What's in a wine glass?

May 24, 2012

I had a customer in our Livery street shop the other day. He said something interesting that I thought was worth pontificating over. He asked me a question; “why do you have those funny little wine glasses for tasting?” You'll have seen them in the shop, those little funny shaped glasses on the tabletop which you can really only fit one mouthful of wine. We call them ISO glasses, that's International Standards Organisation.

ISO describe themselves like this:

“ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 164 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. Therefore, ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society.” - Fascinating I know.

 

ISO have designed these glasses to uniformly show different wines in the same way, that is to say, they don't lend favour to any particular grape, style or region. They're uniform in how they affects wine, which is fantastic for tasting and comparing wines against each other. The problem is that they're uniformly bad.

 

Riedel, on the other hand, are a company making glasses to suit particular wines. The Pinot Noir glasses they produce are designed fit Pinot wines, as are their Riesling, Cabernet and Viognier glasses to name but a few. The problem with these is that they're prohibitively expensive.

 

I'm not saying that you should or shouldn't spend a weeks wage on Riedel glasses, but it's worth thinking about getting some nicer wine glasses for this reason. You cannot turn a good wine into a great one by putting it into a good glass, but you can miss out on something a great wine has to offer by using a cheap wine glass.





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