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Jenise

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My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:21 pm

Nearly every month I go up to Vancouver for lunch at the same restaurant, and nearly every month I come back even more dissatisfied with my Spieglaus. This restaurant (whose owner has one of the most extensive lists in Vancouver) serves all wines in just two styles of Schott Zwiesel. Both are from Schott's titanium-based, extra durable (they say) no-lead crystal line called Top Ten. Now whether or not the manufacturer's claims that the glasses offer superior stain- and etch-resistance, which Spieglau most dismayingly does not, turn out to be true, all that is a bonus because what I've loved about these glasses is that all wines seem to show well in them, no matter the grape, no matter the age.

Here's a view of the line:
http://www.brentwoodwine.com/schott_topten.html

Though the line comprehensively offers something for every wine occasion, the glasses used by the restaurant are just two: the light white and the mature red. Sure, some mature whites might show better in a larger bowl, these glasses accentuate fruit and acidity so equally that all whites show very well. Buying these will put an end to my frustration with the Spieglaus where one style punches the fruit in your face and another downplays the fruit almost too severely--it's hard for any white to seem perfectly balanced. Even when it is.

I'm not as unhappy with my red Spieglaus at all but for the etching problem, but once again I need three glasses (burgs and grenaches, young Bordeaux and cab, and older Bordeaux and cab) to address a variety of grapes and maturities. None are a good all-around glass, and I'd even given up thinking that such a thing was either possible or desirable. But lunching my way through 6 or 10 different reds of all stripes has proven, month in and month out, that the Schott mature red is finally that. I'll probably still prefer the burg bowls for young pinots and southern rhones, but I could happily live with this one glass, and instead of buying more Spieglau Bordeauxs which if I had had more time last week I would have done, Friday's lunch convinced me to transition to these instead.

Oh, and about break resistance? Must be true. The gentleman who owns this restaurant owns another, and he told me on Friday that he's been so similarly impressed with the Schotts that he's switching his other restaurant over to them also.

And a final p.s.: overstock.com currently has the Schott mature red on sale for $70 a half dozen with $1 shipping.
Last edited by Jenise on Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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David Lole

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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by David Lole » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:33 pm

Hi Jenise,

I'm not familiar with the glasses to which you refer but, earlier this year, I was lucky enough to find a few dozen "copies" of the Riedel Grand Cru Riesling (used to be called Chianti/Sangiovese, methinks) and the Riedel Bordeaux at AUS$3.50 a stem!

Life is too short not to drink wine from the best possible (shaped) glassware. :wink:
Cheers,

David
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Peter May » Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:55 pm

Glad you're happy with them, but their design just repels me.

There's something about their shapes that doesn't seem harmonic. The mature red is the best looking (imo) because its similar to the ISO shape, but its mouth seems too small.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:40 pm

The shape on the whites you mean? To be honest, I thought the same thing when I first saw them. Kind of a kerosene lamp shape, which lookswise is about the last thing this modern woman would go for. But drinking out of them sold me.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Bob Ross » Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:13 pm

But all the wine glasses have stems, Jenise. :-(

Ah well ... stuck with Riedels, I suppose.

Regards, Bob
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Bill Buitenhuys » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:53 pm

This you post as I get back from filling in a couple holes from syrah stem breakage. :shock: I love the idea of a more all-purpose red stem, Jenise. Have you tried the red glass with chianti ? I really find a pleasant difference using the riedel sangio/zin/riesling glass vs other shapes I have.
Like you, I didnt think an accepable all-purpose glass was out there but I'd much rather have a larger set of the same glass than all these specialty glasses I've been accumulating.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Clint Hall » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:28 pm

A glass for "Burgs and Grenaches"? Interesting. Jenise, I never thought of drinking, say, CdPs, CdRs and Garnachas in a Burgundy glass. I'll give it a try. Burgs and Barolos/Barbarescos/Langhes, yes, of course, but what is the rationale for Grenaches in a Burg glass?
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MarkE » Mon Apr 24, 2006 3:33 am

In for 6. Just what I need, another stemware purchase. This will add to my existing collection of Riedel, Spiegelau, Ravenscroft (knockoff of L'Impitoyables).

