You know you have got to a certain level of obsession about wine when you can get passionate about glasses. Most people can manage with a couple of shapes and leave it at that. Riedel, on the other hand, is populating the fine wine world with a new glass for every grape variety or so it would seem. And nowhere is a name new to me: Zalto, being trialled by our local wine merchant, Caviste. They produce hand-blown glasses of incredible fineness and which are very beautiful too.
Here we have lined up from the left: Zalto sweet wine glass, Riedel Vinum Chablis glass (ie standard white wine shape), small liqueur glass, lovely inexpensive bottle of Montbazillac, Jour de Fruit, Domaine l’Ancienne Cure, 2007, from Grape Expectations. And I will admit to being very pleased with the photograph.
For me, there is little contest here if I go by the expressiveness of the wine in the glass. The nose if increasingly open and pronounced as you move from the small straight-sided glass to the standard white wine glass to the dedicated sweet wine glass. The wine is really worthwhile too – a great combination of marmalade fruit and biscuits on the nose, sweet and luscious in the mouth (the latter the same from all three glasses I think – see my earlier post on Riedel), sweet aftertaste. It is not too difficult to work out why: the Zalto has plenty of ‘swirling’ space and a shape that then concentrates the aromas around your nose.
As a complete experience, the Zalto is very refined – it is a beautiful shape, the weight of the wine in the slenderness of the glass adds a certain glamorous danger to the act of tasting and the glass is incredibly fine. It is wonderful. But a complete pain to wash up by hand, although apparently you can put them in the dishwasher … So, the question is, how great is your obsession?
Want to know more? See Peter Richards’ much longer article: Winchester Wine School or Zalto’s own website which explains some of the technical issues.