My Sipping Vessels

I once took an hour-long Riedel wine tasting class, which gave us an opportunity to taste the same wine in different-shaped glasses.

Comparative wine tasting class sponsored by Riedel, March 2013. Note the empty “joker” glass which allowed us to hold wine in there while transferring some of the wines to other glasses. / Photo by itswinebyme


From that moment on, I was convinced that proper stemware was crucial to getting the most out of a wine. I filled my own cabinet with Riedel glasses in four different shapes and  Crate and Barrel knock-offs of Zalto glasses. (In a perfect world, I’d just have Zaltos. The delicate but sturdy stems are enough to make me swoon.)

But every now and then I’ll stray. I have some vintage rose-color upside-down cone shape champagne glasses, which I discovered shows off the crispness and acidity of dry rosé beautifully. Yet it’s probably not the perfect glass since its shape lets the aromas escape. For me, the fun in drinking from them over takes that: If looking through rose-color glasses provides a wonderful view of the world, shouldn’t drinking from them let you get a wonderful taste of the world, too?

Tasting rosé through vintage rose-color glasses I found at Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic store in SoHo | Photo by itswinebyme

Today, I’ve discovered a different kind of glass in my cabinet and it’s making for a lovely sipping vessel on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Drinking from small juice glasses may be traditional in Italy, but something never felt right about doing that here. I tried once and the thickness of the lip made for an awful experience. But as I was putting away some glasses and reaching for a white wine glass to drink some leftover Chenin Blanc, I came upon these pretty little juice glasses a friend brought back from her trip to the Corning Museum in New York. The design is reminiscent of fiddleheads or perhaps some green peas or grass.

The Sandlands Chenin Blanc, which on some level tastes like tart apple juice, held its own inside this Corning “fiddlehead” juice glass. |Photo by itswinebyme

As I poured the wine, something just felt right. Besides helping with portion control – which is smart for a Sunday afternoon when there are still chores to be done – I found myself sipping a little slower out of it.  The tart fruit and acid of the wine held up just as well as when I tasted it the day before in a traditional wine glass. And just like using the vintage champagne glasses for rosé, it brought me pure joy.

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