Maximilian Riedel came to Finland to present his Riedel Vinum XL wine glass series to Finnish wine lovers. I have been in a couple of Riedel tastings before, in wine fair and in one I organized for my wine club, but could not resist to participate because of the fact that the designer himself was here. And, of course, at the same time I got to replenish my Riedel collection. The glasses used in the tasting were ours to keep. A couple of hundred wine enthusiasts participated the event and this was the biggest seated tasting of the year (or was it all-time) in Finland.
According to Riedel in wine, as in life, it is about balance. And glasses are designed so that the aromas and mouth-feel are in balance. Glass size and shape have a major impact in aromas and the design of the mouth of the glass, wide or narrow, affects the mouth-feel.
We started with XL Vinum Sauvignon Blanc glass and Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2009 wine from New Zealand. The glass is designed for high acidity, unoaked and low-alcohol Sauvignon Blanc wine. The narrow mouth of the glass makes the wine contact the tip of your tongue and the center of your tongue first. Sauvignon Blanc is a very acidic variety and people perceive acidity at the edges of their tongues, while the tip of the tongue perceives sweetness. Although the wine in the mouth flows all around, the first impression is crucial and dominates the taste throughout. Sauvignon Blanc tastes very pleasant and well balanced when the sweetness is highlighted and the acidity held back. When we tasted the same wine from a disposable plastic cup, I could taste very high acidity and also the alcohol. The aromas also disappeared completely, but returned again when the wine was poured back to the correct glass.
The next wine was the 2005 Marimar Torres Chardonnay from Russian River Valley, California. It has a bouquet of tropical fruit, honey, fruits, flowers and a little vanilla and oak in the background. From the wide mouth of the Chardonnay glass the wine pours to the side and the middle of the tongue first. The wine tasted soft and silky. The same wine from the Sauvignon Blanc glass tasted dry and had green, raw grape, aromas. From the plastic cup the wine tasted dry and bitter, and really short.
Droughin Oregon 2006 Pinot Noir has oak, raspberry, spices, red berries, roses, and orange peel on the nose. From Pinot Noir wine glass, the wine contacts just the tip of your tongue, the tongue even touches the edge of the glass. The taste is silky smooth and pleasant. From the Chardonnay glass the oak flavor dominated and berries disappeared. The taste was dry, green, bitter, tannic and acidic. When tasted form the plastic cup the wine did not have any flavor and was dry and bitter, no smooth silky texture or red berries. Pinot Noir glass is reportedly also a really good glass for champagne, especially if it is made of Pinot Noir. I will try this sometime.
Chateau Carsin Cuvée 2005 from Bordeaux smells of herbs, leather, dark berries and a little bit of oak. The flavor is still tight and tannic, but balanced and likely to improve with age. The Pinot Noir glass highlighted the alcohol and the fruitiness was reduced. The taste was green, tight, tannic and short. In the Chardonnay glass the aroma was highlighted by alcohol, oak, vanilla and minerals, leaving bitterness and tannins in the mouth.
My old appreciation of Riedel glasses still remain. And if you enjoy a particular type of wine, it may be worth it to invest in a suitable glass. I enjoy drinking different kinds of wines and therefore have a fair collection of Riedel glasses already. Though my previous glasses are normal size Vinum series and now I got some XL glasses to go with them. Either I have to offer guests a different wine or a smaller amount from the smaller glass, which is not necessarily such a bad thing after all. Of course, if someone wants to give up their XL glasses, this can be negotiated.
Perhaps the only downside of the evening was the demonstration of the decanter. I absolutely have to get the decanter that looks like a boa, or is it a cobra. And of course it has to cost around € 400. When decanting the wine swirls around the edge of the glass and certainly appears efficient giving the wine some air. And when poured into a glass, you can get one serving of wine at a time. Perhaps this video or pictures tell more:
The larger glass size, XL series, Maximilian Riedel justified by modern wines that tend to have higher alcohol content and concentration, these call for a bigger glass. Someday I will compare how the same wine, for example Sauvignon Blanc wine, tastes from Vinum XL and smaller Vinum Sauvignon Blanc glass.
Wineserver pages can also be found in Facebook, and I recommend joining to get information about our upcoming events and benefits.
If you do not use Facebook, you can register to our mailing list by filling out the form with the comment that you want to be in the mailing list. Of course other feedback is welcome as well. We might have a new Riedel tasting coming with them, because there clearly seems to be demand for it, and I consider myself a sort of Riedel glass ambassador. And in the meantime, I can recommend learning the wine aromas using the Aromaster kit available from me. It comes with 80 wine aromas, practical flavor wheels and a board game. I already have one set of Aromaster and will be ordering more. You can preorder them from me now and you can see it and try it in our events or by separate agreement. And for international orders, I am happy to send you a discount code for the Aromaster web store. Just contact me.
Note: This post was first written in Finnish but I decided to translate this for all international Riedel fans. The Google Translator version didn’t really capture the moment, so hopefully I did better with this. There should be more postings coming in English as well. So feel free to come back to this blog. The English posts can be found under English category.