Showing posts with label Riedel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Riedel. Show all posts

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Riedel at the Grainstore. The Glass that Surprises

Riedel at the Grainstore
The Glass that Surprises
A rather special decanter.
Maximilian Riedel, representing the 11th generation of the Austrian glass-making firm, says Riedel are always up for a challenge. He was speaking during last Thursday’s comparative wine tasting event in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe House.

And Maximilian found a new challenge during his brief visit to East Cork. He enjoyed a tour of the local Irish Distillers facility. He was very impressed with the whiskey and told us in Ballymaloe that his new goal is to develop “the perfect glass for Irish whiskey”.

And taking up challenges is not new to the famous glass-makers (founded 1756) who lost almost everything during the war. But not their glass-making skills and not their love of it. They also loved their wine, still do, and eventually they became known as the makers of the varietal wine glass. So far, they have covered the main varietals but only ten per cent of the total!

But did you know they also make a glass for Coca Cola? Max told us how his father took up the challenge when a man from Atlanta came calling. “Why Coca Cola? We like to be challenged!” Working with a company who employ over “one million people worldwide” was just such a challenge. And they came up with a  glass that satisfied both them and Coca Cola and it was included in the Grainstore tasting.
Calm before the Riedel
He also indicated that the glass is very suitable indeed for your Cuba Libre cocktail! Actually, while the wine glasses are varietal specific, they are versatile enough to suit related varieties. For instance, glass #1 in the tasting was New World Pinot Noir (6449/67). But Max said it was “..the best champagne glass, full stop! Try it, you’ll be surprised”. Maybe not so surprising when you think that Pinot Noir is one of the champagne grapes. It is also suitable for Nebbiolo.

And it was with #1 that we started. Like #3, it holds a full bottle. But we weren't that greedy! The Pinot Noir glass has a “flare” at the top and this has helped reduce the acidity and so improve the whole experience. Beautiful aromas from the dedicated glass, reduced in #2 (for Old World Syrah) and further reduced in #3 (Cabernet).

“It is below room temperature, because I like it that way! Very well balanced, fresh, fruit, long, sweet and smooth… in #2 we are losing the fruit…. if we drink it from #3, people won't like Pinot Noir, it is heavier, drier, bitter…. the wrong glass could turn people off..” A further demo, using Lindt white chocolate, again showed a big contrast between #1 (good) and #3 (bad).

The Pinot Noir by the way was from Oregon. Wine #2 for glass #2 was a French Syrah (St Joseph 2013). In the proper glass, the Syrah showed a beautiful nose and then fruit, minerality, acidity, pepper, a beautiful structure and great aftertaste”. In #3, the message was diluted “aromas not bad, but not as intense….extreme spice and tannins on the palate..and where did the fruit go?” With Number 1 glass, he remarked: “a perfectly made wine in the wrong glass”.

 Max, and Riedel generally, do have a sense of humour and it showed again with his next demo, again with the Syrah but now in a plastic cup. “The nose is gone, lost….but not as bad as the wrong Riedel glass!”

“Bourdeau, toujour Bordeaux,” he remarked as he poured the third wine, a special treat: St Estephe 2009, into #3 glass. “... depth, structure, enough acidity, very elegant, dark berries, all in the right glass. In Number 1, it was no way close, fruit down...bitter and! Number 2 was worse again, “less fruit, more alcohol and bone dry”. And he showed the engineered pattern of the flow from the various glasses and it is this pattern that causes some of the variations.

Riedel didn't have any at Thursday’s demo but they also have a range of stemless glasses, the range invented by none other than Max himself. “The stem has no influence on the wine.” And then we were into the Coca Cola demo. That glass was developed with the help of the American company's Twenty Noses, their travelling tasters.

And again, the Riedel glass came up trumps: “You can almost see the secret Coca Cola formula here, the various fruits, a little cinnamon.... In the plastic cup, it goes flat faster, gets warmer faster, no aromas, more acidity.” The glass itself is very thin. “The thinner the glass, the longer it stays cool,” said Max.

The wines
By the way, he got no arguments all evening, all around me seemed to be agreeing, both during and after. And I have been a Riedel convert for a while now.

The wines, from Mitchell & Son:
1 - Dundee Hills Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2012
2 - Yves Cuilleron Les Pierres Séches Saint Joseph 2013
3- Chateau Ormes de Pez Saint Estèphe 2009

The wine glasses, all from the Riedel Veritas range:
1 - New World Pinot Noir, 6449/67
2- Old World Syrah, 6449/41
3 - Cabernet, 6449/0
The reference for the Coca Cola glass is 0414/21. Check them all out here. Mitchell’s are also the Irish agents for Riedel and you may see their glass selection here.

