Selecting the right glass can be key
December 12, 2013 1:39 PM   Subscribe

 
If God had intended for me to drink wine from a glass, He wouldn't have put it in a bottle.
posted by Repack Rider at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


You mean a box, right? Mmm, Delicious Red.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Can the shape of your glass enhance the taste of the wine?

Not nearly as much as being told that it's expensive.
posted by kafziel at 1:48 PM on December 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wine and beer can be properly enjoyed out of nearly any vessel.

Whiskey, however, must either be consumed from a very heavy low ball or straight from the bottle.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am not a physicist, chemist or anything of that nature.
That said, unless you are talking about increases in nucleation points (for carbonated beverages), heat transfer (for all manner of quaffables), or more of a bell to capture the "nose", I chalk most of this up to ritual.

It should be noted, however, that I think ritual can be tremendously important and can absolutely effect perspective. Oddly, it took me getting a few years removed from organized religion to really understand that.

*edit - fixed a typo (many/manner)
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 1:52 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shepherd and I are avid beer imbibers, so aside from a pair of pint glasses, one oversized wine glass, one weizen glass, and four tulips, I think we're good (and even then that's a lot of pretty beer glasses for two people).

I just got rid of a bizarre amount of brandy snifters that he had accumulated pre-marriage as well as some ugly lowball glasses as well.
posted by Kitteh at 1:52 PM on December 12, 2013


For my own enjoyment, I have:
- normal and "special occasion" wine glasses, although I prefer drinking from the normal ones.
- Iced pints in the freezer at all times, although I usually drink beer straight from the bottle
- an assortment of rocks/lowballs. I drink from crystal scotch glasses sometimes to feel fancy or show respect to the drink, and only drink rye from this beautifully ugly handmade ceramic shot-type-glass my father-in-law gave me (which is of irregular size, to stymie my inner-counter)
- flutes for champage, and fancy coupes for special occasions

I'm a bit obsessive about the details of much of my drinkware, but that is far more psychological for me than it is "scientific"
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 1:58 PM on December 12, 2013


Wine in a box?

Up here in Montreal, we call that "Cuvée de Cardboardeaux". ;-)
posted by Jade Dragon at 2:01 PM on December 12, 2013 [22 favorites]


I do agree that you need a larger, wider glass for really nice wine. This is because breathing in a bit of the wine's aromas as you drink it really enhances the overall experience. You've got to get your nose in there.

Beyond that, the rest is just aesthetics.
posted by vacapinta at 2:03 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whiskey, however, must either be consumed from a very heavy low ball or straight from the bottle.


Whiskey is best enjoyed from a bottle or flask proferred by an old friend (or a brand new one.)


Scotch is best in a heavy lowball glass, sipped neat near the fireplace.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:04 PM on December 12, 2013


Not nearly as much as being told that it's expensive.

Proof that money can buy happiness.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2013


"I'm pretty sure that the right glassware can't make a bad wine good, but it can make a good wine more enjoyable."

Importantly, it can also make a bad wine more enjoyable.
posted by gurple at 2:13 PM on December 12, 2013


I think we, as a society, really need to stop pretending that wine tastes good.

The vessel from which it is drunk doesn't change the fact that it is basically garbage water.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


- Can the shape of your glass enhance the taste of the wine?

- Not nearly as much as being told that it's expensive.

- Proof that money
can buy happiness.

Or at least, the notion of money.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I drink everything out of jam jars because I eat a lot of jam.
posted by elizardbits at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Beyond that, the rest is just aesthetics.

Wine is almost entirely aesthetics! If I just wanted drunkenness and empty calories, I'd go for Everclear.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:15 PM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've often wondered why all of the beers at my local German bar come in distinctive glasses--though it does make reordering ridiculously easy.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:15 PM on December 12, 2013


I drink everything out of jam jars because I eat a lot of jam.

And you happen to have a surprising number of pik-i-nik baskets.

So you are a bear with a dapper hat and a tie.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:16 PM on December 12, 2013


Oh yeah, Prost has the "correct" glass for every beer. Though I'm not sure the giant boot really counts....
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:16 PM on December 12, 2013


But even when I could drink wine without immediate migraine death, I don't know that the proper glass would have made much a difference to my middling enjoyment of it, really. And by glass #4 even plonk tastes pleasant.
posted by elizardbits at 2:16 PM on December 12, 2013


Whiskey, however, must either be consumed from a very heavy low ball or straight from the bottle.

