Andrew's Recommendation: Riedel

I'd like to say that I'm an out and out Riedel fan and that's because these glasses have transformed my wine drinking life!

Andrew and Babette with Georg Riedel

Although I'm not a wine buff, I do thoroughly enjoy drinking wine. And as the real wine buffs know, these uniquely designed glasses have a quite profound effect on the flavours of any wine and will really allow you to taste the wine that the vigneron intended you to. It's all based on the scientific knowledge that different tastes buds lie on different areas of our tongue.  I also love music and I would liken the difference between conventional glasses and Riedel ones to the sound of a  transistor radio and that of good quality hi-fi.  With the transistor radio you hear much of the music ok, but with the hi-fi what you hear is the same music but on an entirely different scale and with so much more detail and nuance that sometimes you wonder if it's the same piece. So it is with wine in a Riedel glass. Quite often you will be fooled into thinking that you're drinking something far superior and in a different class. Really quite magic!

Not convinced about Riedel?

Put simply, these glasses make your wine taste better, whether your wine costs £3 or £30 a bottle and this is how...

The Tongue map

The concept of the wine glass company Riedel is based firmly on the principle of "how and where" the wine is directed in the mouth and the resulting effect that it has on the taste of the wine you drink. And this incidentally is all wine from "the exotic" to a supermarket "vin ordinaire". This placing of the wine in the mouth is because the tongue picks up different flavours depending on where the wine (or spirits & Beer) lands on it. So for instance the tip of the tongue picks up the fruit, the sides acid, and the back of the tongue bitterness. Now you may be thinking, as I did, that that’s all very well but once in the mouth the wine is going to end up every where. Well to an extent that’s true, but it seems to me that it is where and how the wine first travels over the tongues surface that has the real impact on flavour.

An example:

Vinum Sauvignon Blanc glasses



So, let’s take an instance of a glass that’s dear to my heart. The Sauvignon Blanc grape  produces a fairly acid wine and was not a favourite of mine until I tried it out of a Riedel Sauvignon Blanc glass. Riedel’s design for that grape variety has a small bowl and a narrowish opening. So as you drink, the glass directs the flow toward the very front of your mouth where you pick up the delicious light fruitiness and, due to the small opening, sends a narrow stream of wine down the centre of your tongue well away from the edges that pick up the acids. So marked is the contrast that I now find I can drink Sauvigon Blanc until the cows come home!








Size does make a difference

The other big factor in getting the best from your wine is the shape and depth of the bowl. This is significant because all wines have a number of different layers of aromas. Typically the aromas in a white wine are lighter and shallower in depth so the white wine glasses tend to have smaller bowls. Many reds on the other hand need a bigger deeper bowl without which the much more pronounced aromas that are naturally given off by the wine would literally spill over the side of the glass and get lost.

Clean delivery

So if you’re still with me there is one more influence on the flavour and that is how cleanly the wine is delivered into the mouth. If you look carefully at your own wine glasses you will probably see a slightly bulbous top edge to the glass. It looks insignificant but does actually interrupt the smooth transition of the wine from glass to mouth. So at Riedel they cut the top of the glass with a laser resulting in a completely clean edge that allows the bowl shape to do exactly what is intended. This may seem a bit extreme but these glasses are in reality "precision drinking instruments", in which any wine is substantially enhanced.

You don’t have to take my word for it as you can try it out for yourself without risk.  At Art of Living we have a guarantee that allows you to try out any product we sell without risk . It’s simply this: you can return your glasses to us unused or used for a full refund if you find them disappointing for any reason whatsoever.

If you enjoy wine then I can almost guarantee that you will appreciate a Riedel glass. Either ring us if you're uncertain which one to try first or read our FAQ section below to find the answer for the popular Riedel questions.

Andrew Duncan

Riedel FAQ

What's special about Riedel?
Riedel have been master craftsmen in glass for over 300 years. Claus J. Riedel was the first person to recognise the effect of different glass shapes on the perception of wine. He realised that the shape of the bowl determines where on your tongue the wine is delivered, and so alters the taste and aroma perceived.
Riedel wine glasses have been endorsed by winemakers such as Robert Mondavi and Angelo Gaja, and experts around the world including Robert Parker and Decanter magazine.

Which range is best for me?
Choose from several distinctive ranges, all lead crystal and following Riedel's original principles:

  • Vinum was Riedel's first machine made range, and follows their principle of shaping the glass to suit each grape varietal. Perfect for everyday use and great value.
  • Vinum XL is Riedel's new generation of machine made glasses. Big and bold, with glasses for the major grape varietals.
  • Vinum Extreme is specially shaped for the more concentrated New World wines.
  • Sommeliers represents the pinnacle of Riedel's art. These were the original wine-specific glasses, mouth-blown by Riedel's craftsmen. Acclaimed by wine writers and experts around the World, the finest glasses you can give your wine.
  • Riedel O is different and unusual - a range of stemless wine tumblers. It's fun, feels good to hold, looks trendy and it works!
  • Grape is a beautiful machine blown range, with a seamless pulled stem - perfect for the well-laid table and won't break the bank.
  • Vitis is tall, elegant and distinctive (but can still go in the dishwasher!)
  • Ouverture is great value for money and may be a good introduction to Riedel.
  • Veritas is Riedel's latest collection.  The glasses are 15% taller than Vinum and 25% lighter, while still being dishwasher safe, break resistant and suitable for everyday use.

Can you suggest a gift?
The most popular Riedel glasses are the Vinum range. Perfect for everyday use, and with a glass for every major wine varietal, they come in pairs at a very attractive price. If you really want to spoil your favourite wine lover give them something from the prestigious Sommeliers range, Riedel's finest glasses, or one of their beautiful Decanters.

Are they dishwasher safe?
All the Riedel wine glasses are dishwasher safe, but please take care that other items cannot fall onto them in the wash. Lead crystal is fragile, so you may prefer to hand wash them.

Riedel Amadeo decanter


Why buy a decanter?

Most people associate decanters with fine and aged wines, and there's no doubt decanting makes the best of great wines. However, the pouring and airation that decanting involves can improve even a humble wine. Some of Riedel's decanters are real works of art, but all are truly functional. Try a simple one and experiment!

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