Friday, December 7, 2012
The Best Wine Glasses in the World?
I'm probably like a lot of wine journalists that attend tastings several times a year in that I often (but not always) look at the type of wine glasses that are being used. The wines are the most important thing of course, but when you sample wines from just the right glasses, there's an ease to your work.
It's almost like a great actor when they're at the top of their game - you don't see them acting. It's the same here - you don't notice any flaws in the glasses - they're not too heavy, they're not bulky, they fit your hand just right, etc. Then you pick up the glasses and see who manufactured them.
That's what happened recently when I was part of a tasting of Pinot Nero from Alto Adige. I was invited by the editors of Fine, an upscale wine magazine in Germany to attend, as my host, Martin Foradori Hofstatter, proprietor of J. Hofstatter winery in Tramin in Alto Adige, had let the editors know I was available to sit in at the tasting. I thank these individuals for this courtesy, as the tasting was first rate.
The wines were excellent, but right away, I noticed how delicate the glasses were. I took a look at the logo and discovered these were crafted by the glassmaker Zalto from Austria. These glasses were attractive to look at, were as light as a feather and were superb vessels for releasing the aromatics of the examples of Pinot Nero.
I met Martin Hinterleitner of the Zalto firm, who sat in on the tasting. He mentioned that the company had been receiving a great deal of positive comments on their products and gave me a brochure with testimonials from such respected wine authorities as Jancis Robinson and Aldo Sohm, sommelier at Le Bernadin in New York City. Robinson spoke of the glasses being the "thinnest and most delicate" she has come across and that was certainly the situation for me as well.
You can tell from the first photo here how thin the stems are; what you may not be able to tell is that the stems are various sizes, as these are hand-blown glasses. I can't say that much more about them, except to say that based simply on these glasses, Zalto is one of the finest producers of wine glasses in the world and deserve your attention!