Or a whiskey sour bong.
Toto, we're not in college any more.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:19 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


BUT WHAT I REALLY THINK is that we cannot as a community be certain that these glassware recommendations are truly the best possible choices one can make. So therefore I propose that extensive testing be done over the next few weeks, and also everyone should submit their findings via short videos.

short hilarious drunken videos
posted by elizardbits at 2:21 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My cousin got married this year, and the theme of her wedding was WINE. Wine scavenger hunts, wine tasting class at the rehearsal dinner, wine wine wine wine wine in the heart of beautiful wine country. All underwritten by her father, a wealthy man who loves nothing better than the ability to be generous with his wealth and to oversee the whole affair like a monarch surveying his happy, wine besotted subjects.

Much was made regarding the shape of the glass enhancing the tastes of certain types of wine, and I recall none of it and neither does anyone else because .. well, there were five hundred bottles of wine.

I do remember my niece swirling her water glass to observe the "legs."

And during wine tasting class, when the instructor who was dressed like a magician from the 80s mentioned the flavor of minerals, my sister muttering "yeah, like mercury."
posted by louche mustachio at 2:21 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's good I have so many mismatched wine and cocktail glasses. elizardbits, let me know if you want to come over and conduct these experiments here.
posted by brina at 2:31 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


louche mustachio: in the heart of beautiful wine country.

Which wine country? I ask, because Sonoma and Napa are not the only hubs of wine in California, and definitely not the only wine country in the (U.S.) country.


brina: It's good I have so many mismatched wine and cocktail glasses.

Mismatched glasses is the only way to go. That way, when experiments do go awry, you don't feel bad for breaking up your set of glasses.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:34 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related: Placebo-philes.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:34 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is tasteless bordering on vulgar. Really! To drink wine from a glass! Positively ghastly. The true connoisseur knows that the only respectable way to enjoy wine is from a trough. A fine crystal trough allows for maximum aeration, in addition to serving as a natural focal point for the occasion. In drinking from a wine trough, one experiences the full range of the bouquet in an intimate manner. The tastes and aromas are allowed to intertwine. One may feel the richness of the wine not just on the palate, but on the lips, nose, and chin as well. The so-called "sippers" might as well be pouring the wine straightaway onto the ground—it is simply a dreadful waste.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:36 PM on December 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've got a ton of beer glasses but I'm none too fussy. Imperial pint glasses for those tall cans of Surly and the rest goes into either pint or tulip glasses. But I am sick to death of having to instruct waitstaff to not serve me a decent ale in a frosted mug or glass fit for only a kid's root beer float. Stop that. Now. Please.
posted by Ber at 2:39 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


the theme of her wedding was WINE

This is the theme of every wedding, is it not?
posted by Hoopo at 2:42 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This just strikes me as the Emperor's New Stemware.
posted by Danf at 2:43 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


or more of a bell to capture the "nose"

For wine, that's exactly all it is.

Personally, I drink just about all my wine from these wine tumblers. It's perfectly fine for the $10-20 bottles I tend to drink. And they're also the ideal size for most other things I drink. (I drink bourbon out of a coffee mug, because why not.)

Someday when I have a little more kitchen storage and a little more money to spend on wine, I'd like to have some "proper" glasses, but in the meantime the above are what everyone in Europe uses for ordinary table wine, so it's probably good enough for me.
posted by Sara C. at 2:47 PM on December 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Holy shit, Sara C., I have got to have those wine tumblers. Like, now.
posted by Kitteh at 2:54 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why not just drink wine straight out of the can?
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:11 PM on December 12, 2013


Secret: they are basically just juice glasses. But so pretty! And they don't have cows or oranges or anything on them, which feels a touch classier than drinking wine out of a juice glass.
posted by Sara C. at 3:15 PM on December 12, 2013


Juice glasses or no, Mama want.
posted by Kitteh at 3:17 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have friends that bought us these a number of years ago. The skeptic in me wants to scream bullshit everytime we use them, but damn they do influence the wine considerably.

Oh, and anti-elitists, you may knee jerk claim glass shape plays no influence, nor price of the stemware nor quality of the manufacture, but the fact is they do. Immensely. We've done blind tastings so that you are not influenced by the price of glassware, and everyone universally selects higher price glasses as preferred, and correct glassware does improve a wine.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:27 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't all glasses that have an opening at the top count as "breathable"?

