Why you should choose your glass as carefully as the wine that goes in it

Wine, like love, is a many-splendoured thing. Both require a vessel to contain them although, in drinking wine, very few people confuse the receptacle with its contents. Quite the opposite: they pour a liquid that was made with passion and sold at a premium into any old beaker, veiling its beauty in the boozing equivalent of a burqa.

I have eaten at an achingly hip restaurant, where the cocktails were inventive, the food was spectacular and the mixologist’s hair was as artfully distressed as the walls, and have been served excellent white wine warmed to the temperature of tea, its bouquet dissipated and its glow muted by a pedestrian, stemless glass better reserved for Coca-Cola.

“The cocktails each have a dedicated vessel, but why no stemware?” I whimpered to my waiter. He shook his bearded chin. “Pretentious,” he pronounced.

Even the French, who are supposed to know about these things, will upend bottles of wine of any colour or quality into ballons – the cheap, ball-shaped glasses most suited to bringing out the aroma of mediocrity. Yet wines, like people, vary in their requirements, an idea taken to its capitalist conclusion by Riedel, which has different glasses for Chardonnay and Riesling, for Old and New World Pinot Noir, as well as special versions for sommeliers, and even alternative tasting goblets, depending on whether the Bordeaux you are drinking is grand cru or “mature” – particularly odd, as a Bordeaux meriting that level of finickiness is likely to be both.


read more on newstatesman.com