This summer crystal glassware producer Lucaris and I released the Elements, a collection of hand blown glasses based on a novel and admittedly somewhat controversial premise. We proposed that a wineglass’ most important job is to give you – the drinker – the perfect experience of the wine for you. I add the words “for you” because most of the time in the wine world we seem to forget that regardless of what we think and say, wine consumers have their own opinions about what is enjoyable and what is swill.
Each glass in our collection is named after one of the basic “Elements”: Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Gold. They are meant to act as intuitive descriptors of different traits people enjoy in wine. Some people like their wine bold and powerful, like fire; others like it cool and refreshing like water. Our glasses work with whatever wine is poured into them to draw out those traits from the wine, making it bolder, fresher, more aromatic, rounder or whatever the drinker wants.
Having now had several months to present this concept to new drinkers and experts alike, I have been astonished time and again by how big a difference the glasses make. Terrifyingly, in some instances it seems to have a bigger impact than the grape variety. The reasons for this are complex – including a combination of fluid dynamics and psychophysics – and not the subject of our discussion today. Instead, I thought that as probably the most experienced user of these glasses (I now use them virtually every time I drink wine) I could help explain how each glass affects wine and hence which ones might best suit your wine tastes. This month we’ll talk about red wines and in future we’ll look at whites and more
This has been an unexpected favourite among many of my wine-loving friends, who love how well it works with everything from champagne to sherry. With a rounded, lantern-like belly that makes for easy swirling, this glass could tease perfume out of water, but the bowl’s tapered bottom keeps the wine from being overexposed to air and also keeps it nice and cool. Its narrow rim not only helps concentrate aromas but also sharpens up the acidity and firms up the tannins, creating a beautifully balanced shape. I do find this glass can render acidic reds a little shrill, so for those I’ll switch to Earth instead. However, if you’re someone who swoons to charming aromatics (you like Barolo, Barbaresco, Burgundy and other Pinots, Etna, Rioja, Chinon, etc.) this is the one for you.
Originally designed to flatter a wine’s rounder side, this glass has somehow also ended up emphasising savoury, “earthy” traits (perhaps it’s merely psychological, but to me it seems very clear). With its rounded bowl, conspicuous lack of straight surfaces or hard angles and sensuously curved lip, the glass shape is all softness and wines served from it act accordingly. One retailer remarked with surprise that the effect lingers well past the initial impression, with tannins feeling smoothened even after extensive swishing. While I can’t fully explain the phenomenon – one theory is that the rounded lip makes you anticipate a rounded texture, just as Cadbury found its chocolate was perceived as sweeter when they rounded its formerly sharp corners – any time I have an overly gruff, tannic red I serve it in the Earth and it takes the edge off like a charm.
This is the go-to glass if you are someone who loves a big, fruit-packed Barossa Shiraz, Napa Cab or Amarone. Not only will big wines feel like they have adequate breathing room in this glass, even less high-octane wines (Pinot Noir for example) will seem plusher and richer-fruited. The ripples on the wide, flat bowl expose the wine to plenty of oxygen, helping unlock juicy fruit. The wider rim and straight sides mean that the wine immediately floods your whole palate, giving you a sense of richness and fullness from the get go. Acidity also seems a little softer and tannins more integrated thanks to the upfront blast of fruit.
This glass, with its narrow and straight-sided rim and relatively tall, narrow bowl, may look like a white wine glass but it’s amazingly useful for cleaning up any sort of funkiness or excessive flab. Big, chunky reds tend to come across as a little daintier in this glass and anything suffering from an excess of brettanomyces (sweaty or earthy notes) and/or volatile acidity (vinegar or nail polish remover aroma) comes out smelling a little fresher. To my immense surprise, some wine loving friends and I found that of all the glasses, the Water was the one that most flattered a bottle of 1970s Barolo we opened late one night, making its otherwise slightly tired fruit feel vibrant and shimmering.
