Can the shape of your wine glass affect the taste?

It is commonly agreed that the shape of a wine glass affects the taste of the wine. Many generations of wine connoisseurs and wine experts, along with wine lovers, have debated over which wine glass shapes are best suited to a particular wine. Ideal Wine Company review how the shape of a wine glass can impact the taste of your wine.

The basic shape of a wine glass is designed for optimum wine drinking. The sides usually bow inwards towards the rim, which means that we point our noses towards the centre of a glass. This reduces the harshness of the gaseous ethanol, or alcohol, making wine aromas more distinct.

This shape is key to how we drink. When you drink, you tilt your head differently, depending on the shape of your glass. With wide rimmed glasses, you lower your head, but when drinking from a narrow rim you tilt your head back. These different positions change the speed of the wine hitting your tongue, as well as the intensity of the aroma while drinking. The intensity of wine aromas also strongly correlates with the ratio between the diameter of the glass cup, at its widest point, to the diameter of the opening.

Ideal Wine Company wine glass shape
Can the shape of wine glasses affect the taste of the wine?

Taste Test

This theory was put to the test, to see to what extent the shape of a glass changed the taste of a wine. Using a Cabernet Sauvignon as an example, the same wine was sampled from two different glasses. Both Riedel, one glass was a traditional Bordeaux glass while the other was designed for Cabernet/Merlot.

The Bordeaux glass

This glass had a larger and less round opening. The large opening caused the wine to hit the palate all at once, softening the acidity of the wine and causing it to taste more monolithic. This caused the wine to taste smoother and less fruity, with the taste not persisting as long on the palate. The less round bowl caused the aroma to be less intense. This wine was kept smooth yet resulted in more muted aromas. This glass would be a good choice for bold, European reds.

The Cabernet/Merlot glass

In comparison, this glass had a much smaller rim and a rounder bowl. Due to the smaller opening, the wine hit the palate in one centralised place and expanded outwards as you tasted it. This caused the wine to taste more acidic and made the taste persist longer in the mouth. The round bowl did a lot to collect the aromas in the glass and funnel them into your nose. The wine smells more intense as a result.

What to Look For

As the test shows, the taste of wine changes with the glass that is used. Make sure to match your wine glass to both what you are drinking and to highlight the notes you want to make dominant. While taste is personal, it is traditionally advised to stick to smaller bowls for white wines and larger bowls for red wines.

Bordeaux vs Burgundy: what you need to know

If you’re new to the French wine culture, fear not as Ideal Wine Company unravel the discussion that is Bordeaux vs Burgundy. Both Bordeaux and Burgundy are French wines, from two of the world’s most influential and distinct wine making regions.

Bordeaux and Burgundy are two of the greatest wine making traditions in alcoholic grape juice history. The ongoing battle over which is more superior to the other still influences many wine lover’s choices, but what is the true difference between Bordeaux and Burgundy?

Bordeaux

Wine bottles
What’s the best choice?

Bordeaux is a polished, righteous wine with blends of Cabernet and Merlot. Bordeaux, much like Burgundy, has an iconic bottle shape of high right-angled shoulders.

The Bordeaux wine region was founded by the Romans, as a port city it boasts access to trade and wine distribution. It has its famous left and right banks and five classifications, it is best known for its red wine (typically Cabernet-Merlot based wines). These red wines are then able to be blended with support from Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec – white Bordeaux is made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

Burgundy

Burgundy is a finicky, sublime Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine – along with Bordeaux wine it also has an iconic bottle shape of a sloping hunch. Burgundy is a land-locked area in France’s north-eastern region; Burgundy has 74,000 acres of vineyards to Bordeaux’s 300,000. Burgundy has Grand, Premier Cru and Villages designations which are smaller family-owned operations which make up a large proportion of the regions vineyards.

Burgundy also includes Chablis and Beaujolais; however, each region has a distinctive style that separates it. Burgundy is well known for both its white and red wine with the main grape varieties being Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Wines of the Beaujolais are not typically held in high esteem however many of the Cru Beaujolais wines are considered of good quality.

So, which is better?

Neither wine is considered worse than the other, in fact it is simply down to personal preference and taste. Bordeaux is a formerly popular wine that is being challenged by Burgundy the new rising star of French wines. Bordeaux has been open to heavy foreign investments, whereas Burgundy is family owned.

Due to the increasing popularity of Bordeaux, the price of the wine became expensive due to popular demand; now it seems Burgundy is heading in the same direction – opening itself up to foreign investment.

If you’re inspired to try out a Bordeaux or Burgundy wine, visit Ideal Wine Company’s Bordeaux and Burgundy ranges on our website.

How To Create A Wine List

If you are throwing a wine party for New Year’s, remember that guests can often feel overwhelmed, when given too much choice. Ideal Wine Company explains how to create a wine list, so you can subtly provide guests with the information they require to choose the vintage they will most enjoy!

Vital information

There is some basic information that you should include in your wine list, to give guests the chance to recognise some aspect of the vintage they’re familiar with. This includes the wine’s name, product, varietal and production location. But not every guest will be a wine buff, so you may want to explain more complex terms, like terroir, in your wine list notes, so they can make informed decisions.

Consider format

Your wine list needs to be easy for your guests to read, so you should consider its format very carefully, looking at everything from font to text colour. Pay attention to how you categorise your wines, as obscure groupings e.g. by taste profiles, can prove confusing to the uninitiated. Ensure your categories are representative of their contents e.g. group by varietals, so attendees know what they’re drinking.

Short is best

On the subject of formats, you may want to keep your wine list short and sweet, to avoid giving your guests too much choice. We would advise you to stick with five white wines and five red wines, if you want a basic list, or throw in a rose or two, or even a few sparkling wines. A good tip is to only provide a couple of bottle options for each category, you ensure your wine list is easy to navigate.

