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In This Issue

Wine Advisor back on Fridays
The shape of the glass

Wine Advisor back on Fridays

As we gradually return to a more normal schedule, The 30 Second Wine Advisor's daily edition marks the end of August by returning to a three-days-a-week schedule. We'll follow the "Wine Advisor Express" practice of keeping the Wednesday and Friday editions short, and hope to be back to a full daily schedule again later in the autumn.

The shape of the glass

I don't usually worry too much about what shape my wine glass is in, as long as it is clean.

I'm talking about its physical shape, of course: For all practical purposes, one standard wine glass - often called a "tulip" because it mimics the form of the spring flower with its large round bowl on a thin stem - works well for all wines. Large enough to allow swirling the wine to enhance its aroma, its inward curving form creates a protected space above the wine to retain the delicate aromas for your sniffer, and the stem offers a way to hold the glass without warming the wine or getting greasy fingerprints on the bowl.

On the other hand, many theorists believe that a wide variety of glass shapes allows the wine lover to select just the right shape to fit the flavor profile of specific wines. Best-known for this approach is the Riedel firm, based in Austria, which offers literally dozens of pricey glasses for every wine from Chianti to older Bordeaux.

A research report this week from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, reported in "New Scientist" magazine, may shed new light on the Riedel theory.

Russell, with the university's Food Science and Technology department, poured a Merlot into three different glasses: A tall, thin Champagne "flute," a wide, shallow Martini glass, and a "Bordeaux" glass, presumably a standard tulip.

She used laboratory equipment to measure the concentration of gallic acid, a phenolic compound, in each glass shortly after pouring. Then she repeated the test 10 to 20 minutes later and found that the concentration of gallic acid had decreased in the Bordeaux glass but not in the other two.

Finally, the professor allowed her students a taste of the wines (using a non-traditional vessel, a laboratory beaker). Only one of them, an older professor, could detect any difference!

"I think with training the glass might make a difference," Russell concluded.

For the full story, visit New Scientist's online edition,
Riedel Crystal's home page is at
and our friends at Brentwood Wine Co. offer them for sale at


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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Friday, Aug. 30, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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