Wine Faux Pas

Proper wine stemware from left- Cabernet, Burgundy, Sparkling, White

Can you imagine a woman wearing a $10,000 couture dress but paying no attention to her hair and make-up?   That’s the image I get when I go to someone’s home for dinner and they serve a very expensive wine in totally inappropriate glasses.  In fact, if you saw Woody Allen’s latest movie, Blue Jasmine that swanky dinner party in the over the top apartment was betrayed by the guests drinking out of pretty glasses not meant for wine.  Great wine is not a drink but an experience.

If you splurge for a good wine you should enjoy all the aspects of this well crafted pleasure.  Even if you are not a wine connoisseur you will taste the difference in a well made wine.  And that taste can be diminished by drinking it from a vessel, which compromises the taste.  A pewter mug, a dirty glass, or a detergent lingering odor will all affect the wine.  They impart odors.  So if you are going to spend more than $25 for a bottle of wine, please drink it from a clean, well rinsed glass. And I make it a point of saying glass. Glass is perfect, it is a neutral. It does not impart taste or temperature.

It actually is all common sense.  Why drink a good wine?   The better made the wine; the more pleasure is derived from its flavor, balance and finesse.  In order to fully appreciate these attributes, an appropriate glass is the enabler.  One needs to look at the wine for clues to age, depth and breeding.  The wine itself releases aromas which compose the flavor.  Thus, you need a glass big enough for those ethers to be released and evolve before you taste the wine.  The top should taper so you can catch the aromas. And the glass itself needs to be clear. Cut crystal can distort the color.   Tinted glasses, well you can’t even see the color of the wine itself.  The simpler the better and this glass should have a stem.

Stems are important because holding a glass in your hand can warm the wine above its optimum drinking temperature (60-65 degrees Fahrenheit).  In addition, connoisseurs like to gently swirl their wine before tasting to release the aromas.  With a stemmed glass you can hold it on the table and gently make circles.  It helps to keep the wine from leaping out over the rim.

Wine Stemware: Left- Cabernet, Right- Burgundy

Wine Stemware: Left- Sparkling, Right- White

The best news is that a decent wine glass need not be expensive.  You can go over the top and purchase glasses that sommeliers use or the finest artisans hand craft, or you can pop into WalMart and buy a box of 4 for about $10. Just make sure it has all the above characteristics.It’s better to wear a great dress from Target with good make-up and sleek hair than to try to impress in a megabucks outfit from Chanel with two inches of roots crowning a monotone head of hair!

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