By Rick Riozza

The presentation of wine is as important as what is actually in the bottle. The way it’s poured, the way it’s served, what it’s served in, is just as significant as what you are serving. Well—that’s the mantra for the Riedel glassware company that produces an incredible line-up of distinguished beverage glasses.

Wine definitely has its fanfare…and it can be as much fun as you wish to push the envelope when it comes to presentation. And when it comes to stemware, the shape and style of the wine glass that is holding the nectar of the gods can grab your attention forth with! Truly it causes one to drink first with their eyes.

For those who have ever browsed the aisles of a wine store are probably familiar with the brand name Riedel, the Austrian glassware company who have designed all types of glassware to enhance the flavor component of different wine styles and individual varietal wines; add to that, vessels for spirits, beer, and even for different types of water. And actually, most people find the number of glass designs to be overwhelming!


And when it comes to pronouncing the company name, Austrians, purists, sticklers and the like want us Americans to say “Riedel” as if it rhymes with “needle”. Of course this Austrian stemware by any other name would still provide almost astonishing results.

We’ve covered the Riedel glassware previously, and now it’s time to circle around to bring attention to one of the latest designs that will add to your wine enjoyment: Champagnes and sparkling wine may well have it over most vino delights. It’s celebratory, festive, fun—it’s an immediate party in the glass, and, a grand accompaniment to great meals. So how can things improve on the wine of kings & queens? Well—Riedel has their designs on it!

Specifically designed to optimize the flavors and aromas of the world’s most finely crafted bubbly, the Riedel Performance Champagne Glass serves as the ultimate compliment to all things wonderful ($59/set of 2)

Riedel’s crystal Performance glasses get their pearly shine thanks to a special glassblowing technique that creates slight ridges in the bowl for a rippled, iridescent effect. Those ridges aren’t just for looks; they also increase the bowl’s inner surface area and make the wine taste better.

As you swirl your glass, the ridges agitate the wine and open it up to more oxygen, which brings out its flavors and aromas. The Riedel team thought of everything — even the sleek rim is cut by a laser to direct the wine to the correct part of your tongue for optimum taste. The Champagne glasses are wider in the middle than most flutes because Riedel finds that a narrower rim helps release Champagne’s aromas.

With three generations of research, development and experience in creating wine glasses, the Performance Champagne glass is lightweight, durable and dishwasher safe, Performance glasses are executed in sparkling crystal glass, and feature long fine stems and large stable bases. Performance’s unique optic impact not only adds a pleasing visual aspect to the bowl, but also increases the inner surface area, allowing the wine to open up and to fully show every aroma and subtle nuance.

This nonleaded crystal flute sparkles more under the light than regular glass, and its tulip shape is guaranteed preserved bubbles better than any other glass on the market. Of course, Riedel is confident it will add elegance to any celebration.

So okay—let’s try some bubbly in the glassware: Our sparkling contestants include a bona fide Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, and a California Sparkler. And we will compare them using a regular Champagne Flute and then the Riedel Performance Champagne glass:

2012 Champagne Henriot Rosé Vintage. This is a really delicious Rosé no matter what glass you’re using. But let’s take advantage of the Riedel. What one particularly notices are the bubbles which feel a bit firmer in the Riedel. Then we noticed a bit more pronounced flavors of bread dough and strawberry with a hint of lemon curd, cranberry and lime. The finish is dry and its flavors and acidity linger nicely in both glasses. Again, this is one, delicious Champagne! And the Riedel does give the experience a bump up.

Zonin Cuvee 1821 Brut Prosecco. This wine is clean and fresh, with focused, precise apple, pear and passion fruit aromas and flavors; lovely balance, purity and sneaky concentration on the long, clean finish. The Riedel glass definitely gives the wine brighter flavors.

Segura Viudas Brut Cava, clean and delicate, yet rich in flavor. This sparkling shows aromas of white fruits, citrus, tropical fruits, and light floral notes. The Riedel glass really brings out the fruit. One can really tell the difference between the two glasses.

Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L’Ermitage 2012. This is one of California’s best sparklers which taste great in both glasses. I think the Riedel brings out a bit more body and balance; and, it brings out brighter notes of ginger, spice, and Asian pear.

There’s no question that the Riedel Performance Champagne glassware is a hit. You bubbly fans will sooner or later be acquiring the set.

Apart from the Champagne glassware, for almost as many varietals there are in the world, Riedel probably has a specific glass for your wine. Check their vast portfolio: . Cheers!

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