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riedel, does it really make a difference?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've still got the first set of wine glasses i ever purchased. They were very cheap. I've been reading up on this and it seems that Riedel made their name by creating glasses with shapes to complement the particular varieties of wine that should be served in them. So much for my idea of one type of glass for red, white and champagne... Instead, it's one type for bordeaux, and another for burgundy, shiraz, zinfandel,chardonnay,sauvignon blanc,riesling, and champagne.

Now I'm not a wine connoisseur, but I do like good wine, and usually can't stand cheap wine. I usually pay in the 15-20 range, although depending onthe occasion I'll buy more expensive bottles.

I've read enough to be convinced that the glass does make a difference, but I'm wondering if it's just a marginal one or a substantial one. It's probably moot in the end since I'll likely bit the bullet, but I am curious.

I really like their new line that's exclusive to williams-sonoma called grape@riedel. They've got a seamless pulled stem that really adds to the elegance of the glass imo.
post #2 of 17
We've tried Spiegelau, Reidel Vinum and Restaurant (we purchased the Restaurant from a friend that owns a restaurant), and untold other so-called "best of" over the years. The biggest plus with both the Spiegelau and the Reidels is their beauty. Only the Reidel Restaurant can go into the dishwasher.

As for how the various bowl shapes work . . . That is highly subjective. We don't own every bowl shape. So, each of the Burgundies and most all other Rhone valley wines are served in the same glass. It is the same with the Bordeaux and Bordeaux vicinity wines, and so on for Italian, California, and Australian.

I think we have six different shapes in all of the Reidel Restaurant. I have to refer to an illustrated guide each time we use them! I suppose that some degree of extra pleasure is to be experienced by matching wine with glass shape. My abilities to distinguish subtle differences are somewhat limited.

I wish only that the glasses were not so delicate. The very delicacy of the glasses assures that our collection is always an odd lot one. Yes, to answer your original question, there is a distinct difference that is likely worth it with careful pairing and use.

__________________________________
post #3 of 17
Yes, it does make a difference. I have a fairly extensive collection of riedel vinum. And I have a few spiegelau as well, when I will have more than 6 guests. Riedel are much nicer than spiegelau as tableware, that's about the only difference between the two and the spiegelau "expert" is more consistent than any riedel. !luc
post #4 of 17
I have some Riedel stemware which I bought for a Valentines Day with a great Bordeaux some two years ago, and ever since I don't think the amount of money I've spent on Charles Shaw has even matched the price of the glasses themselves.
post #5 of 17
I think there was a thread about this a while ago but I can't seem to pull it up on the search function.
post #6 of 17
there was another thread like this. I posted there that I had read an article a few years ago by bon apetit where they did a blind taste test with reidel glasses and found no difference. they also exaimened the "research" done by Reidel to support their claims and found it weak.
post #7 of 17
My only criterion for choosing a wine glass is that it must not have a seam in the stem. Feeling that seam while I'm drinking my wine is like having a stone in my shoe.

I assume Riedel makes several lines, because I'f found Riedel glasses with seams in the stem and without. Spiegelau is nicer than Riedel in my opinion. My wine glasses are Orrefors Intermezzo, which are exquisite.
post #8 of 17
Riedels (or other kinds of glasses) can make a difference, but it is not consistent. Their Pinot Noir/Burgundy can flatter some burgs that don't quite sing in the standard bowl-shaped glasses from Tiffany or Williams-Sonoma (very good, IMO). But it's not enough of a difference that I will not use the others.

As a counterexample, I remember one white Burgundy that tasted like two completely different wines in a Tiffany goblet and a Riedel Chardonnay glass. I forget which made the wine taste true to its character, but either way, it was a "man on the street" difference. So it happens, but don't throw out a good basic pattern from another manufacturer just to get neurotic about it.

FWIW, I very much like the Riedel Vintage Champagne glasses. The Sommelier version is miraculously light and very good for enjoying the wine. The Vinum version is not quite so svelte, but also very good and much more durable.

