How to choose the best wine glass

For the past few months, I have been drinking luxury.

The bottles are no different – they are the usual blend depending on the region, grape and producer I’m curious about and the articles I’m working on, with the occasional treat. But I poured wine into the best five glasses of wine money can buy.

For most of the past decade, the top glass among wine lovers was the Zalto Denk’Art UniversalWhen I first encountered it in 2011, it seemed fundamentally different and completely better than other top-of-the-line glasses.

But in the last few years a number of other high-end glasses have challenged Zalto’s supremacy, which has led me to these five lead-free crystal universal glasses, each precision engineered ( and marketed) to become the only glass that people need to drink all kinds of. of wine.

Meaning, anyone is willing to pay around $60 to $90 per glass.

Admittedly, most drinkers would neither want nor need such rare glasses of wine. Many casual drinkers these days are happy to use cheap goblets or even stemless goblets, which I don’t want to find out, even though I’m happy to drink from a cup. .

Wine is most evident in glasses with cleverly shaped bodies, where a bowl large enough to fill a quarter of a glass is sufficient. The bowl should be transparent, with no carvings or decorations, widest near the bottom, and taper inward toward the rim to channel the scent upwards.

Holding the glass by the stem helps prevent finger smudges and prevents the wine from becoming hot with the heat of your hands. (This is why I usually don’t care for stemless glasses.)

Wirecutter, The Times’ product review site, has long recommended glasses cost 12 dollars a piecegenerally good for those who enjoy wine but tend not to take it seriously.

The deluxe glasses below are for those who care deeply about wine, who invest in their collection and drink with consideration and reverence. If wine plays an important role in life, then the choice of the glass is very important and can require this significant commitment.

For such people, wine glasses should be aesthetically pleasing but above all functional, enhancing the perception of a wine that can often be subtle, nuanced and, in the case of older wines, fragile and glimpse.

Choosing a glass of wine is like choosing a car: Even the cheapest car will get you where you want to go, but a ride is a different experience aboard the finest Mercedes-Benz.

I’m definitely not a purist to drink only the best. But I do love the great glasses. So my dining area has become an arena for wine glass smashing, a term I’m recommended because of the lightness and seeming fragility of these five glasses.

In fact, I find each to be as durable as they are delicate. I didn’t make them or hesitated to put them in the dishwasher. Their manufacturers consider them dishwasher safe, a prerequisite for someone like me, whose commitment to alcohol doesn’t extend to hand washing and drying glassware.

The five glasses I’ve tested since November include Zalto Universal and four competitors: Gabriel-Glas Gold Edition; Gobletfrom the collaboration of Jancis Robinson, the famous British wine writer, and designer Richard Brendon; sensory glassesdesigned by Roberto Conterno by the great Barolo producer Giacomo Conterno, in association with Zwiesel Kristallglas, a German manufacturer; and Josephine Universal from Josephinenhütte, has perhaps the most interesting back story.

It was designed by Kurt Josef Zalto – that Zalto – who left his eponymous company some time ago.

“In order to grow faster, I made a compromise to accept foreign investors in my company” he told Forbes magazine in December 2020. “I was kicked out and they kept the name ‘Zalto’.”

It’s worth remembering the impact Zaltos had when they came to the United States in 2010. I will always remember my first meeting in early 2011.

It was at a tasting in New York City. I believe the theme of the day was Valtellina, but in this case, I miss the glasses more than the wine.

Original glass is usually in the shape of a curved bowl, with some standard variations. The two most typical are the Burgundy glass, with a large and wide bowl that tapers inwards at the top, and the Bordeaux glass, which is taller with a narrower bowl that also curves inward towards the lips.

The tall Zalto is like a Bordeaux glass but instead of curving gently and upward, it turns abruptly and inward in a straight line. It seems to be unbelievably thin and light, a pleasure to hold in the hand. As I swirled the wine in the glass, the stem seemed to bend backwards, slender yet lithe and powerful.

Most importantly, the aromas and flavors of the wine are clear and bold. Overall, the glass is a delight. I bought a set of six glasses almost immediately after tasting it, not cheap at more than $50 a piece but well worth it to complement the usual, usable Riedel Vinum Cabernet glasses that I used daily at home for every wine.

In the years that followed, Zalto Universal became a standard among many wine enthusiasts. I’ve seen Zaltos in wine-loving restaurants like Le Bernardine in New York and as modest as Cave Ox, a tavern in the Sicilian town of Solicchiata near Mount Etna. Some restaurants, if your bottle of wine is expensive enough or your name is recognizable, they will throw away the regular glasses on the table and replace it with Zaltos.

