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The Type of Wine Glass Majorly Affects the Taste of Your Wine!

We tested two wine glasses, both designed for Cabernet Sauvignon, that offered surprisingly different results. Find out which characteristics to pay attention to when looking for your perfect wine glass.

See Madeline Puckette identify the differences while testing two Cabernet Sauvignon wine glasses.

Upon first glance, the wine glasses don’t seem to be that different. Both are stemmed, crystal wine glasses designed for Cabernet-based wines and manufactured by Riedel. However, the differences between these two glasses are enough to change our perception of how a wine tastes.

Why Two Glasses for Cabernet?

Comparing Wine Glasses on Wine Folly

Riedel Wine Glasses Vinum Extreme vs Vinum Bordeaux

The two glasses tested were:

  1. Riedel Vinum “Bordeaux” Glass
  2. Riedel Vinum Extreme Cabernet/Merlot Glass

Links go to Riedel’s Amazon product page and linking helps support this site.

Ultimately, the “Extreme” glass offered more fruity and floral aromas and tasted spicier. Whereas, the “Bordeaux” glass softened the acidity in the wine and made it taste more chocolatey, but with less fruitiness and more herbal tones. The reason for the differences has everything to do with the shape of the glass.


The Bordeaux Glass

There were two major features in this glass that affected the perception of wine: the opening and the bowl shape.

  • Larger Opening: The larger rim opening caused the wine to hit your palate all at once. It had the effect of softening the spiciness (aka acidity) of the wine, making it taste more monolithic. Because of this, it tasted more chocolatey, smoother and also less fruity. Additionally, the tannins hit in several places on the tongue but were overall slightly less intense. On the downside, the flavor didn’t persist as long on the palate.
  • Less Round Bowl: We suspect that with the less-round bowl shape, the aromas in the wine were dissipating and becoming less intense as they entered the nose. Because of this, the wine smelled less intense and less fruity. Interestingly enough, the floral notes were also less present in this glass, lending to more herbal aromas.

Conclusion: This seems to be a great glass for drinking Cabernet, but not so much for sniffing it. I imagine it would work well on more value-driven wines too, if you want to keep things smooth and easy. The downside of this glass however, is that the aromas were much more muted than with the other glass. Interestingly enough, after this test, we tasted a 2012 Bordeaux from St. Julien with this glass and were surprised at how well it tasted. Perhaps this is great choice for bold, European reds.

Riedel Vinum “Bordeaux” Glass


There were two major features in this glass that affected the perception of wine: the opening and the bowl shape.

  • Smaller Opening: The smaller rim opening caused the wine to hit your mouth in one centralized place and expand out as you tasted it. This caused the wine to taste slightly more acidic (which could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it) and it also made the taste persist longer in the mouth. The tannins were also more centered towards the front of the tongue and slightly stronger.
  • More Round Bowl: The more rounded bowl shape did a lot to collect and focus the aromas in the glass and funnel them into your nose. The wine smelled much more intense, more fruity and also more floral. There were very little chocolatey aromas.

Conclusion: This seems to be a great glass for sniffing Cabernet, and also for pairing Cabernet with food (given the raised perception of acidity). That said, it made wines more complex and in some cases, could make them more challenging to drink. This glass seemed to be more “honest” in that it really showed and championed the fruit and flower aromas in the wine.

Riedel Vinum Extreme Cabernet/Merlot Glass

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Find out what to look for when selecting wine glasses and which styles of wine glass are ideal for your needs (BTW, everyone is different).

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Special thanks to Ron Plunkett and Signorello Estate for letting us man-handle their glassware and a nice bottle of wine to help tell a story.

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