you get a well-made glass with a nice large bowl so that you can smell and swirl the wine without spilling it, the rest is just aesthetic preference. People believe that Riedel varietal glasses are better primarily because of the power of suggestion - Riedel tastings are very persuasive, and people tend to be susceptible to this sort of suggestion when dealing with something so subjective anyhow.

    Now, entirely different types of wine may warrant different glasses. The vertical shape of Champagne flutes accents the sparkling nature of the wine (although remember when it was served in those really wide-bowled glasses?). Port/sherry generally is served in smaller portions, so can be served in a smaller glass. Red wine generally benefits more from oxygen than white (although not always - Rieslings, for example, sometimes benefit from aeration), so I guess a smaller bowl is ok for whites, but there's really no reason not to drink white wine from a red wine glass.

    I like the Mark Phillips wine glass as an all-purpose wine glass, but they are kind of fragile and can be easy to break if you handwash them.

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?



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