Sep 1, 2012

The Wine Glass

While rinsing out a used up Vegemite jar, it occurred to me that there was a time, when once all the wonderful Vegemite was gone, this vessel would now be considered a viable beverage container. Not just for milk or juice or cordial, but also for beer, bourbon or wine.
 We know, we can hear the global collective gasp of drinking ponce’s everywhere particularly the wine ponce. Maybe wine from this era gone by, was more easy going and did not need to be served in the 'just so' perfect type of specialty glassware for each and every type and style of wine. Maybe science has targeted the humble container for our drinking pleasure. Or maybe this is just a huge marketing ploy! One company makes over twelve different styles of glassware, for two hundred and fifty or so different styles of wines, brandies and cognacs!

Bloody Nora, we don’t know about you, but we feel that someone’s got a few roo’s loose in the upper paddock if they feel the need for ten percent of this many glasses. Fair dinkum, this has overkill written all over it. Now we at WineWalkabout have been accused of being glassware snobs ourselves, and in some ways we probably are. But to have even a single glass type for the six most common wines consumed could lead to some financial and storage issues. Think about it. Doing a vertical of three vintages with four people requires twelve glasses. We think a good versatile set of twelve is a minimum. But if you need that for say as few as a half dozen varietals you’re in trouble. Do the math, that’s six dozen glasses or seventy two for you more literal folks. That's a lot of stemware!

So more to the point of one’s ability to purchase and store this mass of glassware, is do they make a difference and do you really need them? We are strong believers that an appropriate glass makes for better wine enjoyment. But we start to get a bit sus of the every glass is fine tuned to every grape. With the possible, and we stress, possible exception of the super human detecting abilities of some well trained Master Sommeliers whereas the rest of us mortals would truly struggle to detect any real difference. The second part of that is even if there is a difference, do you need to have it? Is it better or is it just a bit different?

We’re guessing almost everyone’s parents or grandparents have some heavy cut crystal wine goblets. This all started to change in the late fifties when Mr. Riedel started to produce glasses that were thin-blown and unadorned. They reduced the design to its essence: Bowl, stem, base. They made stemware which was functional as well as beautiful, and made it according to the Bauhaus design principle: form follows function. This was the start of what has today become, we believe, a little bit more of a marketing exercise than a form and function one.

Now we do admit that the style and shape of a wine glass does affect the detection of aroma and taste, and that perhaps, for the serious drinker, some amount of balance is in order. We also think that generally for us average Blokes and Sheilas, two sets are probably more than enough, with perhaps a set for sparkling.

Choosing a wine glass has gotten to be more complicated than knowing which fork to use at a fancy dinner soiree. While there are many different kinds of glasses for many different kinds of wine; flutes for sparkling, small glasses for dessert wine, and that multitude that deliver specific wines best to specific taste buds and so on. The one thing that is for sure is everyone needs a good, solid, everyday glass to use for both reds and whites without thinking about it. You know, the kind of stemware you just reach for from the cupboard without a thought when you come home after a long day. That’s what we were looking for.

We are glass snobs to a point. We know it because we hate those six ounce thick rimed glass’s that show up on your table full to the brim. There are not too many things that are more likely to get us all sarcastic and snarky than to take a couple top notch special bottles to a restaurant for dinner and get a glass you may put juice in. All thick rimmed and orange shaped. Yes we will, and have, asked for new glassware! (ponces!) If you don't have any we wont be back...

We feel that a nice thin rimmed fourteen to eighteen ounce glass of perhaps a Bordeaux style would fit the bill (sorry vegemite jar). Then if you wish perhaps a set of something that is a bit more specific to the wines you drink most or for special occasions, or simply to impress those poncy wine friends you should have them.

So look, we have been tossing our opinion about when basically it’s whatever you’re comfortable and happy with that allows you to enjoy your wine. So enjoy that washed out vegemite jar or your $125, thirty seven ounce Burgundy Grand Cru glass and don’t worry about us opinionated glass ponces!

Kiwi & Koala

In pert duex, we will look at stem-less glass ware and other options. We will also look at the appropriate way to take care of glassware.

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