What’s in a glass? More specifically, what is the origin and purpose of the large-bowled Pinot Noir glass? Did you know that you can empty an entire 750 ML bottle of Pinot into one of those glasses? But the Pinot glass is more than a way to look your doctor in the eye and swear that you strictly limit yourself to one glass of wine per day. The Pinot Noir glass, or Burgundy glass if you will, features a wide bowl that narrows towards the top. The bowl facilitates the swirling of the wine thus aiding in cementing your reputation as an effete wine snob. But truthfully, the contact with air in the wide bowl helps release those captivating aromas that we all love: think cherry, blackberry, licorice. It then concentrates them near the rim where we get to momentarily savor them with the nose before the wine flows past the delicate glass lip and across our tongue. Since smell is essential to taste, the shape and glass composition actually aid in making the wine taste better!
The Oregon Pinot Noir glass was introduced by George Reidel at the 2007 International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville. Though it appears similar to the Reidel Grand Cru Burgundy glass, it has a wider mid-bowl and a flared edge. This glass was developed to maximize the aromas, flavors and texture of Oregon Pinot Noir. This glass is unique for our wine region, and we happily feature it in our tasting room.
Given these advantages, some might wonder why not drink all your wine from a Pinot Noir glass. Other than the risk of running afoul the glassware police and being sentenced to drink wine from dixie cups, there is no reason not to. Still, a bigger wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon can often stand unaided by the Pinot Noir glass design. A delicate white may get too much air and, if you prefer your whites well-chilled, warm too fast, leading to a wine that feels “flat” in the mouth.
Much is made of terroir in wine. But the experience of the place, the people and even the glassware can be important components of enjoyment. So next time you crack open that fine bottle of Saffron Pinot Noir, don’t just throw it in any old paper cup. Get out your finest glassware, invite your best friends, and see if that wine doesn’t taste just a bit better with the right vessel.