At the end of last month, our whole staff had the pleasure of attending the Riedel tasting seminar at Dutton-Goldfield Winery in Sebastopol, CA. We enjoyed their Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah out of proper and improper stemware (complete with Lindt chocolates for pairing – more on that in a moment).
Wow, what a difference the stemware bowl shapes actually make! Not only the shapes, but the rim of the bowl and how the combination of rim and shape place the juice on your palate. We know we taste more with our nose than our actual tongue, but the way the shape and rim lay the juice across your palate really amplifies the varietal characteristics for each wine in a way a ‘standard wine glass’ just can’t compete with.
This is wine snobbery at its finest, and well worth every moment of the experience. As we started with the Riesling in its proper stem, we were able to fully enjoy the aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, and petrol – everything you want from a great expression of Riesling. After enjoying our first sip, we paid attention to how the wine hit our tongues and how the finish (after taste) resonated through our olfaction. Astounding! Now we were asked to move the wine into the Chardonnay glass, then Pinot glass, and finally through the Syrah glass. Immediately out of the gate, the other stems didn’t concentrate the fragrances as well, nor lay the juice across the palate in a way that amplified the wine in the same way. It goes without saying but all the other varietals had the same effect from their proper stems to the improper stems. The due diligence and science behind all the work put into the development of the shapes and sizes and cross comparisons between connoisseurs has paid off well for the crystal dynastic family’s empire.
Another point of interest was said crystal. Riedel didn’t invent crystal, nor drinking wine from crystal. That can be attributed to the Romans, dating back centuries. What they did do though is refine the shapes of the bowls and the allotment for imperfections in the crystal itself. The imperfections are where the wine grabs to the side of the glass when you swirl, brining the juice and its aromatics closer to your nose, allowing you to bury yourself into the stemware and get the fullest aromatic experience from your wine.
As amazing as everything was through the experience, and we’d highly recommend you doing one of these seminars if they are in your local area, the real highlight of the day was quite possibly the oddest sounding on paper, most mind blowing on palate pairing of Riesling with Lindt dark chocolate infused with blueberries and açai. An absolute showstopping experience through and through!