“Turbulence” is of course a bit misleading. — What I mean is a rotatory and rising movement of air — as for instance, when a hurricane first develops. Or inside stemware. So: turbulence and wine glasses… chapter 2. Or 3.
To take a step back: if it’s not clear by now, I’m not an expert on wine glasses — something far more annoying: an enthusiast. In simplest terms, the mingling of subjective and objective variables fascinate me. How they blend and always — always — contribute to the taste of a vintage. I say “always” for many reasons, but most basically because there is no “taste” without someone tasting. And there is no “someone” tasting without subjectivity. Thoughts, feelings, mood, desires, what have you. A setting. The Coriolis Effect is about specifics… but it too is hidden until its dynamics are witnessed in storms. Based mostly on elements we don’t notice because they are concealed in our frame of reference.
As someone said, “Many men have proposed marriage in light so dim they would not have chosen a suit by it. ” (Variation: have fallen in love in light so dim..)
Chevalier, Chesterton, Shaw… and gizmodo.com
Perhaps it was Shaw or Chesterton, or indeed Maurice Chevalier, but now I am not sure. Some acerbic curmudgeon said it. Or a romantic. As Dorothy Parker said, it was always Oscar Wilde, master of the wicked imputation, who had said it first… I tried to look the “light so dim” quote up once but the experts started arguing with each other.
In any case the slope and depth of a wineglass have something to do with what it delivers upward, to the nose. How the air moves inside the glass, and how the glass shape contributes to that. Whether the air molecules begin to rotate in currents, when the wine is swirled. — And yes, the look of it, to the eyes, counts. We discussed these matters, or tried to, in an article back in February this year, in THIS WHISKEY GLASS IS AN AEROFOIL.
Also there was this article in gizmodo.com, Air Flow Dynamics in Wine Glasses.
You can get the glassware at Amazon (and yes, we may get a commission if you start by clicking on a link in our articles… )
I don’t know who made the wineglass in the somewhat odd photo at the top of this article. The glass appears too delicate, but I like it at certain times. It’s when I want the wine to display itself with lazy ease, with the indolence of an odalisque, as if drugged. The aromas gathering, just sort of opening, dreamily toward the top.
There’s a book, or there are books about that feeling, that I am thinking of — a good place to start would be by looking at certain paintings of Ingres and Delacroix. (Ingres’ Odalisque at the Louvre; Delacroix’s Women of Algiers, Wikimedia image.) Morocco, Egypt, exoticism of a region — it’s the Orientalist genre developed by the French pursuant to Napoleon’s journey to Egypt. That sleepy ecstasy expresses itself in wine, and in certain stemware.
P.S. The book pictured here presents portraits painted by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. A devilishly good draftsman, and master of depictions of surfaces (silk, porcelain, brass…), he (Ingres) documented the folly and beauty of his age (19th C.). Click on the image to read about the book, at Amazon.
More on this topic later, too…