Pouring with Panache

Rather than an adornment to elevate a table, those in the business see stemware as an instrument to convey the wine’s message.

Anyone who inherits even a modest collection of vintage crystal is often surprised with the variety of sizes and shapes, especially if the collection dates from an era when fine wine was a privilege of a limited few. Vintages were served with elegance, while common table wines might only merit a jelly jar.  

Today everyone wants to pour with panache no matter the cost of the wine or whether the event is a backyard barbecue or a black-tie soiree. “Even if people are not wine drinkers, many still want to have a good set of all-purpose glasses. Nobody thought of that 25 years ago, even 10 years ago,” says Jay Buchsbaum, executive VP marketing and director of wine education at Royal Wine Corp.

RIEDEL PERFORMANCE SHIRAZ

RIEDEL PERFORMANCE CHAMPAGNE

RIEDEL PERFORMANCE SPIRITS

What’s considered an acceptable vessel can range from a basic tulip shape that works for both reds and whites to a growing number of silhouettes designed for specific varietals and grapes. Claus Riedel was one of the first to recognize the effect of shape on the perception of wine and spirits. In the 1970s, his eponymous company introduced glasses based on the character of the grape. Today, Riedel continues to innovate, introducing collections designed to enhance the experience of a range of varietals and grapes, including New World wines.  

“It’s all about physics,” says Gabe Geller, top sommelier at Royal Wine Corp. “The bowl of the glass is designed with the surface area in mind. Red wines generally need to breathe, so a fuller, rounder bowl with a wide opening suit them best. Whites stay cooler in bowls that are straighter on the sides.” Rosés can be served in white wine glasses, but there are also glasses with shorter bowls that are slightly tapered with a flared rim for the best experience. “The rim affects the way you sip. The flair helps direct the wine directly to the tip of the tongue,” says Geller.

A wine glass’ architecture includes the base, stem and bowl; variations in the bowl define the experience.

“It’s all about physics,” says Gabe Geller, top sommelier at Royal Wine Corp. “The bowl of the glass is designed with the surface area in mind. Red wines generally need to breathe, so a fuller, rounder bowl with a wide opening suit them best. Whites stay cooler in bowls that are straighter on the sides.” Rosés can be served in white wine glasses, but there are also glasses with shorter bowls that are slightly tapered with a flared rim for the best experience. “The rim affects the way you sip. The flair helps direct the wine directly to the tip of the tongue,” says Geller.

Photo courtesy of the Royal Wine Corp.

“The truth is it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The varieties are endless,” shares Geller. “A good universal wine glass is perfectly suitable for anything, from your summer afternoon Ramon Cardova Rosado to a vintage Bordeaux such as Baron de Rothchild Haut-Medoc.”

Stemmed vs. stemless? In part, it’s a matter of preference and utility. The absence of a stem does “not change the ability of the wine to show its best in terms of aromatics and flavor. The same swirling and the same tapered top that is necessary for a wine to show its best can be duplicated,” says Buchsbaum, who does have some reservations regarding the ability of a stemless glass to maintain proper temperatures.

Photos courtesy of Riedel, from the Flickr account of Bettina Lorenzoni.

After choosing the perfect dining table, preparing an unforgettable meal, and gathering your guests, don’t forget to select a set of dinnerware that will showcase your style.

The way we display our food has become a delicate form of art, from intricately drizzled sauces to the dishes on which they are served. Cristina Vezzini and Stan Chen are making elegance easy with their stunning dinnerware collection. Vezzini & Chen is a combination of hand-carved ceramics and hand-blown glass, which gives each piece a unique touch.

 

Vezzini, originally from Italy, and Chen, who is from Taiwan, met while attending The Royal College of Art and continued working together after graduation in their London studio. Although the two specialize in different materials and techniques, Chen being the skilled glassblower and Vezzini focusing on handcrafted ceramics, the team is a cohesive unit, which shines through in their work.

It is unlikely that you’ll find another set like Vezzini & Chen’s because each and every piece is handmade and carefully constructed by the duo. Their broad range of inspiration also adds an exclusive aspect to each set. Inspiration from nature, such as fire and water elements, comes through in their designs and pairs nicely with the natural materials that they mold.

Vezzini & Chen’s Hexa Plates and Hexa Bowls are inspired by the idea of looking through water, and the layered, multi-faceted image that appears on the other side. The bowls and plates are available in four signature textures.


Just a glimpse of Vezzin & Chen’s work include these other remarkable collections. The Hexa Wine Glasses are also available in four textures, but each individual glass is as unique as a snowflake.The Horizon Wine Glasses are delicate, hand engraved, and unforgettable. Buyers will certainly want a set of their own, but the hand-carved ceramic plates are part of a limited edition for the Spring Restaurant in London.

Light, geometry, texture, and repetition are also a large part of Vezzini’s designs, which contrasts Chen’s smooth, flawless glass creations nicely. The two designers use these inspirations to work together and bring their pieces to life. Vezzini & Chen’s dinnerware collections will stand out on any table!

Photos courtesy of  Vezzini & Chen

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