I've been eyeing these titanium-reinforced glasses for some time now. Thanks for the nudge. :roll:
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:13 pm

Bob Ross: yes, stems! I was thinking of you last weekend when we used the Riedel O's I bought for travel glassware at a little picnic for two on Orcas Island. You must have large hands, or at least long fingers, because I bobbled-the-glass-miraculously-without-dropping-it more than I securely hung onto it. I know you're going to ask: the syrah size.

Mark E: cool!

Clint: oh yes. What's so enticing to me in southern Rhones is their nose, and a wide bowl shows that better than any other (imho).

Bill: the Riedel sangio/Chianti glass was my previous favorite all-around red glass, so I know exactly what you like about it. Haven't compared them side by side or anything, and I could be shown that the Riedel might be better for young wines, but the wider bowl base on the Schott makes it a better all-purpose glass for the moderately aged and older wines I prefer. And, as I said, at the restaurant we've basically tested them on every red wine under the sun.

David Lole: you got a deal. If I could find a glass I'd be happy with for $3.50, I'd order a couple hundred. (I break so many you'd think I do it on purpose.)
[/b]
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MarkE » Wed May 03, 2006 12:48 am

Got my shipment of SZ mature red today and tested it against the Ravenscroft mature red.
I can see its versatility as an all-around glass for reds; the longer bowl is well suited for Bordeaux and N Rhone. For Burgs though, the Ravenscroft/L'Impitoyable has a slight edge with its shorter rounder bowl. But the SZ should be more durable.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Wed May 03, 2006 12:45 pm

Mine came yesterday, too, and we tested them on a 90 Rioja and a 98 Australian cab. Sounds like we're entirely in agreement--as I'd said earlier in this thread, I'm not throwing out my burg bowls and really young NW cabs might need a more open glass, but I tend not to drink the latter much so these are going to be good for the red wines I tend to drink most of. And--pretty sexy shape, no?
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by JC (NC) » Wed May 03, 2006 6:28 pm

I'd never heard of this brand before. I find the shape of the light white rather attractive.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Wed May 03, 2006 6:41 pm

I love the way it focuses the nose. You smell everything the wine has to offer without distortion. We compared an 02 Pieropan Soave and a couple chenins last week in these new glases against our old Spieglaus, and the result was as convincing for the SZ as I thought it would be. I'll still use a bigger bowl for some aged whites and chards/white burgs, but for the kind of clean bright everyday white I gravitate toward, I love this glass.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MarkE » Thu May 04, 2006 5:39 am

And--pretty sexy shape, no?


In an eggplant/bosc pear sort of way, I guess. :) Someone else mentioned it resembling the INAO glass, I'd have to agree: an eggstra-large INAO. Which is why it works so well.

I was using the Riedel gourmet or Overture magnum glass as my all-purpose tasting set for reds and whites. Now I'll have to carry two sets...
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Thu May 04, 2006 12:48 pm

Eggplant. Okay, I can go there. Actually, eggplants are sexy as singer/songwriter Michael Franks firmly established: "When my baby cooks her eggplant, she don't need no books / She gives me a giaconda kind of dirty look...."

But I digressed. The Riedel Overture Magnums are what I also carry to winetastings, two sizes. Do you like yours? I was hoping they'd be a good allaround glass, and I liked the short stem for stability on crowded tables. But I'm not crazy about them for daily use at all--they restrain fruit, which is in fact good for hi alcohol, sappy California syrahs, say, but I don't drink California syrahs. The wines I like best were are already restrained. And don't even think of drinking a pinot out of them.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by JC (NC) » Thu May 04, 2006 12:51 pm

I'm curious, Jenise. What do they do to the Pinots?
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Thu May 04, 2006 1:03 pm

Oh, they kill the aroma. I hosted a tasting of Oregon pinots not long ago (not at home, so I was carrying the Reidels) where in order to get a true sense of each wine I had to re-smell everything in the burg bowls that my friend Gary carries. Ditto, a month later, when we did southern Rhones.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MarkE » Thu May 04, 2006 4:51 pm

The Riedel Overture Magnums are what I also carry to winetastings, two sizes. Do you like yours?...But I'm not crazy about them for daily use at all--they restrain fruit, which is in fact good for hi alcohol, sappy California syrahs, say, but I don't drink California syrahs.