Also, the "O" stemless series is an idea that should have been floated years ago. Good for boats, summer houses-- anywhere space is at a premium. Ideally they would be stronger-- there are some bowl-shaped cocktail glasses from Crate & Barrel that are good for everyday drinking and machine washing-- but they're nevertheless worth a look.
post #9 of 17
Look, I'm an engineer, and as much as I love analysis, I know that most of the distinctions we are parsing are trivial. I like for things in my life to bring a sense of the sensual, of the artistic, to every area those qualities do not touch, and to enhance them even where they reside. Riedel glasses do that for me, more than they possibly could improve the wine, though, as Concordia mentions they do in some cases, and in others it's not so clear cut. No wine is going to be declared bad because of the glass, and some may be better -- plus I want to give them the best chance they have to shine. But in the end I simply enjoy them, and that is that. My favorite are the Sommeliers series, followed by the Vinum Extreme (but merely there because I have a thing for diamond shapes). Regards, Huntsman
post #10 of 17
Differences in shape within a manufacturer's line of glasses will have greater variation in results than between manufacturers comparing the same shape, frankly. The rest is mostly manufacturer sponsored propaganda. As long as the material is similar with no large differences in thermal properties, of course. The end result is that minor differences in shape in most cases make very little difference which will be really noticeable to anyone but complete fanatics and possibly some connoeiseurs. P.s.1 What Huntsman said. P.s.2 One more thing, not wine but I can give you some things to try with ales that can display how differences in shape can affect the end result. Transforming a rather bland witbier to something much more interesting and complex? Compare a Hoegaarden in a tulip or white wine glass compared to in a very wide goblet or stein. That is one that comes to mind immediately.
post #11 of 17
[quote=GQgeek]I've still got the first set of wine glasses i ever purchased. They were very cheap. I've been reading up on this and it seems that Riedel made their name by creating glasses with shapes to complement the particular varieties of wine that should be served in them. So much for my idea of one type of glass for red, white and champagne... Instead, it's one type for bordeaux, and another for burgundy, shiraz, zinfandel,chardonnay,sauvignon blanc,riesling, and champagne.

Now I'm not a wine connoisseur, but I do like good wine, and usually can't stand cheap wine. I usually pay in the 15-20 range, although depending onthe occasion I'll buy more expensive bottles.

I've read enough to be convinced that the glass does make a difference, but I'm wondering if it's just a marginal one or a substantial one. It's probably moot in the end since I'll likely bit the bullet, but I am curious.


The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make."
(Robert M.Parker, Jr. The Wine Advocate)


Could I say more?

paul
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pemazel
The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel. The effect of these glasses on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make."
(Robert M.Parker, Jr. The Wine Advocate)


Could I say more?

paul

Yes. You could say more from your own experience rather than simply quoting Parker. While Mr. Parker continues to make overall significant contributions to the wine scene in general, his opinions are regularly challenged.

Having read Mr. Parker for many years, I frequently agree with him. Perhaps I am simply not enough of a wine technician or hedonist to swallow whole his assessment of Reidel. Note, please, my earlier post on this thread.

______________________________________
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Canvas
Yes. You could say more from your own experience rather than simply quoting Parker. While Mr. Parker continues to make overall significant contributions to the wine scene in general, his opinions are regularly challenged.

Having read Mr. Parker for many years, I frequently agree with him. Perhaps I am simply not enough of a wine technician or hedonist to swallow whole his assessment of Reidel. Note, please, my earlier post on this thread.

______________________________________

From my own experience, my Orrefors wine glasses make an enormous difference in the expression of the subtleties of a wine in comparison to cheaper glasses I have. This was a real eye opener. It's the quality of the crystal and the shape and size of the bowl that make the difference, not some orthodoxy built around Riedel or what Robert Parker says.
post #14 of 17
I am glad this was posted. I am considering and will most likely be purcasing some Riedel in the near future. Even if most of it turns out to be hogwash, I'd like to fully appreciate my wines and spirits and am willing to invest in any tools that might help.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Full Canvas
Yes. You could say more from your own experience rather than simply quoting Parker. While Mr. Parker continues to make overall significant contributions to the wine scene in general, his opinions are regularly challenged.
This is pretty much what I thought, too. I really don't care what Parker thinks, and I may never drink wines in the class he regularly imbibes, so it may not be a valid perspective for a modest connoisseur. Regards, Huntsman
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