Wine Talk

Snooth User: jamessulis

Wine Tumblers

Posted by jamessulis, Jul 12, 2012.

Lately I've been seeing ads for wine tumblers and am really not sure what to think. Maybe I'm a traditional guy who drinks his Cab out of a large bowl stemmed glass, his white out of a smaller stemmed glass and champagne out of a fluted shape. I suppose the tumbler is alright however, for some reason I cannot describe, it's just not right for me. Would love to hear from fellow Snoothers on how they feel about this kind of wine glass. To Illustrate what I mean by a wine tumbler, I've attached a photo of the kind I'm talking about.

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

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Replies

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Reply by gregt, Jul 12, 2012.

At one point, people just drank wine.

Then the vessel started to matter.  Initially, cut crystal was the way to go. The light sparkled in the crystal and the wine flashed like rubies. The glasses were works of art.

Then Riedel came along and convinced people to pay more for a glass that had no craftsmanship, but that plain and simple. They said it was matched to the grapes or the wines and somehow revealed things that you couldn't get out of an "ordinary" glass.

Then, having convinced people of the above, Riedel realized that once people had a few glasses, they wouldn't buy any more. So they came up with the "young" angle and started selling the stemless glasses as a cool, hip, younger generation thing.  You take them to your picnics, tailgates, etc.  All the swinging hip cats use them.  Hell, they're almost as cool as Apple products.

So Lefty - if in fact the shape of the glass matters, it shouldn't matter whether it's on a stem or not.  And in many places in Europe, they don't have a fetish for a glass and you get a tumbler. 

So I don't think it really matters. Some people say that your hands will "warm" the wine if you hold the stemless glass. 

Right.

Figure if you have a thumb and 2 fingers holding the glass, it should start boiling within two minutes because our body temperatures are so high and the transmission of that heat thu our fingertips is so efficient.

Other than that, it's simply aesthetics and here I have to leave logic behind.

For some reason, I don't really like the tumblers either. I like a stem, even tho I know it's not logical or reasonable. I agree w you that for some reason, I'm not loving the tumblers, even tho I have a lot of them.

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Reply by shsim, Jul 13, 2012.

I actually like the tumblers because i always break the ones with stems.

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Reply by Chris Carpita, Jul 13, 2012.

Pro tip I got from GDP, and one of the reasons I love tumblers:  if you have a red wine in the fridge, you can pop the tumbler in the microwave for 12-15 seconds to get to the proper temperature.  Who waits for anything anymore?  Also, the lower fragility is a big plus because I am so clumsy.

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Reply by jamessulis, Jul 13, 2012.

Chris, thanks for the tip but I never refrigerate my Cabernets, once their open, it's either consumed or the air is vaccuumed out and a stopper put in for the next day to finish. I'm not sure about the microwave, sounds a bit sketchy as it may be overheated and doesn't the alcohol dissapate under the action of the microwave? Hey if it works for you, then great. For the time being, I think that I'll stick to my big bowl stemmed glasses for the reds, makes me feel special with an impressive container for my liquid treasures and like GregT I know it's not logical or reasonable but that's how I do it.

I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks. It's nice hearing from the people here at Snooth because of such diversivication on the same subject. 

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

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Reply by gregt, Jul 13, 2012.

Chris - I don't know that I'd put them in the microwave - half the time my wine is too cold but I just let it sit out. However, whatever works.

OTOH - those tumblers aren't all that much less fragile than stems.  They can be somewhat robust, just like glass stems can be, but if you get the Riedels, they're just as fragile as their stems. How else would they get you to keep buying them if you didn't have to replace the broken ones? And for some reason it feels doubly weird because normally I'm used to having a tumbler that's got a bit of heft to it, whereas you know your stem is fragile.  So there's a bit of cognitive dissonance going on too.

 

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Reply by jtryka, Jul 13, 2012.

I don't think it makes much difference, but I'm like you, I prefer the stem and a nice shape that matches what I'm drinking (though don't tell anyone I'm drinking Sangiovese out of a Bordeaux glass right now!).

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Reply by zufrieden, Jul 13, 2012.

That's because there is no difference - unless you are concerned about warming the contents. Let's face it: crystal is beautiful, and unless the tumbler is equally aesthetic then the former wins hands down.  Taste should not be affected unless you cup the tumbler in your hand for 10 minutes or more to purposefully warm the glass/crystal.  

