So the festivities have finished and if you have any money left over you’re probably considering making a trip to the sales. If so you should eschew the new laptop, sofa, plasma et al and look instead for some wine glasses. Not any old glasses, Riedel glasses. And if you do, you’ll be able to enjoy your wine so much more.
A bold claim, I know, but at a tasting in Alicante I was invited to put it to the test – and yes, Riedel glasses passed with flying colours!
Bodegas Vicente Gandía Plá had arranged for a professional tasting at the Gourmet Fair at Alicante’s IFA and the press were invited to participate. I’ve tried Riedel glasses before in London a year ago but there were too many variable factors for me to make an in-depth assessment, although I certainly noted a difference. Here there were several wines each poured, as we watched, into a Riedel glass then another, apparently perfectly suitable glass.
The pourers took care to ensure that the wine for each of the two glasses was poured from the same bottle so there was no chance of it being a different wine, or the wrong temperature. There were no extraneous aromas emanating from any nearby stalls, nobody was smoking (of course, you can’t properly taste wine if you are anywhere near cigarette smoke). As I said, it was a professional tasting.
The first wine we tasted was Vicente Gandía’s El Miracle Fusion made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Moscatel. An aromatic white wine with an eclectic blend of varieties. Often such a wine will tend to give an immediate first aroma followed perhaps by secondary smells. Indeed this was the case with the non-Riedel glass, the Moscatel dominating the perfume.
However with the Riedel glass the aromas were balanced harmonious with an overall sensation of roundness with no one fruit bossing the others. An interesting start as it made the wine slightly more enjoyable.
Next came Puerto Alicante Chardonnay kept on its lees but in stainless steel with no oak and it was really this wine that makes me a Riedel supporter. Their Chardonnay glass, designed specifically for this ubiquitous variety was a clear winner. The wine had creamy custard and rhubarb notes, but balanced and rounded, elegant too. The other glass provided stunted notes, the wine was les full and frankly less enjoyable!
Their rosado Music made from Garnacha and Syrah is a lovely rose wine that I’ll be looking out for again. The Riedel glass showed a sweet rose petal nose but the other glass seemed to emphasise the acidity of the wine making it a touch harsh.
El Miracle Art red wine with the super label picturing Barrel-Art was all rounded fruit with a balancing minerality from the Pinot Noir but in contrast the other glass gave the wine a harsh tannic feel. Again a Riedel winner.
Montsant, a red wine, was served in a Riedel Chardonnay glass then a Riedel glass designed for red wine. The difference was pronounced – in contrast to the other examples the Chardonnay glass dumbed-down the wine making the taster have to search hard for any aromas! The correct Riedel glass allowed those dark fruit and liquorice notes to make an impact on the nose resulting in a much more enjoyable drink.
This emphasises the point that even a Riedel glass, if it is the wrong design for a specific wine, will not allow the wine to fully express itself, underlining their belief that glasses can be designed for specific grape varieties and wine styles.
In conclusion therefore it’s not simply a clever marketing ploy – Riedel glasses do make a difference. But don’t just take my word for it – Jancis Robinson MW, apparently said that she had preferred one particular grand tasting over another simply because the glasses used were Riedel!