BY Michele Debczak – Mental Floss
There are plenty of good reasons to be skeptical of snobby wine culture. Regardless of what so-called experts will tell you, expensive wine doesn’t always taste better, a few ice cubes won’t ruin your drink, and professional tasters don’t necessarily have superior palettes. But there is one seemingly pretentious practice that’s based in truth: By choosing the right glass, you can make a $10 bottle of wine taste like a top-shelf product.
The artisans at Riedel have spent 11 generations perfecting their specialty wine glasses. As the company’s president Maximilian Riedel tells Fast Company, each glass they sell is made to hold a specific drink, and if you split the same wine between two glasses, it will end up tasting like two completely different varieties.
The secret to their glasses’ flavor-manipulating properties is in the shape, which dictates how the liquid hits your tongue. If you’re drinking pinot noir from the right glass, it will flow in a sharp point towards the tip of your tongue and hit your sweet-sensing taste buds first. This automatically balances out the wine’s bracing acidity.
With cabernet, which is less acidic and more full-bodied, the liquid should pool into the side of the glass when it’s tilted. This way it coats your tongue all at once, allowing you to take in its complexity.
Riedel employs other tricks to elevate whatever you’re drinking, like wings inside each glass that aerate your wine. You can purchase their Performances glasses—made for cabernet, pinot noir, shiraz, champagne, riesling, and chardonnay—from their website at $59 a pair.