First, I could not resist that headline (if you are a “Ghostbusters” fan, you might remember a similar line of “Listen! Do you smell that?”)
Second, this new glassware is all about flavor! So let’s talk about flavor for a sec. Did you know that our sense of smell is responsible for about 80 percent of what we taste? I know! But think about when you’re all stuffed up from a cold and you can’t smell – or taste – that chicken noodle soup or that tea you’re drinking. Right? There you have it. Your sniffer sets the stage for your taste buds.
I recently received a sample set of Oneida’s new Flavor First glasses, which are a design collab between wine expert extraordinaire Karen MacNeil and Oneida. I was especially interested in these glasses because I attended a wine tasting with Karen at the National Restaurant Show in 2018 at the Oneida booth. During that tasting, Karen explained that she had a project underway with Oneida to create a line of glassware to better showcase wine’s aromas – and hence, flavors- and shazam! Here are those glasses!
The first thing I did was pour a glass of sparkling wine. If you know or follow Karen, you know that she has a glass of Champagne or sparkling wine every single evening. It’s like clockwork, no matter where she is. I love this about her.
And WOW! I happened to have a bottle of Sokol Blosser Bluebird Cuvée open, so I poured some into a standard white wine glass and some into the the Crisp & Fresh glass from the Flavor First collection. STAND BACK! The intensity of aromas that come flying out of this glass are amazing. The pear, the green apple, the lime zest – it’s all there, with such beautiful clarity and focus! Fun!
Of course, this inspired me to go overboard and pour wines for days into three different glasses: the Flavor First glass, an everyday (crystal) all-purpose wine glass and a varietal glass from a certain Austrian producer of fine crystal glassware.
The Flavor First glass – in the center — unleashed the most intense aromas every single time. And it didn’t matter if was my favorite $7.99 white from Trader Joe’s or a high-end wine.
Okay, so what makes these glasses special?
First, it’s the shape of the bowl of each glass. The set that I received contained two each of the three styles.
Bold & Powerful – for your big Chards, Cab, Merlot, Bordeaux wines, Zin, Malbec, Barolo, Syrah and more. This glass has a lower wide-point – and as the box explains (I have kept the box, because there is so much great information on it),
Creamy & Silky – for lighter Chards, like Burgundy, Chablis and the like, Pinot Grigio/Gris, rich rosés (think Provence rosés that have that weight to them, and some Cali rosés), Pinot Noir, Chianti, Shiraz and more. This glass has a wide-point that is little higher up than the Bold & Powerful glass.
Crisp & Fresh– for sparkling wines, Sauv Blanc, Riesling and lighter rosés. This glass reminded me of the glass that is ubiquitous ll over the Champagne region – which makes total sense, because the widest part of the glass is closer to your sniffer, so you can really take in the aromas.
It’s also the cut rim, ,which is very thin and delicate, allowing the wine to flow from the glass onto your palate like satin.
But wait, there’s more! The glasses have a base that is just a little larger than others, making it super stable (for Klutzy McKluzterson here, that is a bonus).
It almost goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – the quality of this crystal – German, lead-free, pulled-stem crystal – adds elegance and tactile pleasure.
And – this is super clever – the base of each glass has its name etched in it, so if you need a quick reference – it’s right there! They also are dishwasher-friendly.
The bottom line: I’ll be honest: I’m kind of a stemware whore. I love trying new glassware, I choose my glass to match whatever mood I’m in or wine I’m drinking. Sometimes I pour a super cheapie wine into a fancy glass, and sometimes, I pour a crazy expensive wine into … okay, fine, a fancy glass. (I save the cheapware for the deck or for my friends who are even more klutzy than me.)
But these glasses are really all you need: you get the WOW factor for wine aromas and flavors and they are affordable and durable. Full retail for the set is about $75, and they are sold at many different retailers. Wine.com has a great price ($59.99) right now for the six-piece set here. And you can also order direct from Oneida here. And be sure to check out Karen’s website here. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter – it’s a fast, fun read, and I learn something new every time.
Cheers, friends. I hope you have fun sniffing and sipping! If you try them, let me know what you think.