Include staples

Australian lifestyle site The Shout advises you to include staple wines on your list, to ensure there’s something for everyone. This includes Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and Rieslings for whites and Shiraz’, Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons for reds, as these styles are all well-known. Order each category by weight, going from light and seasonal to heavy and bold wines, to promote convenience.

Varied locations

Wine lists shouldn’t be boring, so you may want to choose vintages from a variety of locations. It’s advisable to opt for wines produced in a mix of old world e.g. Bordeaux and new world, e.g. California, regions, to capture your guests’ imaginations. You can find wines from top regions all over the world, including Bordeaux, Burgundy, California and Australia on Ideal Wine Company’s website.

Brexit Could Impact French Wine Trade

When the Brexit result was announced, the world paused. The value of the British Pound dropped to its lowest level in over 30 years, UK Prime Minister David Cameron resigned and according to the Guardian, the panic caused by Brexit wiped $2 trillion from the value of global markets. But it may have a positive effect on French wine trade, writes Ideal Wine Company.

Brexit and wine  

Last week we discussed how Australian wine makers could benefit from Brexit. This week Ideal Wine Company look at the impact Brexit may have on the French wine trade.

It is not yet clear how Brexit will affect the worldwide wine sector. Decanter writes that the UK is the 6th largest wine consuming country on earth, so it is likely that Brexit will re-shape the international wine market in some way, shape or form.

Impacting French wine

Brexit may have a negative impact on the French wine trade with the UK. France is arguably the world’s most famous wine-making country, boasting regions such as Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux which are known for consistently producing and exporting fantastic wines. An article from the Financial Times reveals that the UK was France’s largest wine export market (by value) in 2015.

It is not surprising, therefore, that RFI English reports that the falling pound could see the price of French wine increase by as much as 8% in the UK. This could limit UK consumers’ purchasing power, with French wine dealers saying that the effects of Brexit are already being felt across France.

Lot of uncertainty

Commenting on this phenomenon Pablo Huart, the Director of Paris-based wine cellar ‘Le Cercle by Vintage & Cie,’ said: “It’s really recent and we’ve started to see a reaction among wine professionals we work with … there’s lots of uncertainty. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen.”

While many French dealers are rushing to buy cheaper wine from English merchants, export prices are being damaged in France as well. Continuing, he said: “I know many merchants have been avoiding going to the [annual Bordeaux] En Primeur campaign, some properties are having difficulties selling all their wines – in contrast to other years. Already many merchants were buying smaller quantities of Bordeaux wines – and now with the UK leaving Europe, the climate for business is very uncertain.”

It is hard to really determine what effect Brexit will have on France’s wine trade with the UK. However, British consumers have a taste for bottles produced in French regions such as Bordeaux so whatever happens, it is likely that they will keep buying wine from our neighbours across the channel.

Buy French wine

Chile’s 2016 Vintage is “More Like Bordeaux”

A number of wine producers have explored the feels and flavours of Chile’s latest vintage, finding a distinct similarity to Bordeaux wine. Ideal Wine Company investigates.

Speaking to Decanter, winemakers explained that the cool, wet climate has had an effect on the finalisation of wine production.

Chilean wine

Chile is a major new world wine power. The coastal South American nation is an incredibly diverse wine maker, producing everything from whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. With Chile’s wine making country stretching over 1000km, its annual vintages always vary significantly from region to region.

Chile experienced cooler and wetter weather than usual in the 2016 grape growing season, with some reports of high humidity. Decanter writes that this has made the 2016 vintage lighter than usual, with production dropping by 20% from 2015, to under 1bn litres. This may be the lowest total amount of wine produced in the country since 2010, but producers are excited about how it may taste. Decanter talked to producers from various Chilean regions.

Central valley regions  


Following this year’s El Niño weather cycle, the Chilean central valley wine making areas of Maipo, Cachapoal, Colchagua and Curico all experienced a cooler-than-average growing season. This brought on late grape maturation across the central valleys. Some producers were still seeing their fruit ripen during three days in mid-April when 200 millimetres of rain fell on the region.

The central valleys then experienced a cold snap, which made it harder for some producers to pick all their fruit on time, leading to falling wine volumes. But this weather had an interesting effect on central valley wine, according to Cachapoal-based wine maker Patrick Valette.

Commenting, he said; “It was a totally different vintage because of the El Niño affect… It is not a common vintage, it is more of a Bordeaux vintage in concept rather than a typical Chilean year. The average temperatures are much lower and the harvest was delayed.”

Coastal and northern regions

Chile’s coastal wine making regions experienced extra humidity this growing season. Explaining how this affected coastal Chilean wines, Casablanca-based winemaker Pablo Morande said: “Maturity has been very slow… We had lots of humidity in the mornings, and some varieties were more susceptible to fungus and attacks of odium. There is less alcohol and a stronger acidity, I think it is a very good year for rosé and whites.”

The rains were a blessing in the usually-dry northern wine producing regions of Limari, Huasco and Elqui. Along with the warm summer that followed, these rains had a beneficial effect for winemakers in the north. Commenting, De Martino-based winemaker Marcelo Retamal said: “Limari had lots of snow so everyone was very happy there was water… it was a great year for Pinot and Chardonnay.”

See what’s in store – Ideal Wine Company

In other words, the onset of a wet growing season has potentially allowed wine making regions across Chile to produce a standout 2016 vintage. With experts saying it will taste more like Bordeaux, the 2016 vintage from the central valleys of Chile should prove particularly spectacular, as Bordeaux wine is celebrated as some of the best in the world. If you want to see what a central valley Chilean 2016 wine may taste like, check out our selection of Bordeaux wines!