To be honest, this is the one glass in the collection that is not truly as multipurpose as the others, having been specifically designed for sparkling and sweet wines. However, in the interest of science, we have still frequently included it in experiments. It acts a bit like the water glass on steroids – sharpening up the acidity and firming up the tannins while moderating any sense of fullness in your red wine. Given a tart, tough and skinny red is not likely to be many drinkers’ preference, I don’t think we’ll see many people using the Gold for reds, but if this is the way you like them, by all means give it a go.
今年夏天，泰国玻璃器皿生产商Lucaris和我发布了“元素”系列葡萄酒杯，这是一系列基于一本小说和带有些争议的手工吹制水晶杯。 我们设想酒杯最重要的作用是为你——饮酒者——完美的葡萄酒体验。 我加上”为你”一词，因为大多数时候，在葡萄酒世界，我们似乎忘记了我们的想法和言语，葡萄酒消费者需要表达什么是他们享受的和什么是他们想要的。
空气 – 这款杯型是我许多葡萄酒爱好的朋友中的最爱，从香槟到雪利酒等所有葡萄酒都适用。圆润，灯笼一样的杯肚，更容易摇晃葡萄酒，这款酒杯可以让香气更好的散发，且碗状的杯底防止葡萄酒过度曝光到空气中，也保持它的优雅和凉爽。其狭窄的边缘不仅有助于集中香气，而且更突出酸度和单宁，创造一个平衡的形状。我确实发现这款酒杯不太适合高酸的红葡萄酒，所以对于那些葡萄酒我会使用“土”这款酒杯。然而，如果你是偏爱迷人香气（例如你喜欢巴罗洛，巴巴莱斯科，勃根第和其他黑皮诺，埃特纳，里奥哈，希农等）的人，那么这款酒杯适合你。
土 – 最初设计想体现葡萄酒圆润的一面，这款酒杯也以某种方式停止强调咸味，”土”的特点。其圆形的杯体，明显缺乏直面或硬角，酒杯形状呈现了柔和的一面。一位零售商惊讶地表示，这种效果在最初的印象中挥之不去，即使经过过度的摇杯，单宁也感觉平顺。虽然我不能完全解释这种现象——一种理论是，圆润的杯边让你期待圆润的质地，就像吉百利发现它的巧克力被制作成圆角时，会被认为更甜一样。
火 – 如果你喜欢巴罗萨产区的设拉子，纳帕产区的赤霞珠或阿玛罗尼，这款杯型适合您。不是只有大酒才需要在酒杯里有足够的呼吸的空间。宽大的杯口，直筒的杯身，使葡萄酒更好的与空气接触，有助于散发多汁的果香。更宽的边缘和直线条的杯身意味着让葡萄酒立更快的填满你的整个味蕾，给你一种丰富和充实的感觉，酸度似乎也更柔和，单宁更集中。
水 – 这款酒杯，有着窄而平滑的边缘，以及相对高而窄的杯肚，可能看起来像一个白葡萄酒杯，但它对红葡萄酒有很惊人的帮助。红葡萄酒往往给人的印象是优雅，以及从那些过多的酵母味（汗水或泥土）和/或挥发性的酸度（醋或指甲油去除剂香气）散发出来的一点清爽的气味。令我大为惊喜的是，一些葡萄酒爱好者和我发现，一瓶我们前一晚开瓶的1970年的巴罗洛葡萄酒，在所有的酒杯中，“水”这款酒杯是最适用的，使其紧致的果香香气四射。
金 – 说实话，这是该系列中的一款不像其他酒杯那样多用途的酒杯，专为起泡酒和甜葡萄酒而设计。然而，为了印证好奇心，我们仍然经常把它纳入我们的实验。它有点像类固醇上的水杯 – 突出酸度和提升单宁，同时在你的红葡萄酒里缓和所有的味觉。一款高酸、强壮的红葡萄酒可能不会是很多饮酒者的首选，我不认为我们会看到很多人选择“金”来喝红葡萄酒，但如果这是你喜欢的一款酒杯，也不用过多在意它的设计意义。