Also the vast majority of all wine does not need decanting or aeration, anyway.
posted by Sara C. at 3:30 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just read the Decanter link in the Amazon review, maybe it is bullshit.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:32 PM on December 12, 2013


I don't drink much wine but I do know that Coca-Cola tastes better out of a glass bottle.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:41 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I got the wine bug about 16 years ago, and I have experimented with a lot of the wine-related ephemera like specialized wine glasses from Riedel, Spiegelau, and others. Generally, I find it a waste of money to get too into these glasses. However, my conclusion is that the shapes of some of the glasses will affect the flavor and aroma of the wines for which they are designed. I've more or less decided on a smaller glass for whites, a larger glass for stronger, tannic reds, a middle-sized narrower glass for fruitier or spicier reds like Zin and Syrah, and Champagne flutes so you can see the bubbles.

The differences are not huge, but they are noticeable, and as long as you are using a glass to drink your wine (and yes, I've drunk wine from a bottle without a glass and am not too proud to admit it), why not use the one that works best? Even inexpensive wines can benefit from this; don't fall for the reverse snobbism "jelly jars are fine for me" approach, because they just aren't, if what you are after is appreciation of the wine for its own qualities. However, there are social settings that place constraints on the need or desirability for connoisseurship, and I get that being all into the wine is not appropriate when it disengages you from the people you are with. So I suppose what I am proposing is, know your alternatives and choose wisely.

It's also perhaps worth noting that many folks who attend lots of wine tastings and don't like using plastic Dixie cups will bring their own glass, and they don't bring an arsenal of special glasses to taste each type of wine, so there is an argument for not needing specialized wine glasses, but that's not an argument in favor of always drinking wine from thick-walled cylinders, either.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 4:36 PM on December 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's not "reverse snobbism," ffs. I literally eat a lot of jam. I fucking love jam.
posted by elizardbits at 4:57 PM on December 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Aside from champagne flutes (which are to preserve the bubbles and funnel them up to your face for maximum bubble action), the only wine I've ever had which REALLY seemed different in a special glass is a good Sauvignon Blanc in a narrow-mouthed white wine glass.

That said, you could just have all white wine glasses and then you'd be set. I enjoy drinking bold reds out of the big goblets, but that's psychological.

Anyone who thinks they can actually taste the difference between something like a Syrah in a "Syrah Glass" vs. a regular red wine glass is high, sorry.

Even inexpensive wines can benefit from this; don't fall for the reverse snobbism "jelly jars are fine for me" approach

You know why jelly jars are fine for me? Because I live in a studio apartment with one cupboard for both food and crockery storage, and I don't have unlimited funds for 15 types of specialized glassware. It's really that simple. I'd rather have my perfectly good wine in perfectly good glasses and enjoy life than think of myself as lacking something. Or worse, actually not drinking wines I enjoy because I'd be doing it wrong.

That's why I'm so against the special glass stuff. It's just so needlessly elitist. Have a 5000 sf home and endless money for riedel crystal and $200 bottles? Enjoy! But drinking a $15 bottle out of juice glasses is also perfectly appropriate. Don't deny yourself something because you're afraid to do it wrong.
posted by Sara C. at 5:03 PM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you drink red wine more than occasionally and haven't tried decanting it, I highly recommend getting a decanter. It doesn't need to be an expensive one.

You might think that it's only necessary for expensive wines but it definitely improves cheaper reds.

On topic: I don't think it matters what shape the glass is, champagne flutes aside.
posted by citizenoftheworld at 5:28 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elizardbits I am not sure if you were aware but you can actually get wine jam and it is tasty, like two birds with one stone you could drink wine on a piece of toast
posted by Hoopo at 6:00 PM on December 12, 2013


It should be noted, however, that I think ritual can be tremendously important and can absolutely effect perspective.

We actually have data on this - a small ceremony before eating or drinking makes the food and drink taste better. The fact of the matter is that these things really work, but they work because tricking your brain works, not because of the shape of the glass or aeration or whatever.
posted by mhoye at 6:09 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact of the matter is that [ceremonies and rituals] really work, but they work because tricking your brain works, not because of the shape of the glass or aeration or whatever.

What happens if you know or believe this is the case, though? Will your ritual still have an effect if you know it's just a brain-tricking ritual?
posted by Western Infidels at 6:16 PM on December 12, 2013


you could drink wine on a piece of toast

I have F&M orange-whiskey marmalade and it is weird so idk
posted by elizardbits at 6:30 PM on December 12, 2013


Sara C., how does "Someday when I have a little more kitchen storage and a little more money to spend on wine, I'd like to have some "proper" glasses"

translate into

"That's why I'm so against the special glass stuff. It's just so needlessly elitist. Have a 5000 sf home and endless money for riedel crystal and $200 bottles? Enjoy!"

