As some of you know, I am a big fan of using the right stemware with my wines. It wasn’t always that way. I originally thought that buying expensive glasses was the biggest marketing scam known to man. How much of a difference could specialty glasses make? I had these pretty Royal Doulton crystal glasses that I received for my wedding. Not only were they more attractive, but they happened to match my china – and after all, I did grow up in the South. Then, I went to a Riedel wine tasting and my perspective quickly changed.
Recently, I was provided with two lead-free glasses from Eisch, a third-generation glass making family in Europe. The glasses are known for being breathable and claim to aerate the wine in your glass in a fraction of the time that it would take to do so in a decanter while making your wine more complex and better balanced. The Superior Red Wine Sensis Plus glass retails for $30.00 and the Superior Red Wine Classic glass retails for $22.50.
Over a few days, we tasted two red wines – the 04 Sojourn Cabernet and the 05 Groom Barossa Valley Shiraz. These are bigger wines that needed some more time in a decanter to develop. Our taste test included my wedding crystal, Royal Doulton Ascot, which was apparently discontinued many years ago; the two Eisch glasses and our Riedel Vinum Extreme Cabernet glasses.
I learned a few things – friends do not let friends drink out of wedding crystal. Both wines were absolutely awful — tasting almost medicinal and overly tannic. Seriously beyond bad. If you came to my house in the early days of my marriage and I served you wine, I owe you a big apology.
The Eisch glasses were interesting. Because we had two – the one with Sensis Plus and the classic glass – we spent some time comparing them. I found that the SensisPlus glass made a noticeable difference. On the Sojourn, I was able to distinguish the layers of the wine – truffle, blackberries, liquorice, but I struggled with finding balance in the blend. With the Groom, I thought the flavors definitely came through more – cocoa, currant, cherry.
I did find that my Riedel glassthat retails around the same price as the Eisch glass still remained the king of my household. The wines were brighter, had more complexity and layers. The earthiness of both wines was more muted and you were able to better taste the balance of the wines.
However, if you are still drinking out of your wedding crystal, I highly suggest grabbing either a Riedel or Eisch glass and conducting your own taste test. I won’t even ask that you thank me when you discover the difference.