Today's blog is written by guest author, Jane Peyton, the UK's first accredited Pommelier, as well as a drinks communicator and founder of the School of Booze. Over to you, Jane!
I recently did some cider taste-testing with a wine glass and stemless glass designed by Richard Brendon in collaboration with Master of Wine Jancis Robinson. Both vessels are made from ultra-fine (but strong) mouth-blown glass and both have the same large tulip-shaped bowl with the wine glass anchored on a tall narrow stem. That bowl shape is notable because it allows the drink inside to breathe which softens tannins and gives space for aromas to gather. Our brain registers 80% of flavour via aroma so enhancing the aromas makes what we are drinking taste better. Shape also affects the position and density of aromatic vapours as they exit the glass and into the nose. The Jancis Robinson glass design also pours the cider to the mid-palate of the tongue for a balance of fruit, acidity and tannin.
My experience with this glass was, in one word, exquisite. Everything about it was just right. The appearance, the feel of it in my mouth and hand, the weight, and the reverential way it made me feel. When you are sipping a cider from one of the world’s best producers, in this case, Art of Darkness from Little Pomona Cidery and Orchard, then reverence is mandatory. Reverence for nature growing the apples, reverence for the wild yeasts that fermented the juice and bestowed such indescribable complexity, and reverence for the cider makers and their artistry.
Glass shape matters, so does thickness of glass, rim width and feel, proportion, and weight. They all influence the perception of smell, taste, and flavour in cider. All these factors impact the way a drink is consumed and perceived. A glass is not just a receptacle for holding liquid!
Ciders made in bulk from diluted juice concentrate and then sweetened and carbonated that are normally served in a pint glass are glugged for refreshment without much thought and will not suit this glass because they do not have the tannins and acidity that would benefit from the design. But if you seek a vessel that encourages you to savour every mouthful of natural real cider because it represents how nature influenced that particular growing year and can never be replicated then this glass will make your imbibing ritual precious indeed.
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