Stemware for the Holidays

The Martha Stewart Show, December 2007

The process of glassmaking is quite remarkable. The first step is to produce the bowl -- liquid glass is pre-molded in a shaping block. Then, using a blow-pipe, mouth-blowing is performed to add shape. Next, the gatherer delivers the liquid glass to chairman and the stem is formed. The base is shaped and the bed-plate is molded by foot-board and a wooden tool is used to fix the footplate securely to prevent wobbling...and then you have a beautiful glass masterpiece.

Different types of glass shapes enhance the taste of wine. Riedel bases their glasses on the premise that factors such as shape of the bowl, degree of tapering the rim, and the design of the rim can affect the way someone experiences the aroma, taste, and harmony of a wine. Their various glasses include the Sommeliers, Vinum, Ouverture, Vitis, Tyrol, Restaurant, Grape, and Vinum Extreme Lines.

It's also very important not to overfill your wine glass. In order to fully appreciate the different grape varieties and the subtle characteristics of individual wines, it is essential to have a glass which has a shape fine-tuned for the purpose. The shape is responsible for the quality and intensity of the bouquet and the flow of the wine. Red wine glasses should be filled to four or five ounces; white wine glasses should be filled to three ounces; and spirits should be filled to about one ounce.

The holidays are a time to celebrate and a time to toast. Decanting champagne can help let the bubbles dissipate. A regular bottle of champagne will pour approximately six glasses. Glasses should be toasted belly to belly, not rim to rim; always clink at the widest part of the bowl to avoid damage.

Stemless glass lines like the O-Riedel can help solve a common problem: lack of storage. They can be stored in pairs base-to-base and take up no more room than a single stemmed glass.

When cleaning your stemware, either wash them by hand with a little dishwashing soap or place all your stemware together in the dishwasher and run it. Make sure not to place anything else with it, just keep all stemware together.

Special thanks to Maximilian Riedel for sharing this information about stemware, and to Riedel Crystal of America for giving Riedel Champagne Glasses to our studio audience. The following wines and champagnes were showcased on today's show:
Kistler Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2004: $65
Chateau Magdelaine Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2002: $76
Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2003: $52
Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut Chardonnay 2005: $22
Franz Hirtzberger Gruner Veltliner 2004: $35
Moet and Chandon Rose: $15


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