Friday, April 13, 2007

Stemming the Tide

Since they are becoming so popular and trendy, I feel I should come out with my opinion on wine tumblers. You know, those crystal abortions that lack a base or stem and sit in the hands of shallow poseurs. Oops. Guess I gave away the old opinion there, didn't I?

So, I'm against them. And, quite frankly, I don't see how anyone who's serious about wine or just plain likes drinking it can be in favor of them. You wouldn't store your wine bottles next to a radiator, would you? So why would you cradle your wine in the heat-generator that is your hot, sweaty palm. With every minute you're cooking the wine, making it warmer. I don't care how cool it may look in your hand, if you care about the vino, you'll keep your fingers on a glass stem and let the juice only have contact with your lips.

I can't get away from these things, lately. Bartenders and waiters bring my wine to me in tumblers without asking my preference in glassware. I have to send them back and look like a prig. At the better restaurants, like Tabla and Wallse, they understand and don't blink and quicky spirit the ugly things away. They must get a lot of this sort of balking. But I'm surprised they have these abominations in their kitchen in the first place. Are they just vacuous trend followers, or did Riedel strongarm them into buying a few boxes.

And that's another thing. How can a company as serious about wine and wine glassware promote such nonsense? Their "O" wine tumbler series just seems like a bald-faced scheme to make hay off public ignorance.

A sommelier recently alerted me to another reason to object: fingerprints. On a stemmed glass, unsightly marks are relugated to the thin stem and are thus hard to spot. On the tumbler, they're everywhere. A glass of wine should be a beautiful sight, not a study in smudge.

The fashion will pass. And I'll be glad.

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