Zalto glasses: so what's the angle?

Just as we get used to the idea that there is an ideal wine glass foreach grape variety along comes a producer who suggests the enjoyment isall in the angle of the glass.

The other night I want to a wine dinner at the house of Neville and Sonia Blech of Bacchus & Comus which featured a range called Denk' Art from an Austrian producer called Zalto which are mouth-blown (unfortunate expression but that’s what it says in the brochure) and lead-free which means that they can be washed in a dishwasher without going cloudy.

Their main USP though is their unusual shape which is based on a Roman amphora and utilises three angles that represent the angle of the earth to the sun - 24 48 and 72. Zalto claims this ancient design makes the wine taste fresher which would be hard to determine without comparing it with the same wine in different glasses. More persuasive is that the unusual width of the bowl at the point of the curve allows for the optimum surface space for a particular style of wine.

Of the glasses we tried I was most impressed by the Bordeaux glass which showed off a modest and still youthful Bordeaux, Chateau de la Ligne 2005, served in magnum, to perfection. The same wine was completely lost when I poured it into the Zalto Burgundy glass though that was perfect for a full-bodied Villa de Corulon 2000 Bierzo from Descendentes de J. Palacios.

I was less taken by the effect of the white wine glass on a seductive Grner Veltliner Rabenstein 2007 from Durnberg, a richly textured white that I felt would have showed better in a conventional white burgundy glass and by the champagne glass where I thought the angled bowl slightly flattened the mousse of a Pol Roger NV

To me the greatest appeal of the glasses lay in their touch. They were lovely to handle - featherlight, very fine-rimmed and curiously flexible apparently due to the fact that they are blown in one piece with only the base being attached at the end.

Compared to the Riedel Sommelier range they’re very reasonably priced at between £23 (for the sweet wine and port glasses) to £27.50 for the Bordeaux and Burgundy glasses. (Riedel’s Bordeaux and Burgundy glasses are £90 each) You can buy them from Wine behind the Label which arranges dispatch straight from the factory and Around Wine.


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