What's in a glass? Austrian Glass Maker designs a Glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir
22 May 2015 - COWA
Austrian Riedel Crystal, widely recognised as the world’s leading wine glass producer, has unveiled a striking stemmed glass designed specifically to emphasise the attributes of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
The glass was shown to winemakers, retailers and restaurant operators at an official unveiling and tasting at the Queenstown Hilton Hotel yesterday (May 21).
Riedel’s Australasian managing director Mark Baulderstone said the glass will be marketed worldwide as the Central Otago Pinot Noir Glass and is the only glass in the Riedel range to carry a regional name.
Local winemakers are hailing the release of the glass as a major coup for the wine industry in the region and a recognition of Central Otago’s commitment to producing quality wine.
Central Otago pioneer winemaker Alan Brady said that the fact that the glass will be known as the ‘Central Otago Pinot Noir glass’ has “huge significance” for the region.
"It says that Riedel, the company which developed the art of designing glasses for specific varietals, believes our Pinot Noir deserves to be showcased in its own glass.
"Not only does this glass enhance our wines but it looks great and is delightful to hold. Every good restaurant in the region should be proud to have it on their tables," he said.
"The comparative tasting showed the subtle difference that glass shape and size have on the way wine tastes and feels in the mouth.
“With each of the four Central Otago wines we tasted 'our' glass was favoured by the majority of those in the room. For me it had a harmonising effect on the wine which none of the other Pinot glasses achieved."
Two years ago Georg J Riedel, the tenth generation head of the 250 year old family company, led a workshop in Queenstown to demonstrate how different sized and shaped glasses influence the way wines taste.
Two glasses at that tasting stood out and were considered to be highly suitable for Central Otago Pinot Noir. However Mr Riedel believed that with fine tuning a more refined glass could be produced to compliment the local wine.
He took his ideas back to the Riedel design team and after two years of work and the development of six prototypes at a cost of nearly $500.000, the “perfect” Central Otago Pinot Glass has been created.
With a large bowl and an elegant tulip lip it is a marriage of the best features of the two favoured glasses at the 2013 workshop.
At the Hilton Hotel yesterday wines were tasted in five different Riedel glasses and a strong consensus found the new glass was the one which best showcased the unique qualities of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
The glass is expected to be available from wineries and retail outlets shortly.
Georg Riedel has taken the 250 year old Riedel company to the top of the wine glass world by designing individual glasses to enhance the aromas and flavours of specific wine varieties and styles.
Time magazine wrote: “The Riedel family have contributed more to the delight of wine lovers in the past 50 years than almost any winemaking dynasty.”
The company produces a range of glasses of different shapes and diameters for varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir which are used throughout the world.
Georg Riedel says the right glass “enhances the experience” of drinking wine.
“It controls the flow of wine to the palate in a spectacular way. The wine doesn’t become better – it tastes better.”