Riedel - An Instrument of Pleasure

Riedel Glasses Shaped for Specific Grape Varieties

Riedel is a  family-owned Austrian glassmaker with a 250 year history. Maximillian Josef Riedel (above) is in charge of the American operation, and he is the 11th generation Riedel to be involved with the business.

Riedel started producing crystal wine glasses shaped for the specific grape varieties in the seventies. The shape is to enhance the "message" of the wine, its bouquet and flavour, hence your pleasure.

Do the shapes make such a difference? Being fairly credulous by nature, maybe I'm not the best to judge, but in refined wine circles the glasses are very highly regarded. My instinct is, much like decent tea deserves English bone china, fine wine deserves fine glassware. Actually, I dare say standard plonk is likely improved in a decent glass. It certainly makes the opening of a bottle of wine more of a ceremony when you pull out a couple of Riedel's enormous Vinum XL Pinot Noir glasses. The size of the vessel and the clarity of the crystal glass really lets you see the colour and depth.

As always with these things, you don't go back to drinking out of plastic beakers. I'm slowly building up my range.

What to Use for Brown Ale?

I wonder what would be the best shaped glass for a bottle of brown ale? Manns Brown Ale is a favourite of mine, the first of the second flourish of British brown ales that came out in the 19th century. Now brewed by Marstons. Is the dimpled half pint mug I've been using all wrong? Maybe I'll get young Mrs Tweed to ask Maximillian. In the meantime, suggestions welcome.

Riedel Factory in Austria

Riedel's factory is based in Kufstein, Austria, where you can see the hand-blowing techniques to produce the glassware at first hand. There's nothing finer than watching things being crafted. Marvellous.

The voice on this video sounds like Ken Nordine. It isn't, but it reminds me we'll have to do a feature on the word jazzer. 


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