Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, focusing primarily on wines that are either kosher or Israeli.

Riedel's "O" Glasses: Laughable or Serious?

Stemless glasses are just fine for serving wine
7
21%
Stemless glasses are sort of acceptable for serving wine
8
24%
Stemless glasses are somewhat problematic for wine
4
12%
Stemless glasses are very problematic for wine
7
21%
Stemless glasses are an abomination
4
12%
Stemless glasses were meant as a joke
3
9%
 
Total votes : 33

Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Daniel Rogov » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:51 pm

Riedel's stemless "O" wine glasses (see the illustrations attached) have become a hit in some circles. Other crystal producers are imitating them; I know of one restaurant that prides itself on its political correctness that refuses to serve any other wine glasses and I have found them increasingly in a few self-proclaimed "in" French, Italian and Israeli restaurants that offer them.

From another perspective, few glasses have encouraged as much controversy, some loving them, others hating them and still others telling jokes about them. One of those jokes is to the effect that Riedel is about to offer stems and epoxy glue to complement their "O" glasses. At any rate, one does have to give Riedel credit as my guess is that no other wine glasses in history have caused so much discussion.

Simply stated – where do you stand on stemless wine glasses such as Riedel's "O" for serving wine. In addition to your vote your comments, observations, anecdotes and yes, even jokes, are most highly solicited.

Those not yet familiar with these glasses can see them illustrated in the attachments.

My thanks to Gamliel for suggesting this poll.

Riedel0.jpg
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Riedel02.jpg
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Riedel03.jpg
Riedel03.jpg (13.86 KiB) Viewed 3941 times
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Menach N » Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:59 pm

i usually do not prefer the stemless glasses but it is acceptable for wine , it does the job. maybe not as i would want but....e' quell che e' ! (it is what it is)
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Aug 08, 2008 6:05 pm

I've not tried them, but retain an open mind (until I have).

I do accept though, that there is a point to stems - to avoid heating the wine with the heat from hands and to avoid smeary marks on the glass.

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Matilda L » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:13 am

Certainly, the clone glasses they use on Qantas flights to serve wine are very practical: nicer than plastic and they sit firm during turbulence. I'm happy to drink out of them on the ground, too, if that's what is offered to me. But for my own table, I will stick to stems. They look more elegant.

Ian is right about the practical aspects of stems - although most people I see drinking wine grab the glass by the bowl anyway. But I think you can swirl better with a stem than with an "O".

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Aug 09, 2008 5:30 pm

I would have liked to think that the concept of the stemless glass was a joke or, alternatively, simply as a means for adding yet another "different" glass to an already huge set of options. Alas, that seems not to have been the case, and I find these very problematic as wine glasses. After all, Riedel et co. have been trying to convince us for years that holding a wine glass at the bowl is a faux pas.

Truth be told, there is good logic to holding a glass by its stem and not by the bowl - keeps the grease off the bowl and does not add any heating from either our fingers or our palms. And yes, I believe it is a heck of a lot easier to swirl wines before sniffing in a stemmed glass.

I was given a set of six of these as a gift by a friend. No problem. They make fine water tumblers.

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Peter May » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:10 am

They were intended for situations where stems would be too fragile, such as bars and yachts..
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:36 am

Peter, Hi....

I recall the day that the "O" glasses were released to a great deal of publicity that hit Israel like a small bomb, largely because their European representative of that time was an Israeli. The original concept was "revolutionizing wine for the young". If I am not mistaken, the concept of being well suited for bars and yachts was devised only after the company received a good deal of negative feedback from critics and customers.

Important perhaps to keep in mind that the "O" glasses were designed by Georg Riedel's son shortly after he entered the company and he wanted to make "a mark for his generation".

I'll agree though that the idea of using them on yachts might make good sense. Next time I purchase a yacht, I'll be sure to bring my six water goblets (whoops..."O" wine glasses") along with me. But then again, Peter, you know me well enough...the yacht will have to wait until after the Lamborghini.

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:31 am

Anyone that uses stemless wine glasses probaby owns a new VW Beetle too. Both are offences against elegance and taste. :twisted:
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Ryan M » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:09 pm

I've never actually used one, but from an aestetic perspective, I would consider them 'somewhat problematic.' I want to appreciate the visually aspect of the wine without my fingers in the way, or having to hold it at some odd angle. Also, I don't want fingerprints on the glass. And then there's the consideration (particularly with whites) of you hand affecting the wines temperature.

