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For those of you who are wine drinkers, have you ever thought about the glassware you use?

Recently our PR Manager attended a Riedel Wine Glass Tasting while cruising up to Alaska. Prior to the class she didn’t think much about the glassware from which she drank her wine. She believed it was a gimmick – a marketing strategy to buy a specific type of stemware just because a company claims it is the best. She was in for a surprise.

At the table there was a placemat with 5 different wine glasses laid out. The stemware included: “Joker”, Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc *Kendall Jackson Sauv Blanc, Oaked Chardonnay *Cambria, Pinot Noir (Burgundy) *Domaine Carneros, and finally a Cabernet Sauvignon (Bordeaux)*Atalon. All but the Joker glass contained the correct style of wine, all poured after arrival so the sommeliers could prove there was nothing added to the stemware.

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The whole idea behind the class was to try each wine in each glass. The Sauvignon Blanc was sipped, then poured into the Joker glass. Once sipped from that glass, most people in the class gave that “eww” sound, wondering why and how there was such a different taste and feel to the wine. Next, a sip from the Oaked Chardonnay (which surprised most people just based on the balloon shape). The rest was poured into the Sauvignon Blanc glass, and the Joker was then poured into the Oaked Chardonnay, and so on. The interesting thing is you could pour the Sauvignon Blanc back into the correct glass at any time, and it would taste “normal” again.

One of the main tricks with Riedel is the glass is laser cut from where you drink. Most glassware in restaurants and many homes have a rounded edge, so they have a smoother feel. The reason this is bad and makes the wine taste different is because the wine rounds out that corner and enters your mouth different (who knew?).

That night at dinner I immediately felt the top of my glass, and said “This is not laser cut like the Riedel stemware. The wine won’t taste right!” The sommelier behind me responded, “Someone took the Riedel class today!”.

I am a believer. I have transitioned all my stemware in my home to Riedel glassware. For those who still think it’s a marketing gimmick, I say TRY IT.

There is a Riedel Wine Glass Tasting on July 17th at the MIELE Gallery in Bellevue. It’s at 6:30pm, $55 per person, and you get to take home the 4 glasses!

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