Riedel Wine Glasses -- need advice on purchasing
I'm about to bite the bullet, throw away my now odd numbered, mismatched Crate and Barrel wine glasses and invest in some nice Riedel ones. I have a couple of questions I'm hoping the experts can help me with. The choices are overwhelming, I'm hoping to just buy a set for red wine and a set for white wine. On most sites, they are listed for specific reds and whites, way too highbrow for our needs. Can anyone recommend which styles would be best for a broader range of wines? My husband favors the bigger bowls for red wine, but it seems like Riedel doesn't think those are right for red wine. Is that right? Finally, if anyone has any recommendations on where to get them cheapest online, I'm all ears. Thanks in advance for your help with this!
You had a lot of responses, but I didn't want to read all, so if I am repeating someone, forgive me.
Go to any store and handle the glasses and see what you like, I find one style I like and use them everyday. (Don't report me) Love the stemless ones for everyday.
Before you buy Riedal, it is a commitment, you can look at them wrong and break them. you have to hand wash them in the sink by itself and then be careful in the drain.
cheapest place is Amazon, especially with the free shipping.
I have a rare genetic disorder that makes me LOVE handwashing dishes, especially wine or beer glasses. I admit it: I'm a freak. The base, the stem, up and around the bowl, and down inside. And the rim, I LOVE a thin, thin rim. It's fantastic! You have to have really hot, hot water, and enough soap to cut the grease, and you can tell you've done it right when the water sheets off.
A couple of minutes upside down on a clean towel, then a few more right-side up, then a quick polish with a nice piece of much-washed linen (oh, that rim again), and there you are.
Makes getting clean almost as much fun as getting dirty, I think was the old Mr. Bubble slogan, and I feel the same way. Dishwashers are bad for your glassware, and no fun at all.
No, that does not mean I will be coming over to your house! Unless I can have free rein inside your wine cellar....
It is amazing how many types of wine glasses there are....and even narrowing it down to Riedel then you are faced with the different qualities of Riedel. I'd recommend trying the ones you feel comfortable within your budget. Then go back and buy more of the same line if you are happy. Amazon.com does have great prices and usually a free shipping offer as well.
I'll join the chorus for Riedel Vinum. Great glasses, but I don't buy the marketing hype over all the different shapes directing the particular flavor components to just the right spot on the tongue, yadda, yadda. Go to a place that has most of the different shapes/sizes and pick one of the larger ones that appeals to you for the reds and one of the not-so-larger ones for the whites. Or just get one size/shape for both - it's not that big a deal.
Yuck, wine (and beer) glasses don't belong in the dishwasher. The detergent leaves a film. Wash your glasses by hand in the hottest water you can stand until they squeak, and until the water sheets smoothly off of them instead of spreading around (which means grease). Dishwasher detergent also microscopically scratches the glass.
Get big bowls for red and small bowls for white. All the rest is fooferaw. Spend your money on wine, not fancy glassware. The mechanics of glassware is actually extremely simple: thin rim, stem, enough bowl you can get your nose in, mouth smaller than widest part of bowl, widest part of bowl about 1/3 of the way up: your basic wine glass shape.
All this business about special shapes making every varietal under the sun taste "better" is made-up crap from the glass makers trying to sell you glasses. There are special shapes associated with certain regions, but they are historical in nature, not gustatory; it's no different than the shape of Burgundy vs. Bordeaux bottles.
Professional tasters use a standard glass made to an ISO standard which is considerably smaller than most of the glasses Riedel or Spiegelau makes, and they use the same one for everything, for consistency.
My faves, for purely stylistic reasons, are iitala essence.
I was in your situation not so long ago...I really wanted to get equiped with Riedel glasses...and actually ended up buying Spiegelau glasses. They are 1 or 2 dollars cheaper each, but they are actually better according to many specialists and they get better grades. You should look it up!
Excellent advice from Nick, Midlife, Chris Weber and others above. Not to be too redundant, but depending on your wine preferences, you might consider three glasses from the Vinum line: one for Pinot Noir, one for Cabernet Sauvignon and one for white wines. The Vinum "Bourgogne" is great for Pinot, and also works well for Barbaresco, Barolo and similar varietals. The "Bordeaux" is outstanding for Cabernets, Merlots, etc. For whites, I'd go with either the Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc glass, according to your tastes.
Notwithstanding those recommedations, I agree that the 13 oz. "Chianti Classico" (aka "Zinfandel") is one of the best all-around red wine glasses, and I love my Sommeliers "Bordeaux Grand Cru" glass for tasting any and all fine wines, young or old. They are indeed rather delicate, though. I broke one once just shaking water out of it.
I have the "O" series stemless wine glasses which I love. They may not be preferred by true oenophiles because holding the glass by the bowl warms the wine, but...who's really that particular? Anyway, I really like them. They are harder to knock over and have a nice modern look. I think they're also dishwasher safe. I have a set of reisling/sauv blanc for whites and cab/merlot for reds. You can get a pair at Bed Bath & Beyond for $20.
