Bentley’s Grill Wine Steward Mark Jacklich is continuing his studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers through 2012. In addition, he plans to spend a lot of time working with Jim Bernau’s team at Willamette Valley Vineyards and learn more about the process from grapes to wine full circle. Mark is eager to share his knowledge with you in an educational series we call: Wine Notes with Mark. Enjoy!
“So why do you put that wine into that glass?”
This is a question I get asked at least once or twice a week. The short answer is that different wine is best expressed by specific designs of glassware. For champagne and sparkling wines, a “Flute” is best with it’s slender shape and reduced surface area, which allows for more bubbles to stay intact for consumption.
For our red wine stemware we have two different styles, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux. The Pinot glass has a large bowl to aide in a healthy swirl and to accentuate the aromas of Pinot Noir varietals. The shape of the opening allows for the wine to be directed to the tip of the tongue for the taster to get the most out of this delicate grape. The Bordeaux glass is tall with a smaller bowl than the Pinot glass. This style is best suited for bigger, fuller bodied wines such as Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah. It’s mouth opening directs wine towards the back of the tongue where taste buds better suit the flavors of these heavier reds. With both styles, the aim is to allow more oxygen in to help ‘open up’ the wines. This helps showcase the nuances that wines have when allowed to breathe.
With white wine it depends on the style and varietal much like red wine. With Chardonnay, a bigger, shorter bowl is best to promote the rapid oxidization of its full flavors and oaked characteristics. For lighter, fresher styles of white wine like Pinot Gris and Riesling, oxidization is less desirable as it masks the delicate nuances of the wine. To keep the crisp clean flavors many white wine glasses have smaller openings with the same idea of the champagne flute, which is to reduce surface area and in turn, the rate of oxidation.
Here at Bentleys we have Riedel brand stemware, which is made from Austrian and German crystal and is highly regarded as the best stemware on the market.
So next time you’re enjoying a glass of wine, whether at home or at Bentley’s, see if you can tell the difference!