The enjoyment and appreciation of wine has been taken to new heights by iconic wine glass maker Riedel. This Austrian company, which has been making glasses since 1756, is known for offering an array of stemware individually shaped to enhance the aromas and flavours of different wines and wine styles, as well as Coca-Cola.
But now, seen in a leaked document, Riedel is creating a glass specially designed to eliminate the reductive, eggy aromas and acerbic flavours found in wines closed under aluminium screw-caps.
According to Walther Ullmen, assistant glass-blower at Riedel’s Special Project unit in Liesing outside Vienna, wine producers have asked for a glass crafted to “naturalise” wines that have been closed under screw-caps.
“We already have the glasses making Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux wines taste better, jawol, through unique manufacturing methods,” says Ullmen. “This is made so by allowing the wines to breathe and enter the mouth at different angles, so as to improve the flavours.”
The 98 year old Ullmen, who began working for Riedel in 1922, said that the use of screw-caps had, according to wine makers, affected the flavour profile of various wines.
“Now we get the order from the Herr to make special glasses for wines bottled under this screw-cap,” he says. “The wines will not have matured well under aluminium, getting sour and smelling like an Eisbein and kraut. So we make the new Riedel glasses from special material.”
Ullmen says that a combination of sand from the western Gobi desert and lead mined in the Ukraine is used in the core glass material. “This material gives the glass tiny ‘scrapers’,” he says. “These ‘scrapers’ are not visible to the eye, but when the wine is swirled in such a glass the tiny protruding particles scratch the surface of the liquid allowing the wine to aerate. It truly is wunderbar! You pour in the wine smelling like a schnitzel, give it a few swirls and it turns all natural.”
According to the leaked document, the instruction to make the screw-cap glass came after well-known Chablis producer Laroche ditched screw-cap closures, preferring to seal their famous wines with cork after deciding the artificial closures were suppressing the aromas and flavours of their delicate Chardonnays.
“We just hope that we can begin to produce the screw-cap glass before more wineries throw away their aluminium and go back to cork,” says Ullmen. “I’ve been to one D-Day, another I do not want. Jawol?”
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