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Does different glassware really make a difference?

We know this topic has been discussed on The Community before but we wanted to reignite the debate in a new thread - does different glassware really make a difference?

If you haven’t seen it already, our Director of Wine Pierre Mansour has shared his thoughts on where to start when choosing your glass - the article can be found here: The Wine Society

We’d be happy to hear your current thoughts on this topic and any examples of particularly good glassware that you might be able to share. Photos of your favourites glasses are also more than welcome!

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I think this involves subjective preferences and will be difficult to cater for all tastes. We have 5 differently sized sets (of 6) of Riedel glasses. My wife prefers glasses 210mm high, and I prefer 180mm ones. The 235mm high ones offered by TWS are very tall in my opinion, especially given my insistence that anything that does not survive the dishwasher will be on its way out of our kitchen! What is important is the shape and diameter of the bowl and the thinness of the rim, both very good in my opinion with the Riedel glasses we own. If I drink my wine, my nose should fit in the bowl, otherwise no good for me. I would prefer it if TWS offered a small but varied choice, maybe 4 to 6, rather than just 2 options. Again, just my view, undoubtedly others will have different views, all fair enough!

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I tend to judge glasses on looks and hand-feel. If it feels really good in my hand then I’m pretty likely to enjoy the wine. So superficial! I’m currently using some Spiegelaus as my everyday glasses and they are okay but nothing special. Definitely not big occasion glasses.
I have a lot of Czech crystal glasses, no particular brand that I can remember, but I just like holding them and drinking from them.

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Can’t offer any opinion on whether or not the glass make a difference. However I used this company for the Riedel glasses I bought, the prices seem to be not bad. I recently bought 12 stemless Pinot/Nebbiolo glasses, can’t recommend these as the bowl is simply too large to hold/pick up.

Warning the web site is possibly slower than TWS, which is a feat.

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I got converted to Riedel, many moons ago.
Is there a difference?
A thick, coloured (blue?) glass or a thin, clear glass? No contest in my view.
But, as ever down to the user and their preference. :dragon:

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This is an interesting video on wine glasses, plus his other videos are great as well.

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Over the years I have run several tastings for friends who believe glasses make little or no difference to the enjoyment of wine. My usual trick is to pour the same wine into perhaps six different Riedel Vinum glasses. I do that before they arrive and then ask them a question along the lines of “I can only afford to buy one of these six wines, help me choose”. I then explain I don’t have enough glasses to put them all in the same shape.

The results have, at times, been extraordinary. Not only do people typically fail to spot the same wine trick they also indicate they taste “very different”.

It has also confirmed:-

*The Chianti/Sangiovese glass performs consistently well with all red wines. However it isn’t particularly white friendly…
*No matter what you put in the Rioja/Tempranillo glass it usually gets low marks. Even if it is Rioja! It seems to dumb down smell and taste.
*The Burgundy/Pinot Noir glass is merciless and magnifies faults - not just in Pinot Noir.
*The Bordeaux glass does what it was intended for. It’s pretty good with Rioja too.

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We’ve got various Riedel glasses, and the one I’ve settled on for a while now for all my drinking is the New World PN one - lovely large bowl and a nice shape. Reds & whites both seem to drink well from them.

However - they’re not small and they take up a lot of storage space, so I’ve recently been looking too at the “Jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon The Wine Glasses”. Anyone have any thoughts on / experience with these? I was going to try a Zalto, and in reality would love to have one to use, but they’re even bigger than the Riedels!

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Just an afterthought:- some glasses feel really “alive”. They almost quiver in your hand, but some seem completely inert. I prefer the live glasses.

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I use Zaltos. I used to use Riedel Vinum but found them clumsy after trying Zaltos. I have also tried Gabriels which are very good and a very close second to Zalto.
I just like the fine glass and lightness of Zalto. BUT The sweet wine and Champagne Zalto glasses have stems that are a bit too long and upset the balance.
But that is me. My cousin likes Riedel so I keep a couple in the cupboard for when he visits.

