Although I’ve been an avid wine drinker for the past ten years, it wasn’t until 2010 that I finally realized the importance of superior wine glasses. I followed the general rule that red wine should be served in round, wider glasses, white wine in small, tulip-shaped glasses, and sparkling wine in flutes or coupes, but I never thought twice about buying glasses specifically designed for a certain varietal of wine. In most cases these wine glasses are expensive and I always wondered why anyone would spend a lot of money on a glass that could eventually break.
My entire opinion of the matter changed drastically two years ago when I attended a comparative wine glass tasting hosted by 11-generation glassmaker, Maximilian Riedel. At this tasting, we were encouraged to try various varietals in three different serving vessels: a red Solo plastic cup, a generic all-purpose wine glass, and a specially crafted Riedel glass. The differences were astonishing! A wine’s aroma and taste in a plastic glass is mediocre at best and the all-purpose glasses didn’t provide much room for swirling. The shape of a glass changes the wine’s aroma and impacts the way the liquid hits your tongue. This in turn affects how the wine appeals to a drinker. I left the tasting thinking that I should invest in at least one set of nice wine glasses to use at dinner parties.
I still haven’t purchased an outstanding set of stemware, but was recently reminded of my quest for the ideal glass. You see, while I’m a huge fan of Riedel (and I thank the company for making me a more sophisticated wine drinker that understands the significance of glassware), there’s simply too many options when it comes to their glasses. As a younger wine drinker, I don’t have the money or cabinet space to get an entire set of glasses for each varietal of wine, from Albariño to Zinfandel. I want two nice sets of glasses: one that’s perfect for white wine and another that’s ideal for red wine. Enter Baccarat. The luxury French crystal maker has just launched its first line of glassware and a couple of weeks ago, I tested out the glasses.
The Baccarat wine glass collection consists of one red wine glass, one white wine glass, one sparkling wine glass, and two tumblers. Each glass was engineered, not designed, but engineered to maximize the flavor and aroma of wine. The broad base allows the drinker to smell all surfaces of the wine and the large area makes for a sensational swirl. Upon first sip, the liquid hits the tongue in all the right places. What I love about these glasses is that they’re functional (and make a wine taste smoother and richer), yet fashionable at the same time. They are neither too masculine or too feminine, but graceful and beautiful with a chic trapezoidal shape. Oh and the best thing is they’re one hundred percent dishwasher safe!
I couldn’t agree more with wine expert Anthony Dias Blue’s description of the Baccarat stemware. He said putting wine in a Baccarat glass was “like putting it in a magnifying glass that highlights all the best qualities of the wine.” Essentially, Baccarat glassware is to wine like Photoshop is to an aging Hollywood startlet! At $85 a stem, the glasses are not cheap, but if I were getting married and doing a registry, I would definitely add them to the list.