New Wine Accessories
From pourers connected to high-potential glasses,
new objects transform the experience of serving and tasting
by Emilie Veillon
January 3, 2021
For centuries, consuming wine was limited to a natural cellar that was not too humid, a corkscrew and a container. An ox horn, a silver cup, a syrup glass, a small glass from the Vaud region or numerous models of stemmed glasses, of varying quality, right down to the prestigious tint of the crystal. But in the last ten years or so, the wine market has seen the appearance of a host of accessories that accompany the conservation, serving and tasting of wine. For example, we remember the launch of more or less useful gadgets, such as the bottle stopper pump, the decanter, the non-drip pourer... Or more recently: the tempered cabinets that allow the optimal maturation of wines, thanks to a constant temperature, protection against light, neutral odor and ideal air humidity.
"This evolution can be explained by the democratization of wine," analyses Jean-Marc Quarin, independent critic of Bordeaux wines. We talk more and more about everything that revolves around its consumption, its purchases, its service, its tasting. As evidenced by the abundance of specialized books in bookstores, offers of wine tourism or amateur clubs. There is therefore logically a market to be taken for the development of products that accompany the wine experience".
In this anthology, glass is one of the most explored sectors. "Shapes, colors, sizes, they follow the trends of the art of the table. Some have been developed by the wine umbrella associations to best correspond to regional specificities. In particular, there are glasses on the market for wines from the Rhône, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace," confirms Jérôme Aké Béda, sommelier and maître d'hôtel at the Auberge de l'Onde in Saint-Saphorin.
According to him, however, current custom no longer imposes strict usage. Rather, it is the typology of the glass that plays a role. The roundness and airy silhouette of the burgundy glass is recommended for tasting a young wine that needs to be opened: the larger the oxidation surface of the wine, the more airy it becomes when served. "Chasselas can even be served in a large glass. Champagne is no longer recommended in narrow flutes. The big houses have developed glasses of the large white wine glass type, slightly curved, with a point at the bottom that allows the bubble to be exacerbated," says the sommelier.
Perceiving the flavors
We now know that the quality of the glass determines the tasting, hence the importance of the technicality of the containers. Brands such as Zalto, Riedel or Spiegelau explore, among other things, the finesse of the stem or rim, in the idea that the less the glass fills the lips, the more one is able to perceive the flavors. In this sense, *Royal Glass, a newcomer to the market, has made a name for itself in the landscape of French-speaking Switzerland's wine lovers with its range of universal glasses distributed at certain wine shops between Geneva and Lausanne. Launched in 2017, the collection, available in three glass sizes, required fifteen years of research in psychosensory analysis and bioenergetics conducted by architect, designer and taster Jean Pierre Lagneau and wine expert Laurent Vialette.
"The aim was to create a glass capable of expressing the energy potential of all wines from all terroirs with the same ease and in a rigorously authentic way, so that the taster can simultaneously perceive the fruit and the faithful expression of the terroir from which the wine comes. Technically, we worked with a barium crystal, because it is free of heavy metals such as lead, providing an unequalled vitalizing field and a remarkable harmonic coherence. But the prices are meant to be affordable in the idea of democratizing access", Laurent Vialette develops.
According to him, glass is a tool that has long been underestimated and confined to decorative and marketing dimensions. He wanted to find a versatile glass, which treats the sensations in the mouth as well as those of the nose, able to accompany the evolution of the tasting ritual. "We are now in a search for emotion and authenticity that goes hand in hand with food. We don't cook an organic chicken raised and bought directly from the farm in the same way as an organic chicken raised in battery cages and sold by the hundreds in supermarkets. It is the same for the wine of a small producer whose story we know."
The success of natural or biodynamic wines expresses precisely the desire to drink with an awareness of all the expressions of a terroir. Consumers are interested in the notion of living wine and understand that criteria such as a suitable glass, the best temperature and the right preparation help to highlight its originality, the spirit of the place where it was produced and the message that the winemaker wants to convey.
Another recent technical breakthrough is the preservation system developed by the American company Coravin, which aims to consume wine without actually opening the bottle, so as not to alter its contents. The thin hollow needle of the device, similar to a large electric corkscrew, pierces the capsule and the cork to access the beverage. The bottle is then lightly pressurized with the addition of argon, an inert gas. The pressurization thus allows the wine to go up in the needle to be poured into a glass without ever letting oxygen penetrate. Once the needle is removed, the cork is instantly tightened. The idea is therefore to serve a glass, as many times as desired, over several months without altering the qualities of the wine.
One of the models is connected via Bluetooth to an application designed as a virtual cellar that lists the wines tasted, provides information on estates, grape varieties, food pairings, but also music and even films to be associated with the tasting. "I don't like the gesture of pricking the bottles, and even less do I like to imagine them half empty in the cellar. It's not my style or my philosophy, but I find that many customers appreciate it to multiply experiences or to drink little but well. And of course, it's interesting for bars and restaurants that want to serve fine wines by the glass," says Laurent Vialette.
Seeing a bottle pierced in this way fascinates and disturbs at the same time. This American technological breakthrough revolutionizes the relationship with the bottle, which is opened like this just for one glass, then two, but desacralizes a gesture that has been ingrained for centuries: that of choosing a bottle well, opening it and drinking it to love.
*Meindersma carries Royal Glass, go to: https://www.meindersmaworld.com/shop?Collection=Royal+Glass
English translation of the original article: https://www.letemps.ch/lifestyle/nouveaux-accessoires-vin