Sunday, October 12, 2014

What a Difference the Glass Makes

I have a cabinet full of wine glasses--a special glass for Syrah/Grenache wines, one for Bordeaux/Cabernet, another for Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo. I think the shape of a glass makes a difference to the smell and taste of the wine. But I can't swear by it. I have tried Riedel, Schott-Sweisel and other brands. Again, I think these wine geeik brands are better than glasses off the shelf of a department store. But I can't swear by it. So when my daughter and son-in-law gave me Zalto denk'art glasses for a gift, I was skeptical. They are smaller than my other wine glasses and have a different shape with curves "tilted to the angles...which are in accordance with the tilt angles of the earth." And they are billed as "Universal," meaning they will work with any type of wine.  Again, I was skeptical. But I was anxious to try them out. Within a short time, everyone at the Christmas dinner table had tried Zalto versus a number of other brands, styles and shapes. And we all agreed: the wine was markedly better from the Zalto Universal glass.

Last week, the difference was confirmed to me yet again. On Monday, we had the 2009 Delas Saint Esprit Cotes du Rhone in a Syrah/Grenache glass and decided it was only ordinary, not as special as the 2007 vintage of the same wine we had 12 to 15 times over the course of the previous three years. On Tuesday night, we drank the same CDR from a Zalto Universal glass...and WOW. What a difference a day...and a different wine glass...make. The peppery/spicy elements of the wine were more subtle and the flavors more sharply defined. Good wine.

On Wednesday and Thursday nights, we had the 2001 Domaine Sainte Anne Cotes du Rhone, and the experience was the same. In a Syrah/Grenache glass, the wine showed a lovely stage of maturity--bulb flowers, dark cherries and rich velvety texture. In a Zalto Universal glass the following night, the wine was lifted to another level. Again, the flavors were sharper and more defined. I kept thinking about Chateauneuf du Pape as I sipped this 13-year-old CDR I bought for $8.99 many years ago.

I love these glasses because they make my good wines taste even better. Unfortunately, I have found that they also make bad wine taste even worse. The other unfortunate thing is the cost: about $60 a glass. They are hand  blown and very finely wrought. I don't want to risk breaking one by using it every night; yet I find myself coming back to them again and again, and they seem relatively tough. I haven't broken one yet.

Believe me, I am not trying to sell a product. But if someone happens to give you a Zalto denk'art Universal glass for a present...use it and enjoy.

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