A few emails back I mentioned Martin Turner, our man from Riedel, and it was he who somehow persuaded me the stock their newest range, called Winewings. I say persuaded because it was only when he told that he'd just returned from one of the big wine or food shows that Riedel attend and that there had been a very strong reaction to it, that I agreed to put it in our range. So, as you may have already guessed, I also had a strong reaction to it.
It was a year or so ago when we got an invite from Maximilian (Riedel), who regularly invites his customers to a posh hotel in London where he has a large room stuffed full of their new lines. We get posh coffee, posh biscuits and if we're lucky, get taken out afterwards to a posh restaurant for posh nosh. Maximilian is a very precise man, and a wine lover, clearly, he speaks perfect English with a charming Austrian accent and in his immaculate dark blue suit and bright red tie, is also a consummate salesman. It is quite clear, after meeting him for only a few moments, that he loves what does and what Riedel produce and that of course is infectious. However, on seeing Winewings for the first time, even his salesmanship didn't do the trick. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or just shudder in quiet disgust. He told us that it was Georg, his father's, design but as Georg wasn't present I resisted making any comment. He went on to say the shape was very much the fashion at present (and it's true LSA have something similar, as I believe Schott do as well) but to my eye this didn't take away from the god awful look. To my unfashionable eye, I fear, it looked like the glass blower had had an accident, or maybe one too many at lunch time.
For a slightly more technical and less opinionated take on the bowl shape, what Andi had to say about them when they first arrived is at the bottom of the page.
However, having slated the range, Martin did convince me we should give it a try, which we did on the website and actually sold some, to my surprise. Then a couple of weeks ago he executed his "coup de grace" by telling me that on trying them out they had discovered that the wines actually tasted even better out of Winewings, than the more usual Vinum, Veritas and O bowls. "How could this be?" I asked. "Bigger bowls" was the reply. I needed more convincing and he very kindly he offered to send me some to try out....
So, I have tried them out and yes there is a difference. Am I sure it's a move in the right direction? My internal jury is still out on that one. My guess would be that the larger bowls will have a more profound effect on heavier New World reds, than on the relatively lower alcohol reds of Bordeaux that I drink.
In looks they are distinctive and I'm very aware that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. What makes one man shudder, engenders gasps of delight in another. So, if you are a young trendy thing, or an old trendy thing, or a somewhere in between trendy thing, you may just love the look of these glasses. One thing is for sure, they will change the flavour of your wine. If you're a Riedel owner already, you may find it hard to determine what the difference is, as I did. But if you're not, then you will have a treat in store, because you will find that your favourite tipple has just come alive, it will have gone from two dimensions to three....from being a good wine to drink, to being a wine that makes you think and savour smells and flavours that previously, just passed you by. You will have been introduced to wine drinking bliss in fact! And no, I exaggerate not.
And of course our guarantee continues to stand, so if you think I'm talking rubbish, or simply change your mind for any reason having bought them, then wash them up, dry them, put them back in the box and bring them back for a refund.
Unlike most Riedel glasses, these are sold individually and are equivalent to the Veritas in quality and fineness of stem. They are £29.50 per glass and for this weekend (as we are not open on Sundays, I'm extending the weekend to midnight Monday) I'm tempting you with 25% off when you buy four or more of any one glass in the Winewings range. Please use WINEWINGS25 if you are shopping on the website or tell us who you are, if shopping in Cobham or Reigate this Saturday or Monday.
I was going to talk to you a little more about some of the Dreamfarm products, that I missed out from last week's email. But I've really run out of time again and indeed you responded so well to that email, that several products sold out straight away, so I'll wait till they come back in (in a few days I believe) to say any more.
I hope you have a good and peaceful weekend
The collection as a whole is ‘perhaps not the most aesthetically beautiful but is striking in its design and is brutally functional, taking the wines aromas and flavours ‘on a flight”’, according to Maximilian Riedel. In my (not so) humble opinion "not the most aesthetically beautiful" has got to be the understatement of the year. The reaction among the staff here has been mixed, almost as polarised as to a certain yeast extract product on toast. It's a brave move away from the traditional "egg shape" that we are all used to.
I can understand the theory, the large, flat bottom of the bowl provides a huge surface area and since almost all wines benefit from decanting, a glass was created that would do a portion of the decanting within the glass itself.
The bowl then moves upwards in ripples rather than one long curve.
The top portion of the bowl acts as the varietal-specific conductor, concentrating the aromas and flavours and delivering them to the nose and palate, much the same as other Riedel glasses. Depending on the varietal, the distance and the depth of each ripple varies to match the structures, aromas and flavours of each wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon glass is angular, with only faint evidence of curves. The glass for Pinot Noir is robust, with rolling ripples up the glass. Riesling’s offering has a long bowl and a shorter stem.