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Posted by Robert Whitley on August 31, 2016 at 1:55 PM

What's In A Glass?

 To the casual observer, what's in a wine glass is infinitely more important than the glass itself. To a large extent, that's true. Yet the glass ultimately plays a huge role in the level of enjoyment you get from the wine.

With apologies to Georg Riedel, the Austrian glassmaker who promotes the belief that virtually every different wine type requires a glass tailored in size and shape for very specific grape varieties, stemware requirements are a bit more pedestrian.

I don't need a $75 hand-blown Bordeaux goblet to fully experience the wonders of my favorite cabernet sauvignon. A simple wine glass that can withstand the rigors of a dishwasher does the job most of the time. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but the sensory aspect is more or less the same.

What I look for first in an everyday wine glass is a shape that is conducive to aromatic development. That means the mouth of the glass should be narrower than the bowl. This allows you to swirl and aerate the wine, which brings up the aromas and softens some more astringent wines.

The notion of drinking good wine from a Mason jar might be a romantic nod to fond memories from yesteryear, but you will lose some potential flavor development in the process, and you won't get as much from the tasting experience as you should.

I also prefer a wine glass that has volume. A 10-ounce glass is about the smallest I use, and generally for white wines only. I much prefer wine glasses that have a capacity of 20 ounces or more. The greater capacity allows for a greater surface-to-air ratio, enhancing the aromatic complexity of almost any wine. Pour 5 to 7 ounces into a 20-ounce glass, and see for yourself. It doesn't matter whether the wine is red or white.

It may surprise some wine enthusiasts, but white wines also benefit from the additional room to breathe. Even sparkling wines and Champagne taste better in this type of glass than they do in a traditional Champagne flute.

Bottom line, using a good wine glass may not be as important as what's in the glass, but it's certainly part of the pleasure equation.

Moet & Chandon, Champagne (France) Brut Imperial NV ($41)
Faced with a growing challenge from boutique “grower” Champagne producers, Moet has clearly upped its game. The latest release of Brut Imperial delivers crunch apple and citrus fruit notes, with a creamy texture and an inviting touch of brioche. This superb Champagne was a Platinum award-winner at the 2016 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition. 94 Robert Whitley

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
The Myth of Aging
Paul Lukacs

Is aging potential a necessary aspect of a great wine? Not a good or pleasurable wine, but a truly great one? Certainly many wine professionals think so. I've asked this question of a number of them, including some fellow WRO columnists, and the overwhelming response has been that a wine's ability to improve in the bottle over time is part of what distinguishes it as great. No matter how one cares to measure what greatness means (with numerical points, for example, or hard-earned dollars) they contend that aging potential is a necessary component of vinous greatness. Well, I think they're wrong, and in fact are perpetuating a dangerous myth.
How Long Should I Age This Wine?
Michael Franz

For me, this is the toughest of all commonly asked consumer questions about wine. That is to say, this is the toughest one to answer in a straightforward way that is useful to the questioner in practical terms. To be clear, the problem isn't that this is a dumb question. On the contrary, it is a question that every novice wine-lover should ask. After all, everybody is somewhat aware that wine is unique by comparison to spirits or beer in an important respect: Wine holds the potential to develop in a positive way after we purchase it, though it can also be degraded if held too long.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Oven-Fried Chicken and Garlic Rice

We've been experimenting recently with avocado oil in the kitchen, which inspired us recently to make a meal that exploits some of its advantages. Since most of the favorable attention avocado oil receives is for its extremely high smoke point, we decided to test that out and make fried chicken. Rather than deep fat frying in a lot of oil we wanted to see if we could get appealing crispness and good flavor by frying the chicken in the oven using just a few tablespoons of oil. Another one of avocado oil's appealing qualities is its delicate buttery/mushroomy flavor, which adds a pleasant, savory taste to salads but is even more flavorful when warm. To take advantage of this attribute we made garlic-rice infused with avocado oil to accompany the chicken.
On My Table
Cool Climate California Syrah
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Although Syrah is one of the world's greatest red wine grapes, the diversity of wine styles that Syrah produces has complicated wine drinkers' enthusiasm for Syrah wine. At one end of the spectrum are majestic Northern Rhône wines such as Hermitage, Cornas and Côte Rôtie, and power-packed Barossa Valley Shirazes; at the other end of the spectrum are what the Brits would call 'cheap and cheerful' supermarket reds. The range of styles is confusing enough to turn a wine drinker to Cabernet instead.