Great Wineglasses: Tips On Caring for Your Glassware

It seem that most of you agree with last week's post that great wineglasses do make a difference, and that they are worth the investment. But once you've invested, how should you care for them?

Dishwasher or No? — A much debated question. Yes, you can wash your wineglasses in the dishwasher. if they safely fit. However, I do not put my finest lead crystal glasses in the dishwasher. These are hand-washed and handled with kid gloves!

If using the dishwasher, do not add regular washing detergent, as this leaves a tiny film on glassware (as well as a detergent smell), which can detract from a wine's aroma and taste. Either run the dishwasher with no detergent at all (just hot water), or use baking soda.

Handwashing — Similarly, try not to use detergent. For difficult lipstick or other grease marks, I find that elbow grease and a damp cloth does the trick. If you must use detergent, only use a tiny amount and thoroughly rise multiple times with warm water.

As undesirable as a tiny film of detergent is on your red or white wine glass, it is not the end of the world, particularly if you are serving a robust red wine. However, for Champagne and sparkling wine, it can be the kiss of death. Any hint of a detergent film or grease greatly diminishes the persistence of the bubbles, which quickly dissipate.

Drying — I leave my glasses to dry on the draining board, and then shine with a clean micro-fiber cloth (that does not smell of fabric conditioner!). When polishing, I prefer to hold the glass by the base rather than the stem, to minimize breakage.

Make sure your glassware is completely dry before putting away, either in a cupboard or storage box. Damp glassware packed in a cardboard box will generate a damp, dank cardboard smell.

Storage — If your wineglasses are stored in a box in a closet and only brought out for special occasions, give them a quick rinse in hot water and a shine before using, as they may have a stale air smell or have gathered some dust. Shaking the glass around in the air can also help eliminate staleness.

Next week I am going to share some thoughts on my favorite wineglasses over the years.

Meanwhile, continue to enjoy the many great summer wines available around the country. A few that we've enjoyed with friends over the past week are:

2008 Di Giovanna Gerbino, Rosato di Nerello Mascalese, IGT Sicilia, $14 - Don't be put off by the deep cherry color, this wine is bone dry and great with food. Made from organically grown Nerello Mascalese grapes, aromas and flavors are of ripe redcurrants, cherries and cranberries. Good weight on the palate, refreshing acidity and long length.

2008 Taburno Greco, IGT Beneventano, Italy, $16 - Refreshing and juicy with floral notes, lemon blossom, almonds, nectarines and quince with an attractive nutty finish.

2008 Domaine de la Commanderie Quincy, AOC Quincy, Loire Valley, $16 - Quincy is a small appellation in the Loire, not far from Sancerre and is also 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, vibrant aromas and flavors, gooseberry, grassy and citrus notes.

2006 Felsina Berardenga DOC Chianti Classico, $18 (half bottle) - Ripe cherry and fruit-cake aromas and flavors with notes of liquorice, sweet spice and char. Lots of soft ripe fruit on the palate, with tannins adding a nice grip. A definite food wine.

Meanwhile have a great week!

Mary Gorman-McAdams, DWS, is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. She hold the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and is a candidate in the Master of Wine Program.

Related: Great Wineglasses: Are They Worth the Investment?

(Images: Crate & Barrel Silicone Wine Drying Rack; Crate & Barrel Wine Glasses)

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