Which wine glasses are the cool kids coveting these days?
It's the incredibly elegant stemware from Zalto, a boutique glassware maker from Austria. Like Riedel's Sommelier Series, Zalto stemware features an ultra-thin rim that makes drinking wine a pleasure. They're also extremely light — and tough enough that you can put them in the dishwasher, something I appreciate after so many mornings spent washing — and drying — a couple dozen wine glasses by hand.
Thomas Keller is using them at the French Laundry and Per Se. They're on tables at Eleven Madison Park, Bouley and Le Bernadin, too. Even Robert Parker has given Zalto an enthusiastic quote.
Sommeliers are crazy about Zalto glasses. But the quote I love best comes from Michele Smith, wine director of Brooklyn Fare, "The stem is like a stiletto heel." In other words, sexy.
I actually own one Zalto glass, a present from a friend who broke one of my Riedels. I've since come to appreciate its exquisite balance. I don't worry so much that it's going to topple over.
Read up on the glassware on Zalto's website and the discussion can get a bit arcane: "The curve of the bowls are tilted at the angles of 24°, 48° and 72°, which are in accordance to the tilt angles of the Earth. The ancient Romans utilized this triumvirate of angles with their supply repositories, finding that produce stayed fresh for a longer time, and that it also showed improved taste. Due to these cosmic parallels, we believe that a wine can reach its utmost potential in a Denk`Art (the official name of the line) glass, developing everything that is possible in the nose as well as on palate, due to these cosmic parallels."
The line is relatively small, encompassing half a dozen glasses -- one shape each for Champagne, white wine, Bordeaux, Burgundy and dessert wines. There's also a beer glass and a water glass as well as "universal," meant for pretty much anything.