The difference a glass makes

riedel pinot noir burgundy glass

Above: Boulder Wine Merchant owner and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman has obtained the Riedel Burgundy glass for the Fourth Annual Boulder Burgundy Festival.

It’s one of those questions that sommeliers and wine professionals get asked a lot.

“Does the shape, size, and quality of the glass make a difference in the way the wine tastes?”

The answer, not surprisingly, is yes, it does matter — a lot.

“A great wine in the wrong glass at the wrong temperature can be a train wreck,” says Boulder Wine Merchant owner, Boulder Burgundy Festival founder, and Master Sommelier Brett Zimmerman.

“If you do the Pepsi challenge by tasting a great wine out of a superior glass like the Riedel Burgundy glass” made from crystal “and a Libbey glass” made from glass, “you’ll immediately smell and tast the difference.”

One of the most important things about a crystal glass is that the crystal defuses heat much more easily than the thicker, heavier glass does.

Even when a wine is cooled to the correct temperature, the Libbey glass will convey the warmth of the drinker’s body and the room temperature to the glass more quickly than a crystal glass.

But it’s also the diameter of the glass at its widest point and its aperture that help to enhance the wine lover’s experience.

Different grape varieties will perform differently depending on the size of the glass.

As Riedel writes on its website, its “Vinum” series (like the Burgundy glass pictured above, image via the Riedel site) was “the first machine-made glass in history to be based on the characteristics of grape varietal.”

Before it was created in 1986, varietally specific stemware was out of reach for most consumers.

We’re very pleased to announce that Brett has reached an agreement with the Riedel management that will allow him and his team to served all festival wines in the Riedel Vinum Burgundy (Pinot Noir) glass.

“If there were just one glass,” he says, “I could enjoy everything in that glass.”

“It’s so important for us to be respectful of the winemakers who participate and their wines. They took the time to create this beautiful wine and then they come all this way to share it with us. To serve it in a subpar glass didn’t make sense to me.”

The organizers of the Boulder Burgundy Festival would like to thank Doug Reed of Riedel and his team for making this possible.