Two sizes? AFAIK Riedel Overture only makes one Magnum (408/90), which is what I use. It's less tapered than the Riedel gourmet, and seems more similar to the Vinum Bordeaux stem. This may explain why it doesn't work as well for PNs. Perhaps just semantics; what you call "restrain", I think in terms of "diffuse", whereby the bigger opening and the straighter shape doesn't focus the fruit aromas as well as the rounder bowl. But we're in agreement re PNs. I think it's OK for everything else.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MikeH » Thu May 04, 2006 5:56 pm

Two questions from someone who knows very little about the details of glasses:

First, what is the "etching problem"?

Second, do you put your Spiegelaus in the dishwasher or do them by hand?

Thanks.
Cheers!
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Fri May 05, 2006 12:20 pm

408/90? I just went and looked at my boxes (one of the silly attractions of this glassware was the sturdy boxes--three provides the 12 we need for most tastings) and the large boxes are numbered 408/5 while the small are 408/3's. Btw, drank a big New Zealand cab out of the new SZ's last night--excellent.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Fri May 05, 2006 12:27 pm

MikeH wrote:Two questions from someone who knows very little about the details of glasses:

First, what is the "etching problem"?

Second, do you put your Spiegelaus in the dishwasher or do them by hand?

Thanks.


Mike, etching is something that can occur in glass over time, and mechanical dishwashing seems to accelerate that though not everyone reports problems with etching. Different types of glass are less resistant to it than others and soap, water type, etc. can all play a role. The effect on the glass is that it gets increasingly less brilliant and transparent in appearance because of the fine etched 'grooves'. Those grooves can hand onto soap and wine stain, too. I occasionally pop an Efferdent pill into mine to clean them up.

I personally used to always hand wash everything. Then I moved and a friend here convinced me that running them through the dishwasher was the only way to go. So I tried that for awhile, but the glasses etched severely. The new SZ claim that the titanium-based glass has superior etch resistance.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MikeH » Fri May 05, 2006 1:14 pm

Thanks Jenise. That is about what I thought.

We bought some Spiegelaus about 18 months ago. They have been great, no real aging signs but we have never put them in a dishwasher. And always use liquid soap for cleaning except on occasion have soaked in OxyClean (is that the right name?) to remove a stain.

I've been looking at getting 6 of the Spiegelau Vino Grande Bordeaux series to expand our options. The glasses are about 9 inches tall and hold about 21 ounces. But it sounds like these S-Z glasses are identical in form and function and you think they are a better option. Is my conclusion correct?
Cheers!
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by Jenise » Fri May 05, 2006 1:42 pm

Mike,

I have the Spieglau Bordeaux myself and have loved the glasses--my one and only issue with them has been the etching, something that didn't occur until I started sticking them in the dishwasher and which won't be an issue for you. It's a perfect for cabs and syrahs, especially if you tend to drink your wines younger than older and more new world than old. I aspire toward the latter in each case, so the Schotts address my issues/preferences very well, and they do well with young wines and all species of red wines--again, for my europhile tastes.

Like wine, glassware is a matter of perception. I've got some glasses here that I put wine in for anyone who isn't much of a wine drinker because they push all the fruit in your face. I've even moved wine to them from another glass for people who complain of acid or tannins--and the person thought they got a whole new wine much more to their liking. Point is, glassware doesn't just show a wine, in the way that it shows wine it can actually manipulate wine's flavors. Ideal would be to be to buy one glass of each, then test a couple different reds in them and see which one shows the wines you like to what you consider their best advantages. But you probably can't go wrong with the Spieglaus--like I said, I've been happy with my Bordeaux stems--I was having more trouble with the whites.
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Re: My favorite new wine glasses

by MarkE » Fri May 05, 2006 6:59 pm

the large boxes are numbered 408/5 while the small are 408/3's


Hmm. The Riedel site shows 408/5 as the Overture white wine stem, and no 408/3. Maybe the merchant switched the boxes...

Btw, drank a big New Zealand cab out of the new SZ's last night--excellent.


One wine I tested the first night was a 97 Pape Clement which also was excellent in the SZ. Then for comparison in the rounder Ravenscroft stem the same wine showed more fruit but also more structure as well. For Bordeaux at least, I like the aromatics better in the SZ.
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