What is the essence of luxury? Is it a price tag, a material, a name? Luxury can be defined in so many ways but one thing is for certain, luxury is not cheap, nor should it be. When we discuss the enjoyment of wine, luxury is a name that comes up often. Just like the world of fine imported cigars, wine has it’s own plethora of paraphernalia. The glass, the corkscrew, the decanter, these items are all basic instruments used to enjoy wine and at the end of the day, inexpensive or even disposable items get the job done just fine. However, fine items designed to work better and last a lifetime can provide a much more enjoyable experience in general. In this review we will be talking about a luxury item that is not only superior to most in its class, but its design literally broke the mold and has become one of the most coveted of all wine related items…the Riedel wine glass.
Established in 1756, the company itself is not quite one you would consider new to the market. They have evolved dramatically over the years into probably the most respected and cutting edge wine glass manufacturer on the planet. In 1958, the company produced their first varietal specific wine glass, the Burgundy Grand Cru. 1973 brought the Sommelier series varietal specific wine glasses to the market, and then in 1986, they released their benchmark and more affordable Vinum series varietal specific wine glasses. Affordable is most definitely in the eye of the beholder, but for a high-end crystal wine glass these are not crazy expensive. Made of German lead crystal, the Vinum series is a varietal specific team of glasses with a shape and size dedicated to individual grape varieties.
I have been busy lately doing some “real world” research with the Riedel Vinum series Bordeaux wine glass. I know, research is never fun and I have such a horrible job having to test and review a wine glass. I have sampled several wines in this glass all from the Bordeaux family of grapes to stay true to the theme of the proper glass for the correct grape variety. My experience so far is just about what I expected from this company, a wine glass that brings out the best characteristics from every wine, and aesthetics and hand-feel that are second to none. My only negative perception at first was that I found the stem to be a bit short for my preferences. Glasses like the Gabriel-Glas and Luigi Bormioli offer longer stems to hang on to. After a few evenings of grasping and swirling wines, I must say I got used to it and they have grown on me quite a bit.
Pros and Cons of the Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glass, and remember these are my opinions.
- A specific glass for specific grapes, in my opinion this scientific approach works.
- A thin stemmed and thin rimmed glass that looks dazzling and feels outstanding in the hand.
- They are dishwasher safe, which is a huge plus for some. We hand wash all of our wine glasses at home but this is a nice perk for those with busy lifestyles who just want to throw them in the wash and go.
- Although I find the price to be fair for what you get, the price tag for a single Vinum wine glass could be a major deterrent for many folks.
- I have become used to the shorter stems, but I would still prefer a longer stem to grasp.
The company and their reputation pretty much speak for itself, so I will leave you with this… If you have some extra cash in the pocketbook and want to invest in one of the finest glasses available, you simply cannot go wrong with a Riedel Vinum series wine glass. If the wallet is really fat, you can even jump into a sea of über luxury and delve into the world of the Sommeliers series from Riedel, which are top-notch glasses, but at a much higher price point. Either way, enjoyment of the wine is the most important thing, so choose your glass wisely and cheers!
Grasp, swirl, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.
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