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Wine Glasses...Is there a difference?

  • k

Help! I'm searching for the perfect wine glasses for my parents. Avid wine drinkers - who prefers Syrah, Shiraz, Zins and Cabs (no white in their house). Personally, I use Spieglau (and haven't broken one yet - fingers crossed).

Would you wine aficionados suggest Riedel instead? I'd like this to be a great gift!

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  1. The high-end Riedel glasses are gorgeous but fragile objects. Buy them if you think your parents would like their look and feel and not object to washing them by hand or acquiring special racks for the dishwasher. Don't buy them because of the marketing bunk that they make wines taste better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      No special rack in the dishwasher will do away with the LA region's hard water stains. I'm afraid it's either hand wash or hand wash, at least for me...

      1. re: carswell

        I agree that no glass can make a wine taste "better" but in my experience one can taste "more" of the wine and have a better overall drinking experience with a quality glass. A bigger bowl allows for more nose (which enhances flavor) and a thinner lip allows for almost seamless transition of wine from glass to mouth.

      2. I have several dozen Reidels in my home. Two to three dozen for nearly each varietal. Clearly I disagree that their hypothesis is marketing bunk. I've actually served the same varietals in different glasses to blindfolded people to test it out and they do make a difference.

        In my opinion, the strength of proper stems come primarily from how each bowl holds the bouquet, and the design of the lip on certain stems can help direct the wine to areas of your tongue which enhance certain varietal indigenious flavors. The strongest benefit I've seen however, is in the nose.

        Given the varietals that the OPs parents like, I would suggest the Vinum line from Reidel. Not quite the expense (or delicacy) of the Sommelier line, but excellent glasses. I would get the Bordeaux/Cabernet stem as a good all purpose red wine stem. If the OP wants to mix it up a little, then maybe get a four pack of the Bordeaux/Cabernet stems and a four pack of the Burgundy/Pinot stems... that way you have good stems that cover the majority of red varietals. If you want to really go all out, get the Sommelier stems, but the cost will be dramatically higher. One thing - this is my opinion only - stay away from the gimmicky "O" line of Reidels, in my opinion, wine glasses have stems for a reason.

        5 Replies
        1. re: woojink

          The Vinum line is what I was contemplating. Thanks for the suggestion of mixing up the 4-packs. I agree with your comment about the O line. That's not my idea of enjoying a fine glass of wine.

          Thanks for all your help everyone!

          1. re: Kwsty

            I love my O glasses! They are cheap, and the stems don't break. You can throw them in the dishwasher. I wouldn't set a formal table with them, to be sure. But how much can you enjoy your fine wine if you are afraid the expensive glass is going to break either while you're pouring, or while you're cleaning up?? Get your parents the Vinums look woojink suggested, but don't discount the O series for everyday drinking. Stemless glasses have worked for the French and Italians for a long time.

            1. re: Dr. Debs

              I have 2 problems with the O line.

              1) I prefer not to let the 98.6 degree temperature of my hand affect the temperature of my wine.

              2) I find them difficult to swirl to maximize the aroma I get out of the wine when putting my schnoz in the glass. (This is a particular problem for young wines, which I drink a lot of.)

              I fully admit to being a wine-snob where my own interests are concerned. (ie, I know I'm insane, but I just really love wine and it is a major part of my life.)

              I'm not saying that there aren't people -- such as Dr. Debs -- who may really enjoy them, but for my purposes, my personal advice is to stay away.

              1. re: whiner

                Don't forget the fingerprints. And the near impossibility of getting an accurate impression of the wine's appearance since the hand is always in the way.

                1. re: whiner

                  They are definitely harder to swirl, but unless you are cradling the glass in your hand for extended periods and pouring huge amounts into the glass I don't see how this is a problem for EVERYDAY drinking of wine. But to each his/her own.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Amen to the Tritan; stronger glass yet thin; dishwasher safe. We wash ours in the DW and they show no effects. A variety of styles and shapes.

              We have over 100 wine glasses and the Tritans are our first choice for both everyday and "company".

              1. re: Steve K

                We have the Tritan Top Ten line -- love them.

            2. I love my Riedels. Haven't (knowingly) tried Tritans. Excellent advice from woojink above. Another fine all-around red wine glass is the Vinum Chianti Classico (#416/15), which is also well-suited to Zinfandels.

              BTW, Riedel now owns Spiegelau.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Luwak

                Great, now my Spiegelau's will start breaking easier and cost twice as much.

              2. Another vote for the Schott Zwiesel Tritan Divas. I am replacing my Spiegelaus and Riedels with them. Not that there is anything wrong the either of the latter...

                BTW: My favorite Riedels are the Vinum Extreme, they are only a few dollars more than the regulars and still dishwasher safe.