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Instruments rather than glasses

…a true saying how RIEDEL describes their products. One could say it is just glasses we are talking about but believe me they can be more than that. First of all let me put one thing clear. A glass is not changing the taste of a wine for instance but a good glass combined with a quality liquid enables you to experience significant differences. This starts from the first visual perception and the first nose of a wine until it is running smoothly across ones tongue.


The company from Kufstein in Tyrol has a long story. Its history goes way back to the year 1756 being led by the eleventh generation today. Riedel has faced ups and downs over the years to actually be as great as they are today. Expropriation and captivity after the second world war for instance are part of the company`s history as well as milestones in glass manufacturing such as the „Vinum“ series. Riedel managed to machine craft the Vinum glasses adjusted to the grapes with world wide acknowledgement and the possibility to be actually affordable.

Developing new techniques and series is something they have never stopped. So wine friends and top restaurants all over the globe are convinced as their glasses being the absolute standard. Riedel always comes up with great products such as the „Veritas“ series, the worlds thinnest machine blown glasses. I can fortunately show you some great ones underneath.

What Makes A Good Glass?

A good glass is constructed depending on the intended purpose. Shape, thickness and edges are moulded precisely towards its usage. It contributes to flavor formation, or reduces it if necessary. If a wine for example has to breathe, it also needs the space for it through a larger evaporation surface with bulging glasses. It transports the liquid to exactly the point of the tongue where it is applied best or needs support (tongue tip sweet, bitter at the end or salty and sour on the side). The glass as an „instrument“ is then broad or slightly tapered towards the edge. It promotes an immediate temperature perception, because thick glasses tend to influence the beverage temperature, which is undesirable in wine.

Now I would like to explain a few glasses and point out the main facts of them.

Veritas Champagne Wine Glass

A Champagne lives by its fine perlage and the scent. This is usually emphasized by the narrow shape. Thus, the drink runs centrally to the tongue from these glasses, pearls fine and the carbonic acid has little space to escape. Nevertheless, one can also pour  Champagne into a wider glass. For example, a Champagne with a high chardonnay or pinot noir content is often served in broaden and more belligerent glasses to strengthen the formation of aromas. The Champagne glass of today can therefore resemble the white wine glass. A development which stands rather against the tradition than for the choice of grapes being used. This glass allows the balance between a Champagne and Riesling glass. For me, the best way to enjoy a sparkling wine, since the flavors are more strongly permitted here.


Veritas Riesling / Zinfandel Glass

This white wine glass is one of the most common and is usually the first form of this series in every cupboard. The „normal“ person rarely distinguishes the white wines. Nevertheless, the handling for instance is quite similar to red wines. The Riesling, however, is served in slender glasses. It has a lot of fruit, scent and acidity and does not need much help in the perception of this. Likewise, one drinks the Zinfandel or Primitivo (same grape) from such a glass. So it is quite advisable not only to distinguish between red and white wine glasses. Here and there the opposite is questioned and the perception of these wines is strengthened.


Veritas Oaked Chardonnay Glass

A white wine, which has been developed in oak barrels, has a much more complex aroma after its maturation in the barrel and therefore requires space to unfold itself. Here one likes to grab the bulging glasses around it. This will then contribute to flavors more quickly and make this glass a better companion. If one has only one red and white wine glass it is recommendable here to to grab the red wine glass in this case.


Veritas Old World Pinot Noir Glass

This glass is bulging and slightly tapered upwards. Usually it is one of those that we call red wine glass. The wide body of the glass makes the wine breathe wonderfully and connoisseurs also like to perceive the full aroma. It takes some of the acidity and emphasizes the fruit by its architecture. All this is just achieved by the shape of the glass.


Veritas Cabernet / Merlot Glass

Red wine glasses are like surely each of you knows rather bulgy to be able to swing it. Again, if you apply it, the differences are logical. The glass for this wine is bellied and upwards rather wide open. Since a Cabernet or Merlot e.g. has a lot of tannin. Therefore this glass emphasizes its fruit and the acid as well as the perception of the bouquet. Since a Cabernet has a lot of tannin you want to restrict this by again, the shape of the glass.


Veritas Swirl Glass

A glass that could be anything. One for the basic needs. For this reason it is often the most used. So in some households everything from water, tea, wine to coffee is drunk from this all-rounder . These glass hybrids, „one for all“ make it possible to serve even the small purse many good drinks in the same glass. For me, therefore, the most important purchase of all. That is why it is necessary to find a glass that is not too thick, but still easy to clean. One to enjoy day in and day out on a casual basis.


Beer Tulip

In Germany a beer glass comes in different shapes, thickness and sizes. The classic, however, is often the bottle itself being used as a glass or in this case the beer tulip. A beautiful tulip is a little bulging and slightly pointed to the top. It is not too thickly blown and emphasizes the perlage like a champagne glass. For the beer connoisseurs and lovers, the following is said. Since the brewery art also goes many new ways and beer is crafted with different flavors, a bulging glass like the Pinot Noir one is often the best choice to experience the full spectrum of flavors. Otherwise the whole art of craft brewing would be swallowed up like this. The formation of aromas and the perception also require some space, as it is the case with wines.


Spirits Nosing Glass

These small, low-bodied and very narrow glasses, allow the rather high-spirited liquids like Grappa or „Obstler“ to unfold their fragrance and the aroma and to let the fruity nuances become more perceptible. It is not a must, but since I like to drink a digestive after a good meal, this glass belongs to my collection too.


Wrap Up

Riedel is truly a joy to drink from. You not only see the quality, you can hear it while clinking the glasses but most important feel and taste the difference. There are possibilities of the allrounder (Swirl), which can be a great entry and which also saves money. It goes on with perhaps a white and red wine glass up to the glass series tuned to ones preferences. My conclusion: certainly not everything is necessary, but if you place much emphasis on quality in the glass, it is also advisable to put the right one on the table.

My first choices would be:

  • Swirl
  • Champagne Wine Glass
  • Cabernet & Merlot Glass
  • Old World Pinot Noir Glass
  • Decanter

You can, of course, always want more and also expand your glasses (which I, as a wine lover will definitely do) , but hand on the heart, who of us drinks this wide range of wine and also in a quality that justifies the purchase of all glasses? With the above mentioned glasses you are able to be a very good host. If you then use e.g. Even a sparkling wine in a bulbous glass and know why, no questions remain open anyway.