I used to think that all the hype (expense) around different crystal wine glasses was bogus. Years ago I sat down in a small family restaurant outside of Naples and was served delicious wine in a small juice glass. Good enough for them, good enough for me, so for years it didn’t bother me to drink wine out of anything available. One day I came across an old gift card for Williams Sonoma from when we got married. Hit the store out of pure curiosity and low and behold they carry wine glasses! Lots and lots of nice wine glasses. It was time to put ‘em to the test.
After doing some research, I ended up buying a couple different bordeaux glasses. 3 Schott Zwiezel Fortisimos, simply because I liked the shape, and a single Riedel Vinum. I was having a party soon, so I went and grabbed super cheap crystal glasses from Pier 1. Came home and popped a young cab and poured it in each glass, and I have to say I wasn’t prepared at all for what came next. Compared to the Riedel the same wine from the other two glasses tasted flat and tight. The wine absolutely sang out of that riedel glass, and I was instantly a true believer. I returned the Schott Zwiezel and replaced them with as many Riedel Vinums as I could afford (thought I ended up also buying one large Cru Classic Bordeaux glass from Schott Zwiezel. It resembled the Riedels in shape and also liked that it wouldn’t break as easily).
At this point I love drinking out of my Riedels, though I think I’m down to 2 from my previous 4 (ouch). They break so damn easily it’s amazing. I try and put my money into wine and not glasses, so it’s become quite unnerving when I dean a wine good enough for a Riedel glass. I’m actually scared of getting too tipsy and setting it down too hard (that’s how one broke, the other was knocked over on a table and shattered)
The Schott Zwiezel has taken a few licks and hasn’t broke. It’s still not as amazing to drink out of as the Riedel, but certainly better than anything else in the house, and has quickly become my standard glass. For a birthday party I rented the restaurant equivalent of the Vinums (they were slightly heavier, not as easy to break) from Riedel and they were pretty comparable. I still managed to break a bunch of them, but hey, it wouldn’t be a party without a few broken glasses.