It was with great pleasure that the Cincinnati Mondiale members and guests gathered at the Midwest Culinary Institute June 15th, 2011 to attend a seminar directed by Georg Riedel, 10th generation member of the famous family of crystal glassware. This outstanding seminar highlighted the Riedel Vinum XL Series, and featured the Vinum XL Pinot Noir, Cabernet/Merlot and Syrah/Hermitage glasses.
Georg surprised us all by beginning with a water tasting, using our Vinum XL wine glasses and Voss water. Did you know that, when you take a drink of water, your palate goes “dry”? After explaining to us what to expect, Georg exclaimed, “Let’s initiate flow!” It was amazing how water tasted differently from each of the glasses. The shape of the glasses caused the water to enter your mouth in a different manner, giving us a distinct experience from each glass. After tasting Voss water in each of the glasses, Georg asked us to hold high the glass we preferred for water. Almost every single one of us raised the Cabernet/Merlot glass.
We then proceeded to pour 1 1/3 ounces of 2008 Sequana Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir into each glass. We assessed the bouquet in each glass, noticing how the Pinot Noir glass truly reflected the best aromas. We then tasted the wine from each glass and were, again, confounded by the differences! The group’s favorite, the Cabernet/Merlot glass, did not do justice to this beautiful Pinot Noir. It brought out salt, pepper, and earthy flavors from the wine. The Pinot Noir glass brought out forward fruit notes of raspberry and spice. It was beautiful. The Syrah/Hermitage glass was a good compromise. While the wine did not show as well in the Syrah glass as in the Pinot glass, it was still a charming wine, round and full.
We repeated this process for the next two wines, a lovely Rhone Syrah, 2008 Faury St Joseph, and 2007 Joseph Phelps Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Each of the wines showed best in “its” own varietal glass, both in the nose and in the taste. My notes for the Phelps in the Cabernet/Merlot glass stated, “This is what it’s all about!” Life is great!
But we weren’t done yet. Georg had placed a piece of Lindt Dark Chocolate at each place. We repeated our tasting with a small bite of chocolate together with the Cabernet Sauvignon. In the Pinot Noir and Syrah glasses with the chocolate, it was very nice, but the wine truly blossomed when tasted from the Cabernet/Merlot glass.
This seminar was most educational and left us with many tidbits of knowledge, such as: “Wine is 85% water, 14% alcohol, and 1% flavor,” “Never pour more than 3-4 ounces of wine in your glass,” and “Drink red in the low 60’s temperature-wise. In the 70’s it will highlight alcohol notes.”
After the seminar we repaired to the Summit Restaurant where we enjoyed a superb meal prepared by Chef Sean Kagy and MCI student chefs, consisting of an array of dining stations. Choices included mini Manchego black Angus sliders, sweet bread empanadas, Thai chicken peanut spring rolls, and smoked salmon lavash with red onion, capers and crème fraîche. Meatless selections featured heirloom tomato crostini with micro basil, gazpacho soup shooters, and grilled vegetables. An MCI culinary student manned a carving station featuring boneless barbecue pork loin with pecan crust.
As a bonus, everyone got to keep the three Riedel Vinum XL glasses used in our class for further studies at home. Overall, this was an outstanding evening that will be long remembered by us all.
Mike Monnin, Vice Echanson