The wine experience is achieved primarily through three of your five senses: sight, smell, and taste, so the glass should aid the wine’s ability to express its components to the fullest in those sensory categories. This writer has been to many tastings where, to test the validity of a glass-maker’s claims, wine was poured from type of stem to another and, indeed, the aromas and palate characteristics changed each time, with the best experience always being received with the appropriate stem (i.e. Bordeaux stem for Cabernet, Montrachet stem for Chardonnay, etc). The good and the bad is you have choices such that you can choose a set of stemware that fits your household needs as well as your wine lifestyle. Below are 5 factors to help you in choosing the right stemware.
Certainly, price can be a factor and much like the car-buying analogy above, there are sets of stemware that can meet any type of budget. Unfortunately, in some cases the price is more reflective of the brand prestige or history than its ability to do the job, but sometimes the design, hand-crafting and background of such sets are great for special occasions. Look for something that is within an acceptable price range for you and your needs and keep an eye on special deals.
We all know that as the party continues on into the late evening, the more relaxed and jovial everyone becomes. You can count on the inevitable event of dropped glassware occurring during one of your parties, or simply by accident when you bang that stem on the sink while washing it the next morning. If you’d like to keep subsequent stemware purchases to a minimum, perhaps, break-resistant glass is for you.
If practicality, efficiency and low-maintenance is more your style, without sacrificing the optimal sensory experience, then a set of stemware that is capable of being washed in a dishwasher is important to you instead of hand-washing every stem one-by-one. It’s kind of nice to come downstairs that next morning and know you can simply place your glassware in the machine and focus on grabbing a cup of coffee instead.
Selection in this case means there is a broad range of types of stemware, even one for each type of wine variety. The basics include: Bordeaux glass for Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, Burgundy for Pinot Noir, one for Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, you get the idea. If you are an aspiring sommelier or simply want the best experience with each wine you drink, be sure to seek out a collection that has a significant selection to choose from. Or, if you like to keep it simple and enjoy a red or a white, there are brands out there for you too that still accentuate the sensory attributes of wine.
The design for many stemware collections also determines how well the wine’s sensory attributes are enhanced, including factors such as bowl size, thickness of the glass, size of the mouth and if there is a lip or not. The final factor here is to find a set that works with your decor, dishware, occasion, and lifestyle.
Contributed by Ed Thralls/IWA Social Media Marketing Manager