- Buck, bang for - effectiveness given cost
- Form - beauty inside and out, encompassing both feel and aesthetic appeal to the eye
- Function - an instrument to reveal wines’ characteristics
- X factor - specialness that adds to the occasion, personal/sentimental significance
The key functional difference – beyond keeping up with the Joneses’ – is that crystal’s more abrasive surface aerates and brings out the wine’s flavour characteristics more effectively than glass’ smooth surface.
Tho the open ended shape let’s the wine’s aromas diffuse/escape, who cares, you’re drinking from a shape modelled on Marie Antoinette’s boobs! Let them drink from coupes!
The delicate, material feel of something real made by a craftsman in the past adds to the ceremony tho again the shape does not reveal the wine’s character as effectively as the modern, custom designed examples below. One for grandma’s late night sherry nightcaps (or for looking nice on the shelf).
Cheap, does the job with minimal fuss, perfect for evenings in the park (or clumsy guests).
Great all rounder with the bowl shape that works well for white, red, even fizzy. Not too expensive, made by a respected glass maker, a Riedel Restaurant is a good choice given it could be your first and last investment in wine glassware.
Another great all rounder suitable for a range of white and red. While good across a range of wines (from heavier whites like oaked Chardonnay to Syrah/Grenache blends), it’s less strong on pinot noir or heavyweight northern Italian reds (interestingly some advocate the bordeaux Zalto as better suited to a wider range of wine types). Also bear in mind, Zaltos can – like american high end hi-fi brand Krell – almost reveal too much of the wine’s ‘information’. This warts and all view in our experience can expose the flaws of more rudimentary, tho still charming wines. Still a great glass, we use them ourselves, but beware this also has potential gateway glass to a spiraling glassware addiction (Ben is especially guilty here).
The most beautiful of the modern glasses available, combining perfect balance in the hand (like an excellent Japanese chef’s knife) with perfect symmetry/proportions between the base, stem and bowl for the eye to feast upon. This object gives pleasures from both ownership (without wanting to sound materialistic) as well function. Also surprisingly flexible given the crystal used (same applies to the Zalto universal).
If celebrating, antique, hand-cut glassware adds a nice sense of occasion (aka ‘they don’t make ‘em like that anymore!).
If it’s party, cheapies liberate you from looking after prized glassware (aka ‘go ahead, do your worst, careless guest!’).
If you’re tired of the grandkids, coloured glasses add pizzazz to the bungalow soiree (aka ‘grandma’s little helper’).
If you’re starting your wine journey, plump for a Riedel (aka ‘play a straight bat’).
If you’re getting serious, go to Zalto (aka ‘chasing the dragon’).
Finally, buy pairs as wine’s best enjoyed together (aka ‘wine loves company’).