But I agree, drinking a $15 (or $10, or $5, or $200) bottle of wine out of juice glasses is perfectly appropriate. It is just wrong to assert that only one type of glass is correct for drinking the wine you like to drink, and I thought I made that point clear in my last post, while also trying to express my own experience that I have, in fact, notifed some differences in various wines when drunk from different shaped glasses (empbasis on "shape," not price). If what you can afford and have room for is a set of juice glasses (and wine is, of course, just fermented juice), then by all means, keep drinking wine from them. My "reverse snobbism" comment was not directed at you; in fact, it derives mainly from a very particular experience I had a few years back at an Italian restaurant in Chicago, Mia Francesca, where the waiter accused me of being a snob when I asked for nicer glasses, rather than the basic juice glasses they used for house wine, when I ordered an expensive bottle. I regret and apologize for my accusatory tone.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:45 PM on December 12, 2013


Here in the UK pubs will insist on serving your drink in a branded glass, no matter what it is. They apologise to you if all the branded glasses are dirty and you have to have a different brand's glass. I've never met anyone who gives a shit, beyond my best drinking buddy who specifies "in a straight glass" no matter what it is because it's easier for her to hold (she has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome). I have drunk 69 Lafite Rothschild straight from the bottle and excellent single malts from Nutella jars and box wine straight from the bladder and anyone who tries to tell you it makes a difference is delusional - it's all just an alcohol delivery system. Some are more enjoyable initially than others, yes, but after the first couple of drinks who seriously cares.
posted by goo at 7:18 PM on December 12, 2013


(Also, I do recognize it's not reverse snobbism to say that "jelly jars are fine for me to drink wine" if jelly jars are, in fact, fine for you to drink wine. I am sorry I wrote that; I apologize, and it was ill-considered and not what I meant. What is reverse snobbism is to say "jelly jars are fine for me, and therefore they are and ought to be fine for you, and everyone, for any wine on any occasion, because it's snobbish to spend more than a buck on a wine glass and you are delusional to think it makes a difference, even though I haven't actually thoroughly tested this theory." I've encountered people with that narrow attitude, including those who could choose to purchase any type of glassware they wanted. Sounds like a straw man, but it's not. And it's annoying.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:23 PM on December 12, 2013


goo, I envy you that '69 Lafite Rothschild, but how did you smell it straight from the bottle? Seriously, the aroma is half the pleasure in a good wine, don't you agree? Yikes; I'd consider that a lost opportunity.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:25 PM on December 12, 2013


In Belgium (where they brew good beer, suck it Germany), every beer has it's own glass. I don't care whether or not the shape of the glass enhances the flavor. It lets you catch the bartender's or waitress's eye from the other side of the bar, hold up your empty glass and point, then hold up your fingers for however many more your want. You'll get a nod and they'll bring you more beers if a minute or two. After which you'll say to yourself, "This is genius!"
posted by VTX at 7:47 PM on December 12, 2013


I am not going to comment on the wide vs. narrow glasses, as perhaps (I have not read anything one way or another) the way that aromas are spread through the air or the heat that comes from the way the glass is held may have some merit, but I will note that the shape and size of all Reidel glassware is based on complete and utter bullshit. Audiophiles have more science to back them up. If drinking from a high flight glass makes the wine taste better to you, go for it, but I am going to mock you the same way that I do people who buy $495 wooden knobs for their stereos to make it sound better. Because, honestly, if you're burning money this way, you might as well go for the truly ridiculous.

Or you could just be honest and go the KLF route.
posted by Hactar at 8:25 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


how does "Someday when I have a little more kitchen storage and a little more money to spend on wine, I'd like to have some "proper" glasses"

translate into

"That's why I'm so against the special glass stuff. It's just so needlessly elitist. Have a 5000 sf home and endless money for riedel crystal and $200 bottles? Enjoy!"


I would like to have a set of champagne flutes and some wine glass shaped things.

People who actually think one shouldn't drink Shiraz out of a Cabernet glass are elitists.
posted by Sara C. at 9:44 PM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's easy for the boundaries between snobbery and accuracy to get blurred here. Part of what can make a wine enjoyable is the smell. Part of what makes a wine taste good is the smell. If it's possible for a particular kind of glass to deliver that scent to you nose better than another glass, then it will probably make the wine taste better.

It's not snobby to claim that wine tastes better out of a proper glass. It is snobby to claim that it must be.

I've drank wine out of all sorts of things, and have done blind tastings in different glasses, and the glass definitely makes a difference. But then, just because fish and chips should be eaten on a beach doesn't make it wrong to eat them in a cafe.
posted by twirlypen at 1:04 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who actually think one shouldn't drink Shiraz out of a Cabernet glass are elitists.

