A vessel is a vessel, right? Well yes, except when it comes to wine.
Maybe I’m strange, but I love good glassware almost as much as I love wine.
Sure, there is a trend to take the pretension out of wine service by serving wine in tumblers, but I will always be that annoying customer who pipes up and asks for a wine glass with a stem. Even a Riedel ‘O’ glass doesn’t cut it for me.
The thing about wine is that it deserves a sense of occasion, and a tumbler just doesn’t cut it.
Which leads on to a wine bar in Berlin this summer, where I fell head over heels in love…
With my wine glass.
I’d heard of Zalto before, but I had never had the pleasure of experiencing their glasses – and let me assure you it was an absolute pleasure. It was by far the best wine glass I’ve ever encountered, and it made my old Riedel collection feel cumbersome and dated by comparison.
Zalto is sleek, delicate and unbelievably light as a feather. Plus their glasses enhance the flavour of your wine in just the right way. I couldn’t stop touching the glass, but at the same time it made me want to savour every mouthful…
The catch? They’re rather expensive. If you’re happy to splash out then at £180 for 6 then it will be the best investment of your life (trust me!), but for those who aren’t sold on their fabulousness just yet then here are my top tips for picking the right glass:
For crisp refreshing whites such as Sauvignon Blanc or Albarino, bigger is not better. The larger your glass the quicker you will lose the cool temperature needed to enjoy these wines at their best. A medium sized glass with a narrower top is perfect for these styles.
Fuller bodied white wines, especially with a touch of oak, work better in a slightly larger glass.
Reds like to breathe, and in order to do so they need a big glass. If your glass is too small, you’re limiting the wines’ full potential.
Flutes are thought to be perfect, as their narrow surface area allow the bubbles to be retained for longer. However, for richer styles of sparkling wine, especially aged vintage Champagnes, a white wine glass really allows the complex flavours of the wine to shine.
Sticky & Fortified
For dessert wine and fortified wines you need smaller glasses, as they’re either too sweet or alcoholic (or both!) to drink in large quantities.