Find out how to care for your wine glasses and get tips on how to tell the quality of the wine glass
In the first part of our interview, we find out what to look for in choosing wine glasses and how to place them in dining settings. Christophe Oudin, the managing director of Zwiesel Asia Pacific, tells us how to care for wine glasses and clear some common misconceptions about wine appreciation.
1. Could you share some tips on how best to care for wine glasses?
Theoretically, the very best care you can give a wine glass is to wash it by gently by hand with very hot water only. If it is necessary to remove lipstick or other stains from the mouth of the glass, use only a sponge with very diluted dish soap. The reason is that detergent residue can remain on the glass as will their aromas. This will noticeably affect the wine when the glass is used again.
2. Is there a way to tell the quality of the wine glass?
There are three easy way to affirm the quality of the wine glass. The first and the easiest way is to look at the rim of the glass. If the rim of the wine glass is refined, not too thick, the glass is likely to be of good quality. It’s even better if the rim is polished.
The next thing to look at is the overall balance of the glass. Fine crystal or a quality machine-made glass will feel well-balanced in the hand. Another component to examine is how the stem of the glass feels. The stem of a good wine glass will feel delicate and, like the rim, refined to the touch.
3. Are there any misconceptions of using wine glasses?
The most common is that when you hold a filled wine glass, you should cup it with your hand. In many places, but particularly in places like Singapore where the temperatures are usually rather warm, the wine does not benefit from the additional warmth of the hand. It is far better to hold it by the stem so that there is no temperature transfer. The exception is in cold places, where the wine is cold and needs to be warmed – this is when it is more beneficial to cup the wine glass in your hand.
Another is that sparkling wine requires a flute. In fact, sparkling wine can be enjoyed out of a normal white wine glass too! When drinking a sparkling wine out of a white wine glass, the subtle aromas of a sparkling wine can actually be better appreciated than when drinking out of a flute.
4. Why is it important to use a proper wine glass to enjoy wine?
Wine should always be tasted in proper wine glasses, and the best are made from crystal glass like ours. A proper wine glass enhances the taste and scent of the wine by allowing the bouquet and aromas of the wine to develop properly through careful design of the shape of the glass. For instance, certain wines need a longer form to funnel the smell to the nose, while others require more room and therefore a bigger shape for the smells to bloom. And as we know, smell greatly affects taste. Secondly, it allows the wine to flow onto the palate smoothly so that the nuances of the tastes, as well as the finish can be clearly tasted, in the proper order. Schott Zwiesel and Zwiesel 1872 glasses all have very thin wall and polished rims so that the glass itself doesn’t interfere with the interaction of the wine with the palate but helps it instead. Thirdly, it allows the true colour of the wine to be properly appreciated through the pellucid clarity of the glass.
5. How else does having a proper wine glass affect the experience?
It affects all the different sensory pleasures. A proper wine glass also offers a cool smooth delicate feel to the hands when holding the glass. It makes a crisp clear bell-like sound when glasses are clinked together for a toast.
A proper wine glass enhances the wine, supports the pleasures that comes from drinking wine – and at Zwiesel Kristallglas, we often host glass tasting sessions to share and exchange ideas on wine and the art of drinking wine. These glass tasting sessions often illuminate why proper wine glasses are so necessary, and how different wines are affected by the shape and type of glasses.