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Elegance in a glass – Riedel:
Last week Maximillian Riedel, 11th generation CEO of Riedel, made a rare appearance in London next week to host a champagne tasting and I was lucky enough to be invited along. Riedel is the company who invented the egg-shaped wine glass, and they continue to offer innovative and beautiful designs. I think some of these decanters are more akin to works of art, and it was lovely to be able to handle them and to try to work out exactly how some of them worked.
The opportunity to participate in a Riedel comparative champagne glass tasting was something not to be missed, and even more so when Maximilian Riedel was there to personally guide us. I have to admit to being a little sceptical, wondering just how much difference the shape of the glass might make to the enjoyment of the wine; thinking that surely a good wine will always shine on its own merits? We sat down in front of 4 empty glasses and a mystery plastic glass of red wine.
We were instructed to fill the first three glasses with our first champagne. Glass number 1 was the classic champagne/cocktail glass seen being sipped by glamorous actresses in many an old Hollywood movie. It’s impossible to swirl your wine in one of these, and consequently, it neither released the ‘nose’ nor much flavour. Glass number 2 was the classic champagne flute, designed to show off the rising bubbles, a swirl of this revealed pineapple smell, and a tropical fruit taste. Glass number 3 was what most of us would think of as a white wine glass, a swirl of this revealed coconut, pineapple and a greater depth of taste. I was starting to believe that there really was something in the glass design that could enhance the wine.
We then moved onto our 2nd champagne, and this time, we were instructed to fill glasses 2, 3 and 4. Again glass 2 revealed very little about the wine, glass 3 was better, but glass 4 with its tiny lip at the top put my tongue into instant contact with the champagne and I have to say it was amazing; the intensity of the aroma and the flavour of the champagne just sang through.
We went through a similar process with our plastic glass of red wine, although by now I was feeling the effects of the champagne tasting and can only say that bigger was better! I returned to champagne 1 in glass 1 which I hadn’t finished earlier. By this point it had gone flat, all bubbles spent, and quite frankly tasted nasty. I am now a believer!
If you would like to try the difference for yourself Riedel glasses can be ordered here