Feb 8, 2013

Posted by in Articles, Featured | 13 Comments

I Am A Wine Glass Snob

photo (39)

A 4oz pour in a Riedel glass – plenty of room for aromas to flourish

Just the other day, while relaxing with a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir at a local wine bar here in Eugene, Oregon, I couldn’t help witnessing and overhearing a nearby couple’s dilemma:

“Look how much wine she [the server] put into my glass!” The customer continued with a scowl, “She is totally ripping me off, there is barely anything in here. I am complaining, this is ridiculous.  I just paid $10 dollars for THIS?”

I quietly snickered, but holding back my thoughts from spewing out of my mouth proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated, it was a slip of the tongue: “Never judge a pour by it’s cover.”

You see, the Pinot Noir she ordered came in a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass, just like the one I received for my Pinot Noir. I held my glass up to hers to show her we received the same amount of wine. That very glass is the very reason why I frequent that very bar.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Stemware makes ALL the difference

The Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass was specifically designed to capture the unique characteristics of the Oregon Pinot Noir. Experiencing an Oregon Pinot Noir in a Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass is simply awesome. A 4 oz. pour will, indeed, look much smaller in a glass of this size, but the aromas will leap from the glass. Taken from the Riedel website:

Launched in 2008. Created during several workshops with the famed Oregon Producers, the shape clearly shows the fresh compact fruit of North West Pinot Noir and highlights the irresistible sweetness, whilst perfectly balancing the acidity and de-emphasizing the alcohol to create a perfect picture of the wine. Or, in the words of Georg Riedel, “The perfect Oregon Pinot Noir dream glass.”

photo (43)

A stunningly delicious Pinot Noir – especially when consumed from Riedel Pinot Noir stemware

It is, indeed, a dream glass for Oregon Pinot lovers. Riedel is a champion at making stellar stemware for Pinot Noir; as well as, many other varietals and wine types. There are other stemware companies too, but Riedel has been a long-time personal favorite of mine.

Having the proper stemware does make a difference. I sat down with my mom today, and we did a taste test of a fantastic Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards: 2010 Tualatin Estate. With 4 ounces in each glass, we sampled wine from a Riedel Pinot Noir glass, a restaurant quality no-brand glass, and a festival freebie glass.

  • Riedel glass: Beautiful blackberry and ripe dark fruit aromas enhanced by smoky, earthy tones flowed onto the palate like pure silk. The mouthfeel of this wine is pure bliss as it coats the mouth from one end to the other with velvety red fruit balanced by soft tannins and pleasant acidity. Lush and complex, yet seamless from front to back – absolutely delicious.
  • Restaurant glass: Similar aromas as in the Riedel, but not nearly as prominent. In the mouth, the silky, velvety mouthfeel and elegantly fruity flavors were toned down a bit, but the wine was still pleasing.photo (41)
  • Festival freebie glass: No aromas – non whatsoever, amazing! In the mouth, velvety, silky textures were non-existent and flavors were were severely toned down from what was experienced in the Riedel. The finish had a bit of a bite, which was no where to be found in the wine sampled out of the previous two glasses.

We were both astonished at how different this high-quality, outstanding wine tasted in a cheap glass that was way too small to allow any aromas to flourish. But hey, it was filled to the brim! All joking aside, this was proof positive that an excellent wine can be enjoyed to it’s full potential in the proper stemware.

I may not be a wine snob, but I do declare, I am a wine glass snob.


SPECIAL NOTE: After receiving some comments on Twitter, I’d like to clarify something to my readers: The flavors of the wine did not change with this glass experiment, but the vibrancy of those flavors did. This does not in any way lessen the high quality of the wine that was poured into the glasses, it was simply more enjoyable from the Riedel than it was from the “festival freebie.” Considerably more enjoyable, to say the least.

Proper wine glasses




  • Wine Ponder

    Love your introduction. A wine glass will make a difference. I am a big proponent of the right glass for the right wine. I suppose I am a wine snob as well ; )

    • The difference is truly astounding. Now I just need to invent a wine glass purse – one that will securely hold a Riedel Pinot Noir glass, lol! I would have no problem pulling it out and using it at a restaurant that pours a great wine into a cheapie glass to the brim. I’m sure I’d get some pretty snarky remarks, but who cares! I would be getting my money’s worth. 😉

      • Wine Ponder

        Well, they do make a wine bottle purse! I’m in the process of writing an article about all the different bottle styles, and I have to say… the bottle purse does get all the attention 🙂

  • Ahh. You’ve touched on my only true pet peeve. I could not live without my Reidel Oregon PN glasses, and my Reidel Burgundy glasses seem to work well for other reds. If I could afford it, I’d have 12 of each of the glasses that are specific to the wines I drink the most. I fell in love also with the Schott Zweisel “Diva” for champagne. I’ve read that some celebrities do dine out with their own glasses. While I’m not that bold yet, nothing makes my heart sink faster, even if it’s a $10 bottle and a picnic, than drinking out of an unbefitting glass.

    • Pam, we would make good friends! It is my one and only true pet peeve, as well. Me and my Oregon PN and Bordeaux glasses spend a lot of time together! I don’t know the Schott Zweisel “Diva” Champagne glass (I’ll look it up)…I tend to grab my Vinum XL Viognier glass for Champagne because I can’t stand the small opening of Champagne stems. I wish I could afford them all too, but two each of the PN, Bordeaux/Merlot and Viognier has done me extremely well. Cheers!

  • Well written! I love those fantastic Reidel Pinot glasses and frankly have a hard time eating or drinking somewhere which does not offer them, or at least a good Reidel. If we were in a sub par wine bar, you may overhear me say just the opposite. “What, I paid 10 bucks for this overfilled festival glass?”

    • Wine Ponder

      I’m the same way… I have a hard time with overfilled wine glasses. I can’t say this is entirely the sommelier’s fault. I think they do it because most people lack general wine knowledge, and they expect a full glass. It’s a sign of the times, as people want more for their money.

    • Thanks, Scott! Festival glasses….uugghhhhh.

  • LPA

    Julia, Our tasting room teams loves pouring an entire 750 mL bottle of water into an Oregon Pinot glass to demonstrate that they are quite deceiving as to the amount of wine they actually hold. I participated on the Oregon pinot glass selection panels and was amazed at the different glasses and the impact they had on the wines.

    • That’s great! An entire 750 ml bottle, wow! I totally agree that it is, indeed, amazing how different glasses can impact a wine. Thanks for commenting and sharing, cheers –

  • @32385b812a55ada750427dc18169978d:disqus – love your site, by the way! Really enjoy your writing style!! I couldn’t find the bottle purse on there, will you share a link? Cheers – Julia

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  • MsTified

    Life is too short to drink good wine out of a cheap wine glass!

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