I can however appreciate that they would be very practical in some circumstances. My objection is in principle, not in practice.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Shlomo R » Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:33 pm

I actually bought a pair of the "spirit" size version of the "O" series, but for a different purpose than Riedel intended. Having gotten tired of the metallic taste imparted by my silver kiddush cup, the 8 ounce "O" spirit glass was a reasonable size to use for making kiddush, and so I bought a pair (can't get a single). I have to say that I like them. On the other hand, even though a standard "bar pint" glass is my personal preferred drinking vessel (even for water), I have a hard time imagining holding the 21 ounce Cab/Merlot glass comfortably. So I am not sure what niche they meet for most people, but I voted that they are sort of acceptable. For wine in the home, I definitely prefer stemmed wine glasses, and have sets from the line produced by Riedel for Target Stores.

For the record, I find it insulting that the only line that contains a Bourbon glass, the Ouverture series, is described by Riedel as "Introduced in 1989, "Ouverture" is Riedel's uncomplicated beginner series for customers, who appreciate good, reasonably priced wine.
No types pf grape varieties or wine-growing regions disconcert the buyer. Six sizes are made for "drinking pleasure". Ouverture is lead free.
Ideal for everyday use, Ouverture glasses offer perfectly shaped wine glasses at competitive prices."
Nice to know that as a bourbon drinker I am an uncomplicated beginner. Someone ought to send Riedel a bottle of George T. Stagg. On second thought, I'll keep the Stagg for myself. :P
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Loweeel » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:27 am

They're far from perfect, but they'll do in a pinch. I keep 2 at the office, for friday afternoons -- it's a lot harder to fit a full stem in the office.

And if it's stemless, vs. a stem with a thick, rolled rim that sucks otherwise, I'll take the O every time.

Even though I HATE it when people touch the bowl of a wine glass.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Daniel Rogov » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:33 am

In a completely different context, I spoke today with a detective who told me that the police love those glasses because it's impossible to get whole or court-regognized fingerprints from stems". The moral of the story - if you're wanted or suspected, stay with stems!

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Jeff L » Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:10 pm

Have used for 2 years and love them. I have 4 children and wine stems tend to be fragile. Just avoud holding by the base or the wine gets too warm
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Gamliel K » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:22 pm

Personally, I believe the stemless wine glass to be a true abomination. Not only are they impracticable, because they force one to smudge and warm the bowl, but I also find them rather aesthetically unpleasing. As Professor Brillant Savarin might have put it, a wine glass missing its stem is like a beautiful woman missing an eye.

On a slightly funny note, I have friends here in DC who will occasionally invite me over for dinner, and whenever they do I find my place set with a stemless wine tumbler and a stemmed water chalice. They are always amused (and perhaps slightly horrified) when I use the tumbler for water and the chalice for wine.

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby EY Han » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:46 pm

Gamliel K wrote:On a slightly funny note, I have friends here in DC who will occasionally invite me over for dinner, and whenever they do I find my place set with a stemless wine tumbler and a stemmed water chalice. They are always amused (and perhaps slightly horrified) when I use the tumbler for water and the chalice for wine.
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Gamliel,

I have friends out in a Jerusalem suburb known as Tsur Hadassah that they typically serve wine in crystal Champagne flutes. I respectfully out out for their normally stemmed water "goblets," and they follow suite. . .

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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Loweeel » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:33 pm

Gamliel K wrote:Personally, I believe the stemless wine glass to be a true abomination. Not only are they impracticable, because they force one to smudge and warm the bowl, but I also find them rather aesthetically unpleasing. As Professor Brillant Savarin might have put it, a wine glass missing its stem is like a beautiful woman missing an eye.

On a slightly funny note, I have friends here in DC who will occasionally invite me over for dinner, and whenever they do I find my place set with a stemless wine tumbler and a stemmed water chalice. They are always amused (and perhaps slightly horrified) when I use the tumbler for water and the chalice for wine.

Gamliel

Gamliel, I didn't know you were local! We may have to get together at some point.

But here's the question (and maybe a topic for next week's poll) -- which is more important for a wineglass, the stem or the bowl? Like I said, I would much rather deal with smudges and marginally warmer wine, as long as I can get varietal characteristics from the bowl and a nice thin cut rim. A stem is all well and good, but if it's one of those freebie glasses with a fat rolled rim, a completely open punchbowl bowl, and stuff printed on the bowl---or even worse, one of those opaque/fun/design-heavy stemmed glasses---I'll go stemless every time.

I think at the price point of the O (at least for most people), the alternative might be crappy glasses rather than good stemmed glasses. At least in my experience, I originally bought 4 O cab/merlot when they had some ridiculous sale on amazon. They were the first "nice" (i.e., varietally-tailored) wine glasses that I had. After 2 of them broke, I went up to bigger and better things. I'm not a fan of the fragility of riedel (nor of their prices), so I now currently use have Schott Zwiesel tritan stems for Bordeaux, dessert, and rose wine.