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I’m a bit of a glassware sceptic. Usually drink from large thin stemless (shock horror!) Kronso glasses from Poland I picked up in TK max.

After breaking my expensive Riedel glasses, just don’t think they are worth the high prices.

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I have a pair of the JR x RB glasses. Perfect for me. Having broken a pair of Zalto Bordeauxs I decided to try the JR as a Universal glass. I really like them and have found I enjoy drinking pretty much everything out of them including Pinot Noir and big reds. They seem to have the right balance of delicacy and robustness.

Interestingly (or perhaps not) i noticed recently there is a quite a lot of variation between the two glasses I have. One seems to be a bit rounder and the other a little deeper - I’m not sure if that’s a great explanation so see photo attached. It doesn’t bother me and I’ve not experimented to see if theres a different experience between the two

We’ve now taken to drinking sparkling wine from these two rather than flutes and personally I think I can taste more of the wine.

I have a pair of Zalto burgundies which I use for red burgundy and they are wonderful in terms of aroma extraction. I’ve had some delicious Aussie Pinot out of the JR glass recently though, I’ve not yet tried to compare the same wine between the two but may do this weekend out of curiosity.

For me the Zalto Bordeaux is a sensational glass but a little too big for my clumsiness. I smashed two trying to pick them up from the floor (yes, I know, why!!!). With the JR glass I can (famous last words) take my glass from the dining table to the sofa without breakage. Drinking white burgundy out of the Zalto Bordeaux is a lovely drinking experience, however my strike rate has meant I can’t be trusted with them.

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I had a huge number of Riedels at one time but I let most of them go to charity shops, though I have kept pairs of maybe half a dozen styles (I got the wine glass bug after a tutored tasting at Robert Mondavi in California early on my wine journey when they served the same wine in various different glasses). I have pairs of Zalto Universal, Burdundy and Champagne glasses. They are lovely glasses but just too scarily fragile. I now almost always use Gabriel Glas which are close enough to the Universals for me and very robust.

I think glasses do make a difference - though as long as you avoid thick rims, too small bowls and not enough space for the aromas to accumulate (so usually that means rims narrower than the body of the glass) I think most do a decent job. Maybe not the best possible but good enough.

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Does anybody know have a source where you can buy Gabriel Glas(ses) in the UK?

At the moment I use Riedel performance PN for most reds and some bolder whites and champagnes, then Riedel performance riesling for most whites. I really like both of these glasses but they are on the edge of being too big, and it feels wrong drinking fortified or dessert wine out of them - I use standard white wine glasses there.

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Newcomer Wines is where I got my Gabriel glasses.

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This is true for Zaltos too.

The flip side is it can also lift wines into the stratosphere. I did a side by side comparison (myself, my partner, her brother) with a Carema DOC with the Zalto Burgundy and a Zalto Universal. As much as some of it was probably psychology of us all enjoying the ridiculous fishbowl looking thing, the Burgundy glass did also make the wine taste and smell even better.

I am a Zalto fan mostly because they are pretty rather than anything else.

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@Kelly I’ve remarked on another thread, and I’ll repeat here.

The glasses Pierre recommends, and to which there is a link in the article
Ref GL476 | £45 for set of 4

are a good price but shown as Out of Stock

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Thank you for flagging @peterm, I will check to see if we have another order on the way!

Edit: We are getting more stock in - the reference in the article prompted lots more sales than expected (!) but hopefully the new batch should be available to order by the end of the week.

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I shall get some when next available.

The word ‘sturdy’ is relevant. Must be dishwasher compatible - I am mentally cabbaged by evening time, and don’t have the time to lovingly wash glasses by hand.

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It strikes me that the ideal number of wine glasses may be n+1, where n is the number you already own!

I have a few different Riedel glasses but am currently pondering the Zalto Universals, or maybe the Jancis Robinson glasses. What I can’t find for either is the diameter across the rim, the only measurement given is 90mm, same for both, which I think must be the widest point of the bowl. Would someone with either of these be kind enough to measure them for me?

I think the JR glass is more tapered at the top, which I’m thinking might hold the aromas better.

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