Fortunately, there are not very many of those people, and at least I find them easy to ignore. They tend to prefer their own company. For what it's worth, I haven't actually owned a "Shiraz" glass for at least five years, when I broke the last one I had, and I don't plan to replace it now ... but I mentioned it because when I had the glass, I thought it made a small but noticeable difference with Zin and other spicy scented wines, which are my favorite types of wines. My wife naturally thought I was mildly insane, but she humored me, because she is kind. Now I'm just using a handful of mismatched wine glass shaped things (a good description, there) that I can buy from dollar stores and Target, and I am happy at last.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:44 AM on December 13, 2013


Sara C.: the vast majority of all wine does not need decanting or aeration, anyway.

I disconcur. I wouldn't consider myself a wine snob or expert of any sort, but I've had issues with drinking some red wines without giving them time to decant or aerate. Recently uncorked, and I and my fellow drinkers get some heartburn from certain wines. Given time to "breathe," and the issue is lessened. Mind you, the amount of unpleasant reaction differs from person to person, so you might select wines with less tannins, or be less susceptible to such reactions.

I was going to promote the Rabbit Aerating Pourer, but it fared really poorly with a blind taste test, especially compared to the Vinturi aerator, though I find it hard to believe that heartburn or internal discomfort from drinking recently uncorked red wine would be something you could "think" away (via use of the Rabbit aerating pourer).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plastic cup. Crazy straw. Done.
posted by Foosnark at 7:55 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it's possible for a particular kind of glass to deliver that scent to you nose better than another glass, then it will probably make the wine taste better.

The problem is that the actual degree to which this occurs is not nearly as dramatic or extensive as wine glass makers would like people to believe.

The interesting thing about wine, from a marketing perspective, is that it's seen in the US as something to "get into", not something to just drink whenever. This means you've got this whole market of middle class striving types who want to be seen as Properly Enjoying Wine, who are willing to spend an awful lot of money on toys in order to do so. The vast majority of products sold around wine are meaningless.

Now, there is some truth to some of it. Decanting certain aged red wines is vital. Drinking sparkling wine out of a juice glass is no fun at all. Strongly aromatic whites do well in a white wine glass, because the scent gets broadcast directly to your nose. Pouring a glass of Cabernet into a large goblet helps to aerate it a little bit, which can make it taste better in the right circumstances.

But mostly, really, it's absolutely fine to just drink simple wines out of whatever type of glass because you want to. You really don't need all the gear, or most of the knowledge. Stop trying to Get Into your wine and start fucking drinking it.
posted by Sara C. at 9:15 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Beer glassware is not immune from the pretensions of wine.

Unlike wine glasses, however, the shape of a beer glass isn't solely designed for the drinker's sensory enjoyment. It's to accommodate the foam of a properly poured beer. That's why tulip and weizen glasses are shaped that way.
posted by sixpack at 10:38 AM on December 13, 2013


I dont see how its pretentious to not want to drink a 12 percent russian imperial stout out of a pint glass.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:29 AM on December 13, 2013


You guys are forgetting that Shiraz tastes like wet cardboard 90% of the time.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm in France. What you drink your wine out of is far less important than whom you drink it with.
posted by Paris Elk at 11:11 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


My experience is that wine taste is somehow affected by the glass. I think it is the nose and the fragrance. For me, a wine needs a bowl-like shape (my guess is to expose the maximum surface area of air exposure, and allow for the nose to get in there too).

Also, I need a stem to hold the glass. The heat from my hands most definitely changes the feel of the wine as I sip it, sometimes better, sometimes worse, depends on the wine. With a stem, I can manage the temperature of the bowl as I see fit, I can hole it by the bowl to make it more warm, or by the stem to maintain.

I like big bowls and I cannot lie. A small wine glass affects the taste of those wines that need to breathe.

Plastic cups are out of the question, as is boxed wine. With boxed wine, I can taste the plastic. People tell me this is bullshit, maybe even psychological, but still, I cannot drink boxed wine.

Wow. I sound kinda like a wine snob. But I assure you, I am not. I enjoy a good wine from time to time, but I also stock up after Christmas with Electric Reindeer from World Market when it goes on clearance, which is a majority of the wine I drink - sort of "MonkeyOnCrack house Wine."
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:20 AM on December 15, 2013


i drink cheap wine out of a juice glass because it's harder to knock over when i inevitably start dancing with the cat
posted by salix at 4:10 AM on December 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


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