I was watching a television program the other day, and suddenly it hit me: I realized why my dad abhores/loathes/HATES eating off of paper plates.
It didn’t matter if we were eating hot dogs. Paper plates might have been asking for a fight. What does this have to do with drinking wine? Everything.
Stemware: It's not (just) a marketing ploy...
Remember in the last post how I linked to a wicked neat video about how wine glasses actually affect the way you taste the wine in your glass?
Evidence of this isn’t just on Youtube. One of our loyal and lovely patrons actually had this exact conversation with the paper plate hater. Our customer, “M.D.” was also a skeptic: Was it all a ruse? How could one wine glass be that different from another?
However, M.D. set about visiting Pinot Noir-ville in Oregon. At a vineyard, a sommelier served him one of their more popular wines.
What's In Your Glass?
It was okay, M.D. thought. He was then served another wine to taste, another pinot noir, in fact. This time, however, the wine was “phenomenally better.”
It was the same damn bottle of wine. Round two of the same pinot noir was markedly better because according to the server, the wine was served in it’s proper vessel.
Pinot noir is a great wine to experiment with the “Does Shape Matter” question… Because it is fairly high in alcohol content, is best served and understood apart from any food pairing, and is normally considered an aperitif (pre-food, not a dinner companion.)
So what gives? As that Youtube video didn’t come with captions, I’ll give you the sum-up on what is going on in that Snapchat rainbow, acid trip in-a-wine-glass fast-motion video .
In glass A (the one on our left) the wine is in the WRONG glass shape for it’s varietal. Let’s pretend it is a Pinot Noir. In glass B (the one on our right) the glass is the proper Pinot Noir ware.
What is happening with the colors is actually temperature and alcohol related.
In glass A, the wine is in the “wrong” glass at the “wrong” temperature.
In glass B, the wine’s viscosity, temperature and alcohol % are all comfortable in it’s little glass home. The result of this? When your nose meets the fragrance of this wine, the “nose” of this wine will smell the way the Pinot Noir makers intended it to be.
This, my friends, is the TL;DR of this post: The glassware one uses makes a major difference in the way the “nose” of the glass is presented. If you use the “correct glass” (or, not a coffee mug) the wine will hit your senses the way the winemakers intended.
This means the way the alcohol is dispersed through the glass, the way in which the bouquet of the glass meets the lowest 1/3rd quadrant of your face… the way the little wrist-flick, swirly action that people with their pinkies out do – It’s going to taste the way it’s supposed to, dammit.
But remember people – there are no rules!
I just wrote two contradictory things. And I did this on purpose. Why? Simply put, some people like pink moscato with a straw and three ice cubes. Some people like to drink their Josh Cabernet at the proper temperature, paired with steak.
Some people like to buy their white wine chilled to temperature, and some people like to add soda (*shudder*) to their “diy sauvignon spritzer.”
So, what am I saying here?
(Note: We don’t work for Riedel Sternware, nor do we get free cruises, or any incentive for prescribing the right glassware for your wine consumption needs. We are not your doctor, and we don’t want you to ask your doctor if Riedel Glassware is right for you.)
With that out of the way, Cranberry Liquors, The Paper Plate Hater and this writer would like to suggest this: M.D. thought, like I did, like most do, that having a vast assortment of wine glasses, martini stemware, champagne flutes… who cares?! We can stick our pinky out, we don’t look like college kids drinking out of Solo cups, and we aren’t hitting the bottle like a flask – WHO CARES?!
Answer: The people who spent all year tending to a crop of grapes.
And if there is one company who has done your homework for you, it’s Riedel (no, not the plumbing and heating company…)
Beyond the science of a youtube video, Riedel stemware gets into the history of wine glasses- which is actually pretty fascinating – from the architecture of the stem to bowl ratio, to the way in which their research has evolved with science, Riedel will make you smart about wine. If there is one website on the internet that will make you smarter about wine, it’s Cranberry Liquors: Http://spiritofharwichport.com .
If there are two websites on the internet that will make you a sommelier dueling ninja, they are Cranberry Liquors and Riedel – the wine glass company.
Remember that Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand you paired so painstakingly with that fish entree you slaved over for your soon to be in-laws? You asked the guy at the counter. He up-sold you on some chi-chi label with a koala. The grapes had grown planted beside lavender or eucalyptus such that trace notes of floral or menthol were included in the white wine’s “finish” (believe it or not, these are truths about vineyards and they actually change the wine’s make up.
The winemakers of this world, the legit ones, whose vintage matters almost as much, if not more so than the gauche label with the sad-eyed Koala and the “
Taste the Rainbow Save the Rainforest” label. Those are who care. This is why your glass matters.
So, what does this have to do with paper plates? Similarly to drinking out of the right glass, eating off of a paper plate… Thankfully, someone else wrote that article, expounding upon atmosphere, feeling full, eating the same thing but tasting it totally differently because of plate color…
In fact, I can sum it up for you… Have you ever scraped styrofoam with a metal fork before?