The glassware in the Bonacquisti tasting room looks a little more chic these days. Gone are the thick-rimmed standard tasting glasses, replaced by stemless, thin-lipped Riedel goblets.
There’s a reason: Wine tastes better in good crystal.
While Riedel may not have pioneered the good glass movement, it took wine serving to a whole different level by creating glasses perfect for just about every major grape.
Serving Pinot Noir? There’s a glass for that. Syrah? There’s a glass for that. Chardonnay? There’s a glass for that.
Many bemoan this as pushing unnecessary products at consumers. Don’t you just need a red and a white glass? “Let me show you,” says Marti Van Wagenen, owner of Denver-based Van Wagenen Ltd, which sells gourmet products to retailers, restaurants and Bonacquisti Wine Co. “Can we open a bottle of wine?”
Anyone who’s been to a Riedel seminar already knows what Wagenen is getting at.
The proof is in the tasting, and someone very smart at the centuries-old manufacturer realized it might be an uphill battle to convince wine drinkers they needed a different glass for every wine. So the company spends time proving it at seminars throughout the world, including last year's Colorado Mountain Winefest and Colorado Urban winefests. The events showcase four of the glasses, comparing flavors and aromas to that of a typical tasting glass.
It’s shocking the difference it makes.
It makes sense when you realize how Riedel crafted its lineup of glasses. It started with polling winemakers, asking exactly what characteristics they wanted to shine through in each type of wine. Then, through some simple science and anatomy studies, Riedel was able to create wine glasses that poured wine onto the proper receptors on the tongue and wafted the aromas of particular grapes in the proper manner .
“A winemaker puts his heart and soul into it,” Van Wagenen says. “They are crafting something special, every little nuance. For it to be slapped on your palate in the wrong way, it’s a travesty.”
That said, it’s tougher for some to fork over the cash it would take to buy two dozen sets of glasses than it is to swallow over-sweetened red wine. Van Wagenen understands that.
Her advice: By a set of glasses for each of your favorite three or four grapes. That way, you’ll have the bases covered. And if a random Syrah comes through your door one night, it will still taste better out of the Bordeaux glass.
And for most wine drinkers, it’s not worth upgrading to the highest end of the Riedel lineup – its Sommelier series with per glass prices reaching triple digits. A set of stemless O glasses run about $25 for a pair and fits in any dishwasher.
The O glasses are what you’ll find in the Bonacquisti tasting room now.
Stop in and see the difference for yourself — Paul still has a few of the old glasses kicking around.
“In fact it was an amazing difference,” Van Wagenen says of the first time she tasted Bonacquisti’s wine in the new glasses. “You got so much more aroma. It was wonderful and lovely.”
Random tip: Van Wagenen says the next time you pop open some Champagne, try pouring it into a Burgundy Pinot Noir glass. “Champagne comes a Burgundy grape (Pinot Noir); I’ve never experienced Champagne like I did out of that Burgundy glass,” Van Wagenen says.
Get geeky with glass: Mention Riedel when you come into the tasting room, 4640 Pecos St., Unit I, and receive a free tasting ($5 value).