In Australia there are even more annual wine competitions than here in the UK, with at least one in each state capital city plus regional competitions and numerous others with different themes.
Recently there has been almost as much debate about what glasses to serve the wines in for judging as there has been about screwcaps vs corks.
Most of the major wine shows (as they are called in Oz) have changed from using the once omnipresent ISO glass with its tulip shape and narrow opening to the Riedel Ouverture or Vinum series or equivalents, depending upon their budgets.
These wine glasses have larger bowls and openings but are designed to display the aromas and flavours of a wine at their best. In fact the leading glass manufacturers have developed specific designs for the many different wine styles from amontillado sherry to zinfandel. That’s getting a bit anoraky for me, but there are glasses such as the Riedel Ouverture red wine glass or the Riedel Vinum Sauvignon and Chianti glasses that have performed well in comparisons conducted by experts with different wines and glasses. These are recommended as good all-rounders that aren’t too expensive and are pretty robust. More importantly you won’t look too much like a knob if you use them.
The next time you open a half decent bottle of wine try pouring a portion into various glasses and vessels and see how different the wine smells and tastes.
It is also worthwhile asking your wine merchant for advice regarding glassware. Many carry a range or can order them in.
Are we in the midst of the perfect storm? With a global economic crisis; sterling entering the cellar; house prices nose-diving, and oil and energy prices promising a long, dark and cold winter, it’s enough to drive anyone to drink. But what exactly do you drink in these gloomy times? The price for everything is going up so disposable income has become highly dissolvable. This means we can afford less but the price of what we usually buy is going up.
So what is a wine drinker to do? Do you forgo the weekly excursions to the Michelin star diners with wine lists the size of phone books, and bunker down to take-away pizzas at home with a cheeky little wine from a recently-invaded democracy east of Wapping?
Or perhaps like the sensible people we all are, we draw breath, start plundering the cellar, keep an eye out for bargains, read the occasional review to find truly good wines less than £20 and, every now and then, splash out on a decent bottle.
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