Whether you like to sip, swig, or swill, Savor Blowing Rock offers an educational rendezvous for wine lovers. The annual festival, taking place April 20-23, presents wine tastings, pairing dinners, a sip and stroll for shoppers, and plenty of seminars, where aficionados come to polish their knowledge with a range of courses, including the Riedel Challenge.
Hosted by Danny Sanford, owner of Charlotte’s Fine Wine Trading Co., the seminar demonstrates the impact of glass selection on wine perception. “Each varietal has a different flavor profile, and your palate has five different zones,” Sanford explains, noting that it’s all about finding a glass that “sends the wine to the part of your palate that balances that wine.” Participants taste a handful of wines out of four keepsake Riedel glasses, savoring the distinctive flavors afforded by each goblet. Here, Sanford offers the quick and skinny for those wishing to give it a swirl at home.
1. Chardonnay Glass
What to Sip: American chardonnays, Rhône whites and sweeter wines
Why: This shorter, wider bulb sends the wine mid-palate, where salt perception at the center of the tongue and acid on the sides mellow the sweetness.
2. Sauvignon Blanc Glass
What to Sip: Higher acid, citrus-style wines like Sangiovese and Tempranillo
Why: The glass sends the wine to the tip of the tongue, which balances out the acidity by perceiving sweetness.
3. Pinot Noir Glass
What to Sip: Lighter reds with lower alcohol and aromas
Why: This big bulb, which closes to a smaller mouth, opens the wine and then captures the subtle aromas in the narrow opening. These glasses also send wine mid-palate.
4. Cabernet/Bordeaux Glass
What to Sip: Cabernets, Malbecs, and other “big” reds that are high in alcohol
Why: This large bulb and wide mouth opens the wine so the alcohol and fumes can breathe out. The rich fruit flavors are stabilized by the arrival of the wine mid-palate.
Want to Learn More?
Savor Blowing Rock - April 20-23, Blowing Rock Riedel Challenge
Friday, April 21, noon; $55
Inn at Ragged Gardens