Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A High Glass Affair

It's official.  I’ve reached new levels of wine snobbery. In my last Grape Varieties class, we had a Riedel Crystal wine rep come talk to the class – a.k.a. a really great way to market your product to self-professed wine snobs! Doug Gerro, certified sommelier from C.A. Paradis in Ottawa was a fabulous guest speaker, and it turned out to be one of my most enjoyed classes, yet.

I mean, ok we all know that there are different wine glasses for specific wines – each one professing to bring out the very best aromas and flavours of a particular kind of wine. However, for the most part I’m with most of you: if the glass is clean, and large enough to hold a sufficient amount of the evening’s pick, I’m happy.

I must say though, I was blown away by what I learned.

We tried 4 different wines in 4 different glasses from the new “pulled stem” Vitis Riedel line … with a twist (I’m getting to the twist): Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve included most of these in my “Wines to Try” link above.

We first tried Sauvignon Blanc in the Riesling/Sauv Blanc glass. Aromas of green apple, stone fruits, citris, with just enough mouthwatering acidity and a long, citris finish. Yummy! The twist came when we then poured the remaining glass of wine in the Pinot Noir glass, and the wine tasted way more acidic, and not as yummy anymore. Similarly, the Cabernet glass, and our itsy-bitsy wine-tasting glass (fondly called the “joker” glass) didn’t do the wine justice at all.

We continued to do these little experiments with each wine, and each wine proved far better tasting with much nicer finishes in their respective glasses. Amazing!! (ok, I was excited).

One of the biggest things I learned, though and something I must impart to all my fellow Chardonnay drinkers: Chardonnays (the rich, buttery, oak-aged, luscious Chards) taste WAAAAAAYYYY better in a large-mouthed, wide glass. The kind of glass that wobbles a little when you go to swirl your wine! Who knew?! I kinda always went with the white wine = narrow glass concept. Wrong.

In the end, the glass does make a difference. I’d recommend looking for a Riedel or other fine wine glass distributor near you, and try it out for yourself! I’m currently saving my pesos for my next set of glasses.

Oh, and if you were ever wondering how to pronounce “Riedel”, it sounds like “needle” (not Rye-dell, like the name of the high school in the movie Grease!)

On a totally different note, I discovered some strange (and rather large) beetles “mating” on my grape vine leaves in the back yard. I’ve been growing two Niagara Riesling grape vines and training them to crawl up and over my back deck pergola for the last 5 years – more for the shade and beauty than eating or crushing. It turns out that these beetles are actually called Grapevine Beetles. I figure I must be doing something right in the grape growing world! Here’s a picture of the vines and the beetles. Until next time...

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