Sparkling clean stemware. Vital to vino enjoyment or artifact of wine snobbery? I argue a desire for a clean glass is not a character flaw.
Granted, cleanliness can be taken to extremes. You can smell the glass at a restaurant or wine bar, ostensibly to ensure dishwashers performed adequately in the rise cycle. Soap residue can be a downer. But the move more likely is intended to intimidate your server. Do you really need this on your conscience?
If you are drinking sparkling wine or beer, there is an easy indicator of dish wash failure. If you note carbonation bubbles clinging to the sides of your glass, your glass is not clean.
Carbonation bubbles collect around funky residue—dish soap, oils, food particles. Such dross can spoil the taste and overall experience. In a quality sparkling wine glass, there is a deliberate, tiny imperfection at the bottom of the glass. Carbonation gathers there, then ascends in a delightful column of bubbles. In a beer glass, bubbles should rise in a fluid motion everywhere with none sticking to the sides.
If you encounter a dirty glass at bar or restaurant, send it back. If you encounter it at your home, rinse your glass and wipe with a microfiber or clean cotton cloth. Strongly consider not using soap to clean the glass. Hot water and a mild scrub usually will take care of everything, especially if the glassware is only used for wine or beer.
• El Coto Blanco, Rioja 2018: Fun, fresh, easy drinker; honeydew melon and lemon-lime-citrus. $10-11 Link to my review
• Backsberg Estate Cellars Pinotage Rosé, South Africa 2018: Delightful introduction to pinotage dialed back to make lithe, easily approachable rosé. $13-15 Link to my review
• Toad Hollow Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016: Merlot velvety softness; cab structure. Easy drinking value. $14-17 Link to my review
• Feudo Solarìa Foglio Cinquanta Nero D’Avola, Sicilia 2015: Velvety tannins make this a round, easy drinker. $15 Link to my review
• A to Z Wineworks Bubbles Oregon Rosé Wine: Simple, tasty, a fun expression of Oregon pinot noir-led sparkling. $16-18 Link to my review
• Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Napa Valley Carneros 2017: Widely available, consistent vintage-to-vintage. $25-28 Link to my review
• Dueling Pistols Petite Sirah Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 2016: Hits mark with fruity sweetness, lush dark fruits. $48-50 Link to my review
• Ehlers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017: Rich, nicely balanced premier Napa/St. Helena cab. Tasty dark fruits. $56 Link to my review
Last round: Wine tip: If you drink your wine straight out of the bottle, you don’t have to worry about clean glasses.