Does Glass Matter?

Have you ever wondered while drinking your wine about the glass that you are drinking out of? I usually don’t, until I visited a winery that only serves their wine out of Riedel wine glasses. If you haven’t heard, these are supposed to be THE Wine Glasses of all wine glasses. So, recently I decided that I would conduct a little experiment of my own. Since I have a set of Riedel Merlot wine glasses, I decided that I would put this experiment to the test with a bottle of Merlot.

Before I get into my experiment, I want to tell you a little bit about wine glasses. As you saw above, I said that I have a set of Riedel Merlot glasses. Did you catch that? Merlot glasses. Most people are familiar with there being white wine glasses and red wine glasses. I also knew that there were sherry wine glasses due to my frequent watching of the sitcom Frasier when I was in school. Oh, and then there are sparkling wine glasses as well. But most people don’t know that there are wine glasses for each grape varietal. The purposes of these glasses, whether designated by wine color or grape varietal, are to aid in the aeration of the wine and to aid in the way you experience the wine. What I mean by that is, let’s say you have a sparkling wine, if you put the sparkling wine in a white wine glass, you will not get those bubbles that you would get in a champagne flute. The skinny shape of the flute promotes the flow of the bubbles. Also, the red wine glasses have larger bowls than white wine glasses. This allows the bolder flavors of the wine to have enough room to breathe. So then when you go to smell the wine, you can identify the notes of the wine more clearly than you would if you poured red wine in a white wine glass.

Now that you have been given a little bit of information on wine glasses, I will carry on with my experiment. I used three wine glasses to conduct my experiment: a Riedel Merlot glass, a nice red wine glass that I bought from Bed Bath and Beyond (BBB) and a $1 wine glass I bought from a local grocer.

From Left to Right: HEB glass, Riedel glass, BBB glass.
 Heb GlassBB&B Red Wine GlassRiedel Merlot Glass
NoseOnly smell alcohol. Even though the glass has a wide opening, in fact wider than the others, the notes are hard to detect.Mainly smelling the glass and potpourri.Smells like a young wine with notes of plum and cocoa
LegsThe legs are inconsistent. After letting the wine rest a little longer, the legs came down slowly but still hard to see a consistent flow.Coming down quickly but consistent.The legs are beautiful, streaming down like a motion picture.
TasteJust tastes like alcohol and metal. No real flavors coming out.Tannins are subtle and the spice is heavy.Tannins are more pronounced.
NotesTastes like a watered down juice that lingers on the palate.Heavy on the oak, raisin. Here the spice tends to taste like it was heavy on the pepper. Instead of a rounded feel of spice you get a punch of heat on the palate.Notes of spice, earth and a hint of oak. Here you get notes of spice and earth. The spice is more rounded verses a punch in the face like the BBB glass. The spice feels like earth on the cheeks. Also, notes of cocoa and dark fruit dance on the palate.

As you can see, there was a difference in the smell and taste of the wine depending on the glass. After, looking at my notes, I thought to myself, am I expecting a difference because everyone speaks so highly of these glasses or is there a true difference in taste and smell? So, I conducted another test, blindfolded, and my conclusion was the same.

Does this mean that I will go out and buy a bunch of Riedel glasses? Probably not, but I will look into Cabernet and Zinfandel glasses since I tend to drink more of these.

If you remember from my previous posts, I have not found a bottle of Merlot that I have fell in love with. While drinking from the HEB glass and the BBB glass, I didn’t particularly care for the wine. However, when drinking from the Riedel, I was able to appreciate the notes and enjoy the glass of Merlot.

The bottle of wine that was used for this experiment was: Cycles Gladiator Merlot, California, 2019. It has notes of cherry, blackberry and cedar. It also has hints of pencil shavings and moss. I think this wine is better paired with red meat; possibly brisket.

After conducting my experiments, I used the remaining wine to make a Pomegranate Sangria. Here is the recipe below:

Ingredients:

2 parts Merlot

1 part Ocean Spray Cranberry Pomegranate juice

1/4c Pomegranate Seeds

2 Tablespoons Lime Juice

Directions:

Combine the above ingredients and pour over crushed ice in a red wine glass. Salu’d!

I hope you enjoyed this article. Leave me a message below and tell me if you have tried Riedel glasses. Does glass matter to you?

XOXO, Smiling Danny, Salu’d

A Texas Thanksgiving

Hi Smiley’s and Wine Enthusiasts,

This month I am so excited to share with you my pairing of Texas Wines and Thanksgiving inspired hors d’ oeuvres. The wines range from the Texas Hill Country all the way to the High Plains. Be sure to grab your notepad because you are going to want to try these delicious pairings yourself.

What’s on the Menu:

Food Bites:

Meat: Smoked Honey Cured Ham and Cracked Pepper Roasted Turkey Breast

Bread: Sweet Cornbread

Cheese: Cranberry Orange Goat Cheese

Fruit: Opal Apple Slices

Desserts:

Texas Pecan Caramel Brownies

Pumpkin Spice Tea Cakes

Strawberries

Jazz Apple Slices

Hershey Chocolate Bars

Wines:

  • Becker Vineyards: Chardonnay, 2018
  • Becker Vineyards: Viognier, 2019
  • McPherson Cellars: La Herencia Red Table Wine, 2017
  • Llano Estacado: Cellar Reserve Texas Red Blend, Limited Release
  • Heath Sparkling Wine: Adoration, 2017
  • English Newson Cellars: Spider Rock Bourbon Barrel Aged Dessert Wine

Tasting Notes and Pairings:

Becker Vineyards: Chardonnay, 2018

This dry, white wine has notes of honey and pineapple. The wine paired nicely with the cranberry orange goat cheese, opal apple slices and the cracked pepper roasted turkey breast.

