Serious wine glasses: part two
Last July, I went on a search for a high quality universal wine glass. After considering various options, I narrowed it down to three choices based on quality and budget. I wrote:
I cannot resist trying THE ONE red wine glasses from Andrea Robinson. German crystal, professionally designed, holding 19 ½ ounces, and only $13.50 per stem is hard to beat. But I will order four and see how they perform with different wines.
My personal choice for a practical, affordable, and elegant universal wine glass? The Zwiesel Forte collection Burgundy/Light Red and White Wine glass. I would prefer a glass holding more than 14 ounces (full capacity), but I like the practical design, price, and elegant look. They will be great for wine tastings. That said, I’m also order a set from the Gigi line, as a runner-up, but not the red glass. I prefer the Gigi white wine glass height and its enhanced swirling capacity, with a generous enough capacity of almost 18 ounces. I also favor Zwiesel’s strong and longstanding eco-friendly commitments.
All three arrived in Panama via Miami without any breakage or damage. I have tried all three for months in ordinary use.
All three were always hand washed. One of the Forte glasses broke, but only recently. It slipped out of my hand, falling a few inches onto a tile floor, and that was it. I lost two Gigi glasses, but the second time was attributable to uncareful placement in a crowded sink by a third party; the same happened to one of THE ONE glasses.
Overall, all three are sturdy glasses, though I believe the wider bowl and caved design on the Forte glass makes for somewhat clumsier handling (yes, that's if you're picking it up by the bowl and not the stem).
Although prior to actually using these three glasses, my first choice was the Zwiesel Forte, it turned out to be my least favorite. It has a wide bowl, but the shortest stem among the three. It also looks too much like a restaurant wine glass for my use at home. On the positive side, it cleans up easily and has a wide opening. The bowl is big and broad. It's relatively light, but strong. On the negative side, there is an almost imperceptible seam on the stem. It's too short to be elegant. Wine tends to spot on the bowl. It may be too big overall for a universal glass.
I love the Gigi, which was designed for white wine but serves perfectly well for rose, white, and sparkling as well. It's strong and cleans easily. The stem is long and the design angular and modern. It's the tallest of the three. The opening is just barely wider than that on THE ONE. The Gigi cleans up very easily, though it seems like the heaviest of the three but just barely. There is, like the Forte, an almost imperceptible seam on the stem (though for some glasses it almost disappears). I don't worry as much about breaking the Gigi in washing or handling. The design makes swirling wine a cinch even though the bowl is narrow.
THE ONE is impressive. This a a true crystal wine glass with no seams. The pulled stem is longer than the Forte but shorter than the Gigi. It has a more modern design, blending angles and curves, but without being as brash as the Gigi. The opening is the smallest of the three, very slightly smaller than the Gigi. The base is the widest among the three, adding stability. Wine never spots on the bowl. Although designed as a red wine glass, it serves well for rose and white wines, slightly less so for sparkling. Before trying it, I thought it would be more delicate than it is. Overall it has an adaptable, elegant design without being traditional like the Forte or very new-fashioned like the Gigi. One downside is that it can be hard to clean the bottom of the bowl (just don't let red wine sit in the glass for too long).
My choice for a serious wine glass is THE ONE from sommelier Andrea Robinson. The quality to price ratio is outstanding, especially considering the current cost of crystal wine glasses. Although I've seen complaints about the small opening, it didn't bother me. Wine swirls effortlessly. I will order more. The graceful design will embellish a dinner table or a social event. It's a solid wine glass. I will also continue to use the Gigi white wine glass for everyday, and I might even see what the red wine version has in store . . .
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Charlie Leary earned his PhD in history at Cornell University. He has served as a wine director for restaurants in New Orleans, southern France, Canada, Costa Rica and Panama since 1995. He is a certified Spanish Wine Specialist, Cava Educator and Expert and has studied wine through Washington State University, the Wine Scholar Guild, California Wine Institute, and the Rioja Academy. Charlie is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.
Panama & Central America
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