This is a fun one with very little substance. I poured a 2012 Left Coast Cellars Latitude 45 Pinot Noir into two different glasses. M and I tried the wine from both glasses, but I intimated that she was tasting two different wines. The reaction was pretty strong: The wine from one of the glasses was rather nice and from the other rather awful.
This was not a double-blind test. It was not at all scientific. It is, at best, anecdotal. The next fun experiment would be to use the same glassware twice with the same wine and repeat.
This silly little game was played with two stems. The first was a Riedel Vinum XL Pinot Noir Glass. This stem was developed in conjunction with Oregon Pinot producers in order to tone down the alcohol and emphasize the sweetness, balance, and acidity. Pro tip: Here are three things you cannot smell: Sweetness, balance, and acidity. The second is the Zalto Burgundy Denk’art Glass. It costs twice as much and is designed in accordance with the tilt angles of the earth, and is meant to be expressive of wines over 13% alcohol, up to and including cognac (!!).
In other words, wine glass marketing is a load of crap.
The two glasses had some things in common. Either could hold an entire bottle of wine, if one felt particularly stupid. The apertures shared a similar diameter. Both are wine glasses.
The Zalto stem is hand-blown and incredibly delicate. With any volume of liquid in the bowl, it feels ready to shatter at any moment. Cleaning it is terrifying. Drinking wine from it requires an absurd amount of attention. A quick wrist movement is sufficient to shatter the stem if there is any volume of wine in the bowl.
The Riedel stem is machine-made and feels cheap. It’s not clear to me whether the bowl is machine or hand-blown, but I’m guessing the former. The base, stem, and bowl are all quite a bit thicker than the Zalto. Thus, drinking from the Riedel stem is far less terrifying.
For my part, I did not find that I preferred one glass to the other, but the aromas I observed from the wine were rather different. Via one glass I got big fresh berry aromas and from the other I got a lot of forest floor and earthy aromas. This distinction is also not scientific or carefully evaluated.
It’s interesting to experiment like this but it is difficult to draw clear conclusions or make recommendations. Have fun with it.