The virtues of O are that they're a gateway into stemware, a means, and one that they serve very well. As an end in and of themselves, they don't do nearly as good a job compared to the ideal, but they do compare favorably to the probable alternatives for novice drinkers in their own houses.
Last edited by Loweeel on Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Ryan M » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:37 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:In a completely different context, I spoke today with a detective who told me that the police love those glasses because it's impossible to get whole or court-regognized fingerprints from stems". The moral of the story - if you're wanted or suspected, stay with stems!

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Case in point (see my previous post in this thread) regarding fingerprints.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Gamliel K » Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:45 pm

Loweeel wrote:Gamliel, I didn't know you were local! We may have to get together at some point.

But here's the question (and maybe a topic for next week's poll) -- which is more important for a wineglass, the stem or the bowl? Like I said, I would much rather deal with smudges and marginally warmer wine, as long as I can get varietal characteristics from the bowl and a nice thin cut rim. A stem is all well and good, but if it's one of those freebie glasses with a fat rolled rim, a completely open punchbowl bowl, and stuff printed on the bowl---or even worse, one of those opaque/fun/design-heavy stemmed glasses---I'll go stemless every time.


Loweeel,

Indeed you do have a point on the importance of the bowl in appreciating wine. That said, on purely aesthetic grounds I’d prefer to drink wine out of almost any stemmed glass (well perhaps not a Pat O’Brian’s souvenir Hurricane Glass, or the like) than out of the highest quality wine tumbler.

Aesthetics are an important element in enjoying food and drink, and personally I will enjoy the same meal more when served on fine china, as opposed to paper plates. The same goes for wine. I find the wine tumbler to be a ridiculous piece of glassware, and would feel ridiculous drinking wine from one.

Gamliel

P.S. Meeting up in person at some point does sounds like fun. Drop me a line via PM and we’ll set something up.

P.P.S. Just for the record, I do not own a Pat O’Brian’s souvenir Hurricane Glass
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Jonathan K » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:11 pm

The O's are not my preference but are just fine for serving wine. In some situations, they are actually nice to have around. On a windy day serving guests outside or on an airplane comes to mind. At an elegant dinner party-no way is it preferred, but I certainly wouldn't turn one down.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Patti L » Wed Aug 13, 2008 4:57 pm

If I'm tasting a wine for the first time, no, I won't use them. But for sitting on the patio with a glass of my favorite house red, the Os do just fine.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby T Shahar » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:09 am

We use those glasses to server water near the 'real' wine glasses.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Jacques Levy » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:17 am

They're only useful for byo at places where the stemware is unacceptable. Then, I can bring some of theses "O" glasses without fear of breaking a stem en route.
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:10 am

Joining in a little late, I'm going to take a contrarian view.

While I would not use my Riedel Os at a fancy dinner with china and silver and candles on white damask tablecloths, I'm fine with them for casual tasting and informal settings such as picnics or even dinner at home. Yes, you pick them up with your hands. Using your napkin to wipe this extremity befor handling nice crystal is a good idea even if you have a stem. ;)

Many of us have traveled in Italy and Greece, I'm sure, and surely we've encountered trattorie that serve the wine of the country in tumblers. In that setting it works, and the wine and food taste great.

Riedel kicks this concept up a notch with a "tumbler" that is also a decent, thin-walled, varietally shaped (if you really believe in that concept) but simply without a stem. In a casual setting where a stem is not de rigeur, I'm fine with that.

Finally, although I recognize that this is hardly rigorous research, when the O was new, I featured it in my 30 Second Wine Advisor E-letter, a publication presumably read mostly by people with at least some knowledge of wine and its rituals. The accompanying link to buy the Os at Amazon.com sold a LOT of glasses. Just one data point ... there are certainly a fair number of serious wine lovers out there who don't hate them.

Now ask me how often I use my own Os (I have two pairs - a Cabernet and a Chardonnay, I think) ... okay, maybe twice a year. ;)
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Re: Wine Poll #004: Poking Fun At or Admiring Riedel "O" Glasses

Postby Josh Patt » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:43 pm

They're ugly.

They probably work in that they hold wine and allow you to drink it, but they are completely lacking in elegence and taste, and wine is all about elegence and taste. If you just want something that works, then you can drink water.

I'm probably being a bit too strong, and I could see using these on a boat where stems would tip over. The point is that these are not a viable option for drinking wine INHO except where stemware is not an option.

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