The next wine event in Ballymaloe is also a gem and features a dinner this Wednesday (18th) with Manuel Lozano of the famous Sherry producer, Bodegas Lustau. Full details here.
Max with plastic!
Strictly for demonstration purposes!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Margaux and Riedel

Margaux and Riedel

Charmes de Kirwan, Margaux 2010, 13%, €31.00 Maison du Vin de Margaux.

Thought this Kirwan would be just the one to baptise the new Riedel glasses and indeed, it proved a very compatible pairing indeed.

It may well be the second wine of the estate but it is a very drinkable classic and “one to watch” according to the 2014 Hugh Johnson handbook.

The dark fruit aromas were highlighted by the Riedel. On the palate, the fruit (plum, cherry mainly) is upfront in a very well balanced wine. Tannins in evidence but not in major way and you’ll also notice the characteristic freshness of the Cabernet Franc. Second wine, yes, but a first class drop and Very Highly Recommended.

Cabernet Franc makes up 23% of the blend and the other grapes are Petit Verdot (12%), Merlot (25), and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%).

La Reserve d’Angulet, Margaux 2009, 13.5%, €20.00 Maison du Vin de Margaux.

Continued the Margaux-Riedel combination with this gem, the second wine of the Angulet estate. Like the Kirwan above, it is made from the fruit of younger vines. The blend in this case is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.

The Sichel family, the owners of Angulet, say it “offers the best quality for price in the entire Margaux appellation”. A bold statement indeed but I think there’s more than a tannin of truth in it. Oz Clarke reckons the last ten years or so have seen it get better and better while Hugh Johnson says it is stylish and good value. 

Delicious red fruit aromas rise from this one which has a dark opaque colour. Superb fruit, some spice too, as the wine, with its rounded supple structure, washes gently across the palate, the pleasant sensations carrying right on through a long finalé. Very Highly Recommended.

I think you can take it that I am now, after taking part in a few demonstrations, the most recent last month at Ballymaloe, a Riedel convert. I’ve no doubt but that they enhance the wine. The glass used for the two wines here is the Riedel Restaurant Cabernet Merlot 446/0, recommended for Margot in particular and for Bordeaux in general; the recommendation details: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Fronsac, Graves rouge, Listrac, Medoc, Moulis, Pauillac, Pessac Leognan rouge, Pomerol, St Estephe, and St Julien.
Great glass too for Port. Just don’t pour too much in!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Riedel A Winner At Ballymaloe. Can’t Beat A Proper Glass.

Riedel A Winner At Ballymaloe
Can’t Beat A Proper Glass.

We are in the Grainstore at Ballymaloe and sampling various wines in glasses made by Riedel, “the Rolls Royce of glassware”, according to our guide John Hinckley, UK based Business Manager with the company. He takes us on quite a drive!

Glassmakers since 1700, things looked grim for Walter Riedel and his family when he returned to Austria in 1955 after imprisonment in Russia. Their home and factories had been confiscated by the  Czechoslovakians.  But help was at hand. The Swarovski family, close friends of the Riedels, offered Walter and his son Claus Josef a new start in Kufstein, where they took over a glassworks and started producing mouth-blown products in 1956.

Later they started work on wine glasses and, in 1973, introduced the hand-made Sommelier range, the first varietal specific glassware. Other ranges have been added in the meantime - they even make one for Coca Cola and John had it with him in Ballymaloe. 

‘Look at the glasses,’ he said. They're so light, yet so well balanced they never rock." But the sceptics were wondering would one variety really do better in one glass than in another. The doubters soon had their answer in their own hands. It is a glass made especially for Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. We had a classic New Zealand Sauvignon poured into this narrow glass with a tallish “chimney”. 
The Framingham 2014 was instantly recognisable, the freshness unreal and “its distinct fresh taste” helped massively by being in this glass, marked B on our card. Then we poured it into glass A, a big bowl of a thing, and that beautiful aroma had vanished, the fruit smells, so strong in B, were marked absent in A. B was built to emphasise the fruit.

But ugly duckling A  would soon have its day! “It may be the least elegant of our glasses but also possibly the most important glass in our repertoire." Soon it was loaded with a 1er Cru from Burgundy, Ladoix’s Les Grecians 2012.

John: “This is the finest example of its kind, the finest mouthfeel, unique, ripe grapes, a serious wine and needs to be treated accordingly. This is the perfect glass for it”. So we sniffed and sipped and were inclined to agree. Then we poured it into B and that made John’s point for him. You just wouldn't recognise it as the same wine! There was quite a rush to return it to A and soon the happy oohs and aahs were heard again.

Then it was the turn of glass C , specifically for Pinot Noir, the glass quite similar, but with a taller chimney than A. “This wine is not for watching TV,” said John, in between sniffs. “You need to concentrate on it with food.”  And glass C will help do just that, get the best from the wine. We poured it into A. Here the aromas were not great, the elegance had more or less vanished and there was an over emphasis on the acidity. So quickly back to C. 

