Did you visit Taste of Melbourne this weekend?

The exhibition can be pretty overwhelming, what with the huge crowds of people and the number of exhibitors and restaurants participating. So this year I restricted myself to a quick whip around the stalls that I was interested in (such as Yarra Valley Dairy, Gundowring, Enni) and the very interesting and educational Plumm Wine Glass Experience courtesy of PPR.

I’m not very knowledgeable about wine, let alone wine glasses. But thanks to Matt Skinner – wine writer, sommelier and presenter – I’m now a little more aware of how the shape of a wine glass can affect my appreciation of what I’m drinking.

On the table were five crystal wine glasses – four of them from the Plumm Vintage range. Plumm is a Melbourne based company who make an Australian-designed, European-made range of glassware. Their tagline is ‘Five wine glasses are all you need’ and their aim is to make wine appreciation accessible by providing wine specific glasses for everyday drinking.

The fifth glass was an ISO glass which used to be the only official tasting glasses used by wine professionals (they are also familiar to wine drinkers at festivals or vineyard tastings).

The four Plumm glasses had tastings of Louis Roederer Champagne, Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc, Barossa Babe Shiraz and Sticks No. 29 Pinot Noir. Matt introduced each glass, then each wine and gave lots of information about aromas, flavours and food matches.

With the Sparkling glass he explained that the wider belly compared to the lip enables the wine to breath and to let the wine hit the front of the palate first. Matt recommended that champagne be paired with something with a fatty texture or batter so that it would clean the palate for the next mouthful of food.

White A is suitable for aromatic whites with no oak, particularly young whites, in that in allows them to open up but not have their flavours and aromas lost in a big glass. The sauvignon blanc would be great with goats cheese, tomatoes, peas – basically food for this time of year.

Red A is for the ‘big reds’ such as those typically from the Barossa Valley. The bowl is still big enough to aerate the wine but not so large that all you get on your nose is the smell of alcohol. Matt suggested that the shiraz would be paired with hung meat, slow roasts or a chargrilled butterflied leg of lamb.

The flared lip of Red B is designed to deliver the wine to the middle of the palate and not the front, and the large bowl allows the wine to aerate. A classic pairing with pinot is duck as the acid cuts through the fatty meat to clean the palate.

Having the ISO glass for comparison was very effective in demonstrating to even a beginner how the same wine could smell and taste different in a different glass. It was so obvious! Basically, the narrow ISO glass completely shut down the aromas and fragrances of the wines (and we all know that smell is a huge component of taste) and its fat rolled rim, made for durability, meant that the wine was always delivered to the front of the palate and hence accentuated the acidity of the wine.

Not only was the session incredibly informative but the $40 ticket included a Plumm Wine Glass Pack (RRP $115) of the Sparkling, White A, Red A and Red B glasses. Plus the wine tastings of course! Good value.

After the Plumm Wine Glass Experience I’m now convinced that I need to overhaul my glassware collection. Plumm make a high-end handmade range (one piece of glass), the Vintage range (two joins in the glass and safe for the dishwasher) and an Outdoors polycarbonate range – perfect for Spring Racing Carnival and Moonlight Cinema.