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All About Wine

Improve The Taste Of Any
Wine By Using The Right Glass

Wine tastes better when the correct shape glass is used. It tastes even better from a lead crystal glass. There's no explanation, it just does.

Waterford Crystal is deservedly the most acclaimed lead crystal ware in the world. There are many imitations, but none can match Waterford glass for design, cut and clarity.

Lead crystal resonates easily. You can demonstrate this by running your finger around the top, you will feel the glass hum. This is the effect that film producers imitate when you see old films of glasses shattering when a soprano singer holds a note for a long time. The glass resonates and tries to vibrate in sympathy to the note, but it is not a strong material and shatters as a result.

Lead crystal glass has a higher refractive index than ordinary glass. Light bends when it goes from the air into the glass and again when it passes out of the glass into the air. The higher the refractive index, the more the light bends. White light is the visible spectrum made up of red, blue, green, yellow, orange, indigo and violet light. These all have different properties (frequencies), so they bend by different amounts. This is what gives cut lead crystal its distinctive, bright appearance.

Lead crystal also feels softer to the touch than ordinary glass and there are many who are convinced that wine tastes better from a lead crystal glass than an ordinary molded one. It's certainly a more pleasant experience overall because the cut lead crystal glass interacts with the light passing through the wine in such an attractive way.

Lead crystal is hand-cut by craftsmen. Every glass is different and you will find small asymmetries in the cut design as the craftsman has adjusted the design to fit the space he has left.

Lead crystal is not always cut and facetted. Modern designs are emerging that are also attractive, but in a different way.

Lead crystal glass is used in chandeliers for its refractive properties. The light appears to come through the crystal with different colors. With any chandelier it is important to use clear light bulbs, rather than frosted ones, to get the intense light source necessary.

But, always remember... no matter how perfectly shaped or perfectly crafted your crystal ware is, if you don't
store your wine properly, you'll be missing out on a truly exquisite taste experience.□

COPYRIGHT 2011 David G. Curtis. All Rights Reserved.

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Beginning Wine Tasting

Wine really does deserve some serious attention. After all, it’s a lot more than just a drink. For this reason I find it very strange that there's is no actual defined tasting procedure that has universal acceptance. It's common that the majority of wine tasters follow their own method of wine tasting. The steps can greatly vary from person to person.

Most wine tasting methods are deeply rooted in the vineyard setting and would be greatly frowned upon at the dining table. They involve a certain set of steps which, to the layperson, may appear silly and ridiculous. A person's choice of wine tasting methods can be compared to a person's preference to a particular genre of music. The world of critical wine tasting is a comparison between a real standard and the wine in question. In contrast, drinking wine with a meal is intended to be enjoyed as an accompaniment and enhancement to the meal.

Although there is no doubting the eccentric activities of a wine taster at a dinner party, it is worth admiring and appreciating the great talent and concentration that goes into the true appreciation of wine. From an outsiders view, these strange and sometimes occult like tastings may seem a little over complicated. But, with a true desire and ability to focus one's attention, it's quickly possible to begin to understand and appreciate wine more fully. For the basics of wine tasting we are undoubtedly in debt to the likes of
Clarke and Goolden.

Where possible, it is advised that you should rinse your mouth clean before tasting a wine. But, obviously in a dinner party setting this is not always possible nor desired. I would, however, recommend that the beginner use this method. It clears the palette and allows the wine taster to become more familiar with the basic characteristics of the wine being tasted (if in doubt, borrow from the experts!). A more experienced taster will more quickly be able to get the basic qualities of a wine and will often omit this step. Many consider that rinsing with water in this way detracts from the wine and affects the palette. Water alters the sensitivity of the tongue and therefore adds a further complication in the whole wine tasting process. However, during a long session of tasting, it is quite possible that the mouth can become fatigued. So, in this situation, rinsing with water can lend itself to a revitalization.

Wines are best tasted in tulip shaped glasses, with the exception being sparkling wines which require a fluted glass (the elongated type you often see unused in display cabinets!). This style of glass enhances the sparkling wines natural effervescence. If you don’t have the correct glasses (or enough if you’re having people over), you can always borrow them from a friend.

It is important when comparing wines that each glass is filled to the same level (about a third full is the normal). This allows the taster to hold the glass at a steep angle allowing for a nice observation of the color and clarity. It also allows for a nice vigorous swirl of the wine which releases the aromatics.

At dinner parties, knowledge of wine tasting is a useful tool when showing off. But please, always be aware that there is probably someone at the party who knows more about wine than you. So, don't forget to credit your guests (or fellow guests) with all due intelligence!

COPYRIGHT 2011 David G. Curtis. All Rights Reserved.

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Experienced Wine Tasters Know...
Articles and information about wine for novices and connoisseurs.

The following excerpts are from the series, "Experienced Wine Tasters Know…" by David G. Curtis. The series is provided as a complimentary service by Country Club Storage & Wine Cellar and is used by special permission.

Improve The Taste Of Any Wine By Using The Right Glass
Using the right type of glass can improve your overall wine tasting experience.

Beginning Wine Tasting
Understanding the wine tasting process is essential for the beginner.

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