“I, Winehog, take thee, Riedel/Zalto, to be my wedded stemware, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”
This is serious business … for the glass industry and for you personally, as changing the whole line-up of glasses each year is very expensive.
As promised, I have updated my stemware choices, covering my current and recent choice of glasses for work and pleasure. This update promises not to be overly technical. Or should I say, not to be overtly technical!
The stems of choice
I have the following preferred stems in the house – ones that I have used for some years – and several of which date from the early 1990s:
- Zalto Universal
- Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru
- Riedel Vinum Champagne Cuvée Prestige Champagne
My standard glass is Zalto Universal, and this works very well for me for most wines – aside from red Burgundies. I use these stems all the time.
That said it is somewhat on the analytical side, with a slight bias toward showing acidity and the mineral component in a wine.
The Riedel Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru is my main red Burgundy glass, and it will serve (well) for all good pinot. It is flawless in my view, as it doesn’t have any strong tendencies, aside from a small issue with lesser wines, which can almost disappear in the cup. It is not overtly analytical, and has a sufficient focus on the hedonistic side of things.
The Riedel Vinum Champagne glass is my standard sparkling-wine stem. In reality, I would prefer the Riedel Sommelier Vintage Champagne, but this is not financially viable – at least not now.
- Riedel Vinum Bourgogne
- Riedel Vinum Chardonnay
These are rarely used reserve stems I get out for for hedonistic purposes or larger tastings. Neither is ideal, but they are nice and forgiving.
- Zalto Burgundy
From time to time I use the Zalto Burgundy stem, but only for a specific purpose, as this is a very analytical stem which focuses too much on detail and too little on the hedonistic picture. The main issue with the Zalto stems is actually finding the weight of the components hence also if the holistic balance is good,
This is not a good stem for pure pleasure, and I often wonder why this got so popular – although it has some purposes as a tool for wine tasters.
To be honest, either of the Riedels mentioned above deliver more holistic pleasure – and for most drinkers this is what it is about.
Choosing stems to help illuminate errors in a wine is for, most tasters, a waste of time.
Three to five stems for the Winehog
There are many stems one could choose, but if I had to choose three it would be the following:
- Zalto Universal
- Riedel Sommeliers Burgundy Grand Cru
- Riedel Sommeliers Vintage Champagne
For white Burgundies I prefer the Zalto Universal as a safe bet. But the Riedel Vinum stems mentioned above can be used.
I do feel that German Rieslings (in Zalto Universal) and rosé wines (in Riedel Burgundy stems) show well in the stems above. However a big Bordeaux can be better enjoyed in the Riedel Sommelier Bordeaux Grand Cru or the Riedel Vinum Bordeaux stem.
That’s it (for now)!