Dinner at Ballymaloe, Beef Cheek on top!
I guess you could say John and Riedel were winning here and that trend continued with glass D and a gorgeous Chateau Milles Rozes (Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon) from the upper Medoc. A big wine, big flavours, rich, with tannins. John advised pouring just about 100 ml into the 800 ml glass, the better to appreciate the qualities of the wine. 

And then he brought out his decanters, well two of them. And we were now able to compare the wine poured from the bottle against the sample that had been decanted. In a straw poll, it was agreed that the decanted wine produced even better aromas and flavours.

So now, you have to go out and buy glasses and decanters! And it doesn't stop with still wine glasses. They also make glassware for sparkling wines and for many types of spirits but find it difficult to come up with one for spirits with mixers. And of course we all sampled the Coca Cola glass but not the Nespresso glasses. No, not a misprint. They make two glasses for the coffee.

You may read the whole story at Riedel and see the full range. Glasses are on sale locally at Ballymaloe and at Brown Thomas. And if you didn't make it to the Grainstore, there are a number of Riedel videos on You Tube.

Breakfast at Ballymaloe, with a very local buttery treat!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Brown Thomas Launch Food Emporium

Brown Thomas Food Emporium
Birgitta Curtin
Cork’s Brown Thomas  launched their Food Emporium with music, wine and, of course, food in the store last evening. And it turned out to be a very enjoyable occasion.

Cheese producers were there in force. Great to meet, however briefly, Padraig O’Farrell of CarrigalineCheese  but we’ll see him again next week on their open day. Also there were Cooleeney,  Durrus and Gubbeen, the latter with their cheese and impressive Cheese Oatcakes.

Arun Kapil
Got a glass of wine on the way in and was soon comparing it in various glasses under guidance from Martin Turner of Riedel, in town especially for the event. The proper glass sure makes a difference – you can take that from an ex-sceptic! And the experience was repeated later with a lovely Pinot Noir (innocent Bystander) from Ballymaloe Wines , who have been in the Emporium for the past few months.

Ballymaloe  indeed strongly supported the event last evening and there was a sweet finish with their pastry chef JR Ryall  providing us with some gorgeous chocolate truffles to match with the dessert wine.  
But before that we had some great tastings. The Castlemartyr Resort even had a menu of good things to try and there was no shortage of volunteers. Tom Durcan, delighted with his Gold at the Blas as the weekend, had his corned and spiced beef on show.

Met Burren Smokehouse's Birgitta Curtin again, after the Blas Awards in Dingle, and this time got to taste her glorious smoked salmon. There too was Arun from Green Saffron  dishing out a perfect Chicken Korma. By the way, look out for his new Spice Blends and those luxurious Cook-in Sauces, so easy, so good.
It is a busy time too for Timoleague’s Anthony Creswell of Ummera Smokehouse. He smokes salmon, duck, bacon and chicken, all terrific and regulars on menus on top restaurants, now at the Emporium and also available online. And then we had Una’s Pies, a really top product as her regular awards at Blas Na hEireann underline. Una is also a regular at Mahon Point Farmers Market.
And from the kingdom itself came Sam of Cloudberry Bakery who make artisan cakes and desserts - anything from colourful cake pops and cupcakes to show-stopping wedding cakes. Cloudberry was a  Blas winner in 2012. So pop into the Emporium and treat yourself.

Very good but better in Riedel
We were very well treated last night – even got my pic taken with Rachel Allen – and there was a bonus of a goodie bag on exit. Well done to the folks at Brown Thomas and best of luck for the Christmas season.
Sweet finish!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Tempranillo grapes

with a couple of Reservas

As you may know from a post earlier this week, I bought myself some Riedel glasses in town on Saturday. They were marked down from 25 to 15 euro. Needed something decent for the first use and so I settled on two recent acquisitions, both from Spain. The christening party went well!


This is made from the fruits of 60 year old vines, has been aged for 18 months in oak and has then spent two years in the bottle. Well worth the wait.

Colour is close to black and there are aromas of dark fruit (plums, cherries). First impressions in the mouth are of fruit, spice and acidity. Warm wavelets of concentrated fruit slip and slide around the mouth and then the wine is slow to go, as if sorry to do so. And you are sorry to feel it fade away.


Picked up this lovely award winner at half price in my local O’Donovan’s. Colour is of dark cherry and the nose is of dark fruits and hints of pepper. It is fruity, spicy and dry on the palate. The fruits, black and red, feature as does the spice, in a complex multi-layered mouthful which lingers as it leaves.

More on the wine here

Spanish aging terms:
CrianzaTotal stored 24 months, at least 6 months in oak
ReservaTotal stored 36 months, at least 12 months in oak
Gran ReservaTotal stored 60 months, at least 24 months in oak