The arrival of Zalto Universal filled the void left by Riedel, the leading producer of wine glasses at the time. Riedel’s premium crystal glasses are of unsurpassed quality, but the company has made a selling point in creating meticulously specialized glasses.

Not just one Bordeaux specific glass, but one for young Bordeaux and another for old Bordeaux, others for sangiovese, syrah, Montrachet, Chablis, Oregon pinot noir, zinfandel, riesling, you have can name it.

Moreover, high-end glasses The Riedel Sommeliers . Series seems absurdly gigantic, like something a snob in a hypertension parody might choose to impress.

In contrast, Zalto is modest in size. And, although Zalto has produced three other glasses specifically for red, white and sparkling, Universal, with its suggestion that it goes well with all wines, has appealed to my long-held belief that the easy to get a multi-purpose glasses far outweigh any micro-benefits that can be gained from choosing specialized glasses.

Zalto stood alone, fending off cheaper knockoffs until other glasses companies switched to making their own high-end mainstream glasses.

Of the five I’ve tried, Gabriel-Glas and Jancis are very similar to Zalto. Jancis has a slightly shorter body, and the bottom of the bowl is rounder and narrower. Gabriel-Glas at the bottom of the bowl is wider than Zalto and suddenly leans more inward; it is also the lightest glass, almost hairy on the hand. To my eyes, Jancis has the most classic beauty.

Josephine resembles Zalto, with one significant difference: The bowl bulges slightly around the lowest part of its circumference as if it had a circular love handle before beginning to taper toward the rim, in a slight arc. smooth rather than the straight line of Zalto.

What is the purpose of this irregular shape? “As the wine is stirred in the glass, the twisting sugar breaks this motion and allows the wine to flow back into the abdomen in a spiral motion,” a Josephinenhütte representative told me. “In doing so, it will absorb more oxygen.”

The last glass, the Conterno Sensory, is the actual outer glass. It is shaped like a classic Burgundy stem, shorter than others with a wider, more rounded bowl shape that tapers inward towards the rim before gently flared out.

Damage warning: These are all great glasses, beautiful to look at and fun to hold in the hand. Each is more premium than Riedel Vinum, the cheaper and less extravagant glass I’ve used at home for years.

Each goes great with Champagnes, surprisingly even the broad Conterno Sensation. Current conventional wisdom suggests that Champagne and sparkling wine should be drunk from smaller glasses to create foam and aromas on top. But Champagne from Conterno is full-bodied, strong and intense, certainly no less than other glasses.

In addition to Champagne from these glasses, I drink white Burgundies, red Burgundies, red Bordeaux, dry rieslings, older Barolos, and a variety of younger wines. I found enough differences to split them into two groups.

The Jancis and Gabriel-Glas are, to me, the cars that look and feel the most aesthetically appealing. I simply want to have them in my hand because they feel so good. But there is a clear difference in the presentation of the wines in these two glasses.

Whether sparkling, white or red, the wines in these two glasses appear to be slightly under-focused, with flavors and aromas not quite as clear or intense. The difference is very small but obvious.

I found in Zalto, Josephine and Contenno a little more precision, clarity and intensity of the wine. Among the high points is drinking Champagne from Josephine, in which a pretty fountain with tiny bubbles rises directly to the surface from the point where the stem and bowl meet.

The older Barolo in the Conterno glasses is expected to be beautiful and nuanced, slightly better than the other glasses. I also found other differences. With more youthful reds, like 2017’s Savigny-les-Beaune, both Conterno and Josephine seem to exaggerate or reveal the wine’s tannic structure in a way that I can’t perceive in other glasses.

Is this a good thing? The wines are more foul-smelling and acrid and less enjoyable. Such brutal honesty in a glass of wine can be as welcoming as a brightly lit bathroom mirror in the morning after a rough night.

Wine lovers who are willing to invest in the finest glasses have plenty to choose from. Josephinenhütte, like Zalto, also offers white, red and sparkling glasses. Those on a budget and unlimited space can go the specialized Riedel route.

If you believe in the philosophy of a great glass for all wines, as I do, you won’t go wrong with any of these five glasses. I suspect many will find their own subjective reasons for embracing one of them. All to my satisfaction, but I’m glad I invested in those Zaltos 11 years ago. I think they are still hard to beat. How to choose the best wine glass

Fry Electronics Team

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