I have 2 sets of wine glasses. Okay, a couple odd ones like flutes too, but 2 main ones.
One cost me about $2 a stem at the local cheapo housewares store. They have a good sized tulip shape and I use them for everyday drinking, and for white wines.
For my best reds though, which I have spent the bucks on, I want the best glasses. Otherwise, I feel like it doesn't make much sense to spend $50-100 or more on a great bottle of wine, because the glasses do have a big effect on the taste and enjoyment.
I have the Riedel Sommelier series Burgundy glasses. I got a decent price from Brown Derby in Missouri (mail order) on them, but they still cost about $60/stem. Yes, they have a big bowl, you can put a whole bottle in a single glass. They are hand made and fragile, you can bend the glass in your hand. I've never broken one (touch wood), but other people say that it's not hard to do.
But for any, not just Burgundy, mature red, they are great. For an older wine, you want to enjoy the bouquet and that huge bowl is great for that. They are the best widely available glasses you can find that I know of.
The Vinum series are good glasses too, just not quite as good.
If by "bigger bowls", you are referring to the rounder-shaped large bowl glasses (as opposed to just a larger overall glass size, I find that they are most often recommended for Pinot Noir. In general, though, I would agree with the other responders who say buy one for whites and one for reds...... and the red glasses should be significantly bigger than the white.
I am acquainted with one of the two-dozen Masters of Wine in the US (highest level of wine certification), and he tastes almost everything in a Riedel Zinfandel glass. This shape is actually a lot narrower than what I would call a 'big bowl'.
Bottom line, though, is the same as for drinking wine. Whatever you enjoy the most is the right answer.
Hope that helps.
zin is tougher to find, though i agree with your assessment... the sb is a great glass--we got lots of those for wedding presents, and they're great everyday glasses. i love the tempranillo stems just for sheer aesthetics, but they are a little more delicate and easily broken, much like the burgundys.
What kinds of wines, white and red, do you drink most often? Knowing that might help me give some more advice. In the meantime... While I don't think it makes sense to get a set of glasses for every type of wine you might ever drink, I think it does make sense to get the ideal glass for your favorite wine(s) so that those will be at their best. What I would generally recommend is the following: get one (or perhaps two) glass for each color that matches closest with the wines you drink most often. Drink mostly pinot noir and chardonnay, get two two glasses and use them for everything else. Drink mostly sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon, get those two glasses.
For example, I drink mostly sauvignon blanc, riesling, and other crisp whites, pinot noir, and Italian reds. So I have the Vinum Red Burgundy (416/7), Zinfandel/Chianti (416/15), and Sauvignon Blanc (416/33) glasses. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably not bother with the Zin/Chianti glasses. While I do notice a very slight difference in how a wine will taste in the /15 versus the /33, they are very close and could easily substitute for each other most of the time. If I had handled them in person first instead of buying via mail order, I probably wouldn't have bought both. But I have them now and I'm happy with them.
But that said, I think the Vinum Zinfandel/Chianti (416/15) glass is probably the most versatile of the Vinum. Most wines, white or red, will do fine in them. They're also shorter and sturdier, I've broken only one of those to several each of the S.B. and Burgundy stems.
"My husband favors the bigger bowls for red wine, but it seems like Riedel doesn't think those are right for red wine." As far as the Vinum line go, this is not true. The Red Burg, Bordeaux, and Syrah glasses are quite large. The photo lineup on their website doesn't look to scale to me. For example, the Bordeaux glass is 21oz while the Zinfandel is 13oz. This is another good reason to see them in person before you buy.
Go with the Vinum, as suggested earlier.
If you are set on splurging on Riedels and would like something that is worth collecting and want to keep for those special occasion wines, then stay away from the ones sold at Target. They're cheap, but I've seen them at the stores and they definitely look and feel cheaper than the Vinum. I think they are called Advant series (never really heard of them except those sold in Target).
Reidel has a "restaurant" series that goes in the diswasher. It is plenty high-end enough for all but the snottiest imbibers. (They aren't your friends anyway.) eBay has them at good prices.
Several years ago, I started buying averything like this by the dozen. Takes longer before you break enough to get down to not having sufficient to set a decent table.
I second the Restaurant line. Usually available to only those in the business, you can now get them on EBay as MakingSense said. You can dishwash them without fear and they have shorter/fatter stems for added durability. I would recommend the Shiraz glass for most reds and the Sauvignon Blanc glass for most whites. If you are a Pinot Noir lover, you will want to get these glasses too.
I agree with Winemark, the Vinum series is probably the best price/quality ratio. The chardonnay series is good for whites and I like the burgundy glasses for both reds and whites, too. Amazon.com has a good selection, plus you can read some consumer opinions plus see pictures.