Sometimes, not all the time I might add, I can be a little sceptical. I was certainly sceptical about whether a glass, shaped slightly differently, can really change the aromas and the flavours of a wine.
Today, I was proved outstandingly wrong! After 2 1/2 hours of driving, the zingy, zesty and herbal Bacchus grape was definitely a wake up call. I travelled from Bristol to Bodmin, Cornwall to meet Sam and Bob Lindo of Camel Valley Vineyard. It was here that myself and a few others sat in front of the enthusiastic Georg Riedel of the Wine glass fame. Our mission, (we definitely chose to accept it!) was to sample Camel Valleys superb 2010 Darnibole Bacchus, in 14 different RIEDEL glasses, and choose the most suitable for this wonderful English wine.
As I said, tasting 14 samples of Bacchus at 10:30 am was quite an enamel erasing experience, but what an experience! I was simply astonished by how much each wine changed in the various glasses. Some glasses, with wider necks and shorter bowls, made the wine seem more fruit driven, bringing out the Bacchus’ subtle grapefruit and passion fruit aromas. They also seemed much more floral, with blossom characters leaping from the stunning glasses. I found that glasses with taller bowls and narrower necks brought out the minerality of the wine. Hints of seashells and wet stone filled my nose. The taller/narrower glasses brought out lovely grassy, herbal characters with hints of white pepper.
After sampling all 14 glasses, we then voted on which should not be kept in and lost 7 glasses. We then repeated the exercise with fresh wine until 3 were left standing in front of ourselves. What was really interesting was that 2 of the 3 glasses left standing were exactly the same neck width and bowl size, but slightly longer stems. However, they were made of two different types of crystal. #5 was many people’s favourite (the eventual winner). It was made of lead crystal and you could see the difference between them. Mr RIEDEL explained that lead crystal is more porus than the conventional glass and allows the wine inside to, essentially, aerate and for the aromas to open and reveal their potential. I now have a much better understanding of why glassware is so important.
That wasn’t the end of the fun, as after a quick pit stop, Sam Lindo (Camel Valleys winemaker) lead us through a vertical tasting of Darnibole Bacchus for 2009 through to 2002. Not the longest vertical I’ve been to but as Sam explained it’s relatively recently that they have started cellaring their wines for these events, keeping 6 cases aside each year.
The three stand out wines were the 2007, 2005 and the second bottle of the 2002 as the first was corked. The 2007 had a hint of residual sugar and lovely fresh apple and pear notes of the nose. The palate was crisp and had a light mouthfeel. The 2005 (my favourite!) was smokey and grassy with green pepper notes on the nose and nectarine flavours on the palate. It was a lot richer than the 07. And finally the 2002. This was a lovely wine. Hints of blossom and honey on the nose and a really unusual minerality on the palate. Simply ace!
To summarise, make sure you have some nice glasses in the cupboard as it really does make a world of difference!
For more information on the Camel Valley wines click here: http://www.camelvalley.com
And for more information on RIEDEL wine glasses, the best place to buy them is here: http://www.aroundwine.co.uk
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