September 27, 2020
Imagine a Beethoven symphony, played through your iPhone speaker. Now imagine hearing it front row at the New York Philharmonic. The music is beautiful in both cases, of course, but the experiences couldn’t be more different.
In the same way, some wines require attention and space to show their full potential. Serve a Vosne-Romanée in a plastic cup with a side of Doritos and it might not taste like much. But serve it with a roast chicken on a Sunday afternoon at a table set with candles and loved ones, and the same wine can be transcendent.
Today we’re pleased to introduce our newest tool for enjoying wines that reward contemplation: fine mouth-blown glassware.
Designed in Switzerland and crafted in Slovakia, Grassl Glass is a new stemware company of the highest degree. Their glasses have been adopted by top wineries around the world, including Jean-Marc Roulot, Etienne Sauzet, and Henri Boillot in Burgundy.
The glasses are the work of skilled craftsmen with decades of apprenticeship. Using sand specific to Slovakia, artisans produce lead-free glass that is less porous and more durable than other high end stemware. Their final product is almost weightless — an exquisitely delicate and refined instrument.
We admit a bit of skepticism before trying these out. We break a fair number of glasses during Owner’s Hours tastings in Newton, and the $5 Ikea stems we use have a decent shape and offer stress-free use. But we were astonished at the difference these glasses make. For us, they delivered in three primary ways:
Weight: At under 4 oz, these glasses weigh less than your average corkscrew. It feels less like holding a glass of wine, and more like holding the wine itself — an intimate experience between wine and drinker.
Aromatics: We don’t follow all the details about how the designers came to the shapes they did, but we will say one thing — they work. The aromas leap from these glasses. We performed hours of tests with the same wines side by side in Grassl and generic glasses, and the results were obvious.
Experience: The thing that impressed us most was also the hardest to pin down. Put simply, these glasses make you pause — their featherweight delicacy compels attention. Not every wine requires such contemplation, but for those that do, a tool like this is indispensable.
We’re offering three models:
Cru ($55): This is Grassl’s Burgundy glass. It’s got a wide ballon bowl designed to subtly aerate the wine. This is perfect for red Burgundy, but also works for white Burgundy, Condrieu, and Northern Rhône Syrah.
1855 ($55): This is Grassl’s Bordeaux glass. The bowl is deeper and taller, designed to aerate richer wines with more body and higher alcohol. It’s ideal for Bordeaux and Southern Rhône blends.
Liberté ($50) This makes an excellent all purpose red/white glass — it showed all of the wines we tried well. It’s at its best with white wines, particularly Burgundy and Loire.
We’re offering introductory pricing on the Cru and 1855 — $99 for a pair — through the end of October. All stemware ships for free in the US.