French, Italian and Spanish drinkers do not usually care if a tumbler is used; the reason for using expensive crystal is, well,  to use expensive crystal. So, my humble advice is to not worry overly much about tumblers, bourgogne cups or whatever.

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Reply by gregt, Jul 14, 2012.

the reason for using expensive crystal is, well,  to use expensive crystal

Yep

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Reply by JonDerry, Jul 14, 2012.

I've been enjoying some nice tumblers from tasting rooms on my last visit to Paso. I tend to find fault in most stems, whether it's too big or small a bowl, or unflattering in appearance somehow. The tumblers seem to be alright with me.

I do remember being told the reason for invention of stems was mainly to hide fingerprints.

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Reply by gregt, Jul 14, 2012.

Jon - I doubt that's really true. Remember that they used glass in Roman times, although it was expensive. Subsequently, and until the Renaissance, the vessel would be gold or silver if you were a king or Medici, otherwise horn, leather, metal, crockery, or wood, or some combination of them.

Then in the 1400s the Venetians improved glass making and later on Ravenscroft improved it even more and people were able to make crystal goblets. Those would still often be attached to a metal stem but most importantly, they were more often cut.  The whole point of crystal is that you can cut it and make it beautiful. So they'd do these intricate designs. And as design fashion changed, to Baroque and Classical and so on, the shape of the glass and stems changed too.

In the early 1900s they invented automatic glass-blowing machines and finally people could mass produce glassware, but crystal was generally cut and it was ornate. So I don't think fingerprints were the issue, especially since they'd been putting the goblets on ornate stems for centuries.

The genius of Riedel was to ignore the properties that made crystal desirable, convincing people that somehow a clear, simple, unadorned item was "better" than a heavier, cut crystal that was often a work of art, and therefore you should pay more for less!  It's sort of like taking a Porche and turning it into a golf cart with a top speed of nine miles an hour. 

And of course, with an unadorned bowl, fingerprints will show. But that's recent history. Of course, the wine won't sparkle in the glass either.  This is Italian from the late 1600s, way before Riedel and fingerprints were issues:

 

 

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Reply by jamessulis, Jul 15, 2012.

GregT, I need one of those nectar of the gods glasses you posted............but only for my favorite wines and those magical moments only a wine lover can appreciate.

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Reply by zufrieden, Jul 15, 2012.

Greg, you are a veritable treasure of interesting and useful factoids.  I love your assessment of Riedel in particular.

Cheers,

 

Z.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jul 16, 2012.

Enjoyed the Riedel comments as well, however they are a welcome change for me. Whenever I drink wine at my folks I feel I can't fully enjoy the wine due to the old fashioned (glass) stemware...the nose always seems shut down somehow.

Either way, a tumbler and a standard stem were available last night and I went with the stem. They are easier to twirl the wine around in anyhow.

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Reply by gregt, Jul 16, 2012.

Not to bash Riedel but here are a couple of glasses George Washington would have used in the 1700s:

 

And here's something Victorian

And here's a turn of the century simplified, almost Mission Style look:

and then there's Riedel.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jul 16, 2012.

The top one actually looks like it could work. 

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Reply by jamessulis, Jul 16, 2012.

The turn of the century glasses actually make me dizzy with their swirling design and I dare not try and swirl my wine in them because of the impending vortex it would create.

Simplicity is the answer for me like the Reidel.

Buying tip, if anyone is near a IKEA, they have the identical pictured Reidel glass with THIN glass and they sell for $2 each and at this price a couple of cases should insure against breakage and dishwasher wear.

Lefty

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Reply by shsim, Jul 16, 2012.

Arr thanks for the tip Lefty! Now even if I do break them, it will be with less pain. 

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Reply by WineLifeDesign, Jul 17, 2012.

GregT- love the green glass and mission style!  Great examples!

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Reply by fmh0725, Jul 17, 2012.

I'm a traditionalist, give me a stem. 

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Reply by Craig Bilodeau, Jul 20, 2012.

Love this post!!!

Lefty, I went out and purchased some glasses from IKEA for hosting tasting parties:

The dollar bill is there for size reference.  These glasses are not as thin as other IKEA glasses I have seen, but they do have a rounded lip instead of the cut lip I prefer.  That said, they were less than $3/glass and they hold up pretty well to a little bit of clumsiness.

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