Which factors are important for wine to come into its own? The sense and nonsense of different glasses for different wines.
“It doesn’t matter which glass you serve which wine,” said Ruud Weterings (52) of Wine Training Online Academy (WTOL). Excuse me? The optimal combination turns out to be a combination of the wine, the temperature at which you want to drink it, the temperature around you, your experience – a chic dinner requires chic crockery – and possibly what you eat with it. “A good sommelier understands that.”
What everyone has been forced to do lately, WTOL has been doing for ten years: provide online training. Weterings: ,,Then people say: you have to taste wine, don’t you? Those who are theoretically well grounded will come a long way. But of course we also have practical training.”
WTOL trained many sommeliers: “With our so-called hybrid e-learning program, a versatile, playful way to familiarize yourself with the world of wine, we are the only wine educator recognized by the Stichting Vakopleiding Horeca (SVH).”
The SVH basic course lasts one day and is about taste. Weterings: ,,In the supermarket you have those classification plates: smooth, fruity, fresh. You learn what that means and when to drink which wine.” In the eight-week follow-up course you will discover everything about the wine regions: “European wines are divided geographically and not by grape variety like in the rest of the world.” training to become an SVH Register Vinologist/Sommelier lasts one year. If you start without any previous education, it quickly takes two or three years to get that diploma. Then you also learn everything about serving the wine.
You choose the glass based on which flavors you want to bring out. ,,If you have a heavy wine, take a large glass. The magic word here is oxygen. If you let the wine air, it will naturally soften.” You can drink champagne from a flute, a narrow glass in which the bubbles – for many people the main characteristic of champagne – are well expressed. “If you pour champagne in a wide coupe or in a ‘normal’ wine glass, the bubbles will subside, but the taste of the wine will come out better.
,,Those differently shaped glasses for different wines, that is largely commerce. If everyone only needs one type of wine glass, you will quickly go bankrupt as a glass manufacturer”, the hospitality teacher concludes. But there is also truth in it: ,,By the law, Bordeaux wine must be grown and made like this, so-and-so grapes belong in it… a fixed combination where you can design the most suitable glass. That also applies to burgundy, chardonnay, riesling et cetera.”
If everyone only needs one type of wine glass, you will quickly go bankrupt as a glass manufacturer
Temperature is just as important a player as oxygen. ,,In southern Spain, where it quickly becomes 35, 40 degrees in the summer, you serve wine in small glasses. Because the longer it stands, the warmer it gets. You can’t empty a glass like that in ten minutes.”
Also important: the experience. If you prefer a Duralex glass, fine. It makes no difference to the taste. Weterings: ,,Last year I drank a sublime wine with my wife in a hotel room where we only had the plastic cups from the bathroom. Well, that wine tasted nothing less.”
Whether the glass is thick or fine, crystal or glass, what you like most counts. Weterings: “My wife prefers to drink wine from a glass without stem and foot.”
Which glass does not matter much; as long as you don’t look too deep into it.
‘Hand wash and buff’
The best glass for wine is blue. ,,That does not let UVA light through”, says vocational trainer Ruud Weterings. ,,That way you have the least to do with oxidation, taste change – but it doesn’t look like it. You want to see what you drink anyway. Rosé in a blue glass turns grey.
And after use?
“In the catering industry we have special glass dishwashers, so that the glass does not come into contact with greasy food residues from the plates,” says Weterings. The finer the glassware, the faster it breaks, and long stems often won’t fit in a standard dishwasher. “It’s best to wash your good glasses by hand, and then polish them for a while, then rub them with a clean soft cloth – even when they come out of the dishwasher, because you quickly build up limescale.”
In the closet
“It also doesn’t matter whether you put the glass on its foot or upside down in the cupboard,” Weterings reveals. Upside down would affect the taste. “Just put that polishing cloth over it before you pour something, then you’re always good.”
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