Georg Riedel, the Austrian glassmaker known for his high-end stemware designed for specific wine types, has released new glasses for Tempranillo, Spain's principal grape variety.
Tempranillo dominates the wines of the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions; it's also used in many other Spanish appellations and in Portugal. Although Riedel carries an extensive inventory of glasses designed for most of the world's major grapes and wine-producing regions, the company had not yet specifically tackled Spain.
To develop the glasses, Riedel held three major tasting workshops in 1997 and 1998, at which it became apparent that Tempranillo presented some of the same challenges that Syrah did when he developed glasses for that versatile variety. The younger, less tannic and more floral types of Tempranillo wines showed differently than the more tannic wines aged in oak, such as Gran Reservas from Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
The first two workshops involved prominent Spanish vintners such as Pablo Alvarez of Vega Sicilia and Alejandro Fernandez of Pesquera. Working off the general shape of Riedel's wide-bottomed and narrow-mouthed Hermitage glass, they concluded that a smaller size better displayed young Tempranillo's aromatic qualities, while a larger glass better highlighted the flavors and finish of the tannic, oak-aged Reservas.
Glasses were then developed and tested, and a third workshop, which included influential winemaking consultant Michel Rolland of Bordeaux, came up with a double solution: Riedel would produce a smaller Vinum Tempranillo glass for the younger wines and a larger Sommeliers Tinto Reserva glass for the oak-aged wines. (The company devised a similar solution for its Syrah glasses, coming up with a Sommeliers Hermitage glass for Rhtne wines and a Vinum Shiraz glass for Australian bottlings.)
The Vinum line is machine-made, while the Sommeliers line is hand-blown; both are made with lead crystal. The Vinum Tempranillo glass (9 1/4 inches high, 14 1/8 ounces) retails for $25. The Sommeliers Tinto Reserva (9 3/4 inches high, 21 7/8 ounces) sells for $79.
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