Becker Vineyards: Viognier, 2019

This is a dry, white wine with peach and floral notes on the nose and palate. Because of the fruit notes, the wine paired nicely with the apple slices and the goat cheese. This Viognier can easily be paired with the turkey or ham that you choose on your menu.

I think both wines complemented the charcuterie plate well. The wines did not overpower the food bite nor did the food bite overpower the wine. However, what I look for in pairings is for me to recognize the original notes in the wine and the flavors of the dish. In addition, I like to discover new flavor profiles from the combining of the two. Here, I didn’t pick up on any additional notes when I included the food bite in the tasting.

McPherson Cellars: La Herencia Red Table Wine, 2017

This is a dry, red wine with notes of berry and earth. Pairing this alongside the peppered turkey really opened up those earth notes in the wine. Also, the sweet cornbread created this umami profile in the mouth. Delicious!

Llano Estacado: Cellar Reserve Texas Red Blend, Limited Release

Now you know that I am in LOVE with Llano’s 1836, but this wine right here came in to a close second. I really enjoyed this wine. It is a dry, red wine, (of course, my fav) with notes of berry, earth and pepper. What I truly enjoyed about this wine is that I could taste the berry on the palate. Often, I pick up berry in the nose but it is rare that I will actually taste berry on the palate with the dry reds that I have tried thus far. This wine paired phenomenally with the ham and the goat cheese. Pairing it with the cornbread reminded me of cake, so that was a treat.

Next Up, Desserts!

Heath Sparkling Wine: Adoration, 2017

This is a dry, sparkling wine with notes of floral, apple, cranberry and cherry. It has a rose gold hue and lots of bubbles. This wine paired perfectly with the strawberries, chocolate bars and apple slices.

English Newson Cellars: Spider Rock Bourbon Barrel Aged Dessert Wine

This is a sweet, dessert wine with notes of raisin, pecan and chocolate. It tastes like every layer of my German Chocolate Cake! The wine paired nicely with all of the desserts, and when pairing, it created new flavors on my palate. I get really excited when this happens. Here are the creations below:

  • Brownie: pairing brought out caramel notes in the wine.
  • Chocolate: pairing created a dark chocolate flavor profile.
  • Strawberry: pairing created a chocolate cake with strawberries flavor.
  • Apples: pairing created a cinnamon glazed apple and brandied apple flavor.
  • Pumpkin Spice Tea Cake: pairing created a raisin bread flavor.

Now, is your mouth watering or what!! I hope that you enjoyed this post as much as I did and that you try some of the wines and food bites mentioned. If you do, be sure to leave a comment here or on my Instagram page. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and I look forward to sharing with you again soon.

XOXO, Smiling Danny

Salu’d

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Wine Pairing Wednesday: Pinot Gris and Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

Food and Wine Pairing

  • Wine: 99 West Pinot Gris, 2018, Williamette Valley, Oregon
  • Pairing: Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos on top a Broccoli Slaw and a Fruit Salad.
  • Tasting Notes: I have noticed that when tasting Pinot Gris’/Pinot Grigio’s, most of the time the notes I pick up are crisp, clean, refreshing and citrus. I don’t always pick- up additional notes; despite Vinter, location and year.  Through research, I found that this is common for this grape varietal. Here I pick up hints of pear and peach and because the wine is so clean, I get some mineral notes. The clarity reminds me of a shiny 24 karat gold and the wine is very clear. My cheeks are nice and moist; showcasing the beautiful acidity in the wine. The wine is perfect for a nice Spring or Summer day and paired well with this grilled fish dinner. The lemon and lime seasonings in the fish paired nicely with the citrus notes in the wine. Also, the green apples in my fruit salad paired nicely with the wine as well. Pinot Gris’ are known to be fruit forward wines.

Pinot Gris and Oregon

Pinot Gris is the second most planted grape varietal in Oregon. The grape varietal does very well in this area due to the climate and the location. Furthermore, Oregon has similar geographical characteristics as the Burgundy and Alsatian regions of France; where the grape originated. Oregon is a cooled climate, moderate temperatured area with long hours of sunshine. These consistent weather conditions allow the grape varietal to ripen slowly; which is ideal for the grape.

Pinot Gris: The Grape Varietal

Pinot Gris’ are usually picked early. This is why the wine tends to be light and fruity. The wine is best consumed within five to six years of bottling. The grape varietal thrives in cooler climates because this allows the grape to fully ripen. Oregon Pinot Gris’ are usually Medium bodied, have a balanced acidity and pair wonderfully with food. The skin of the grape ranges from blue-gray to pinkish-brown and if you hold the wine up to the light, you can see hues of pink flowing your glass.

I hope that you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the Pinot Gris grape varietal and that you enjoyed this tasting. Leave a comment below of the different notes that you tasted in the wine.

Until next time,

Salu’d, XOXO, Smiling Danny