If you are a wine lover, a collector, or even a sommelier, you know that exquisite wines must also have the right conditions such as temperature and aeration to release all its notes and flavors. There is more to be discovered when it comes to wines. The wine glass that you pour your wine into matters more than anything else. Depending on the materials, textures, and angles, a wine glass can affect the taste of your favorite wine.
What if the perfect wine glass exists and what are its secrets?
Today we are taking you on a wine wonderland journey, where we will explore the most hyped subject in the wine industry: Zalto wine glasses.
What are Zalto Wine Glasses?
Zalto is an Austrian company and family that has worked as a leading artisan glassmaker for six generations. Their mouth-blown glasses and quality raw materials are now famous worldwide, making professional sommeliers praise these products.
The Zalto wine glasses captured the attention of leading wine specialists, renowned chefs, and established sommeliers around the world.
The Denk’Art series are high-end wine crystal glasses that are so thin that they melt into any décor. The craftsmanship and excellence breathe through these wine glasses, as they provide a new and improved way of enjoying wine worldwide. The ultra-thin bowls and feather-light stems make these Zalto wine glasses genuinely unique. That is because they are made to remove any barrier between you and the wine. This implies that you have no rim around the glass, and the thinness of it allows the wine to not be altered in terms of taste and flavor.
Where and How are Zalto Wine Glasses Made?
The Zalto wine glasses are all mouth-blown and handmade in Neunagelberg, Austria. The Denk’Art series began with Father Hans Denk, a renowned priest that had an amazing palate for wine. His tremendous help in terms of wine comprehension, combined with the craftmanship and know-how of the Zalto family, resulted in a series of innovative stemware collection that has come close to perfection.
These wine glasses that so many sommeliers have come to appreciate are made individually, one at a time. This is, in part, what is special about them. Each bowl is mouthblown into a mold, then the stem and the base are shaped and combined. The bowl becomes an ultra-thin sheet of glass with no rim, perfectly cut and shaped. The three pieces are then put together by the glassmaker.
Here is an impressive video on how it’s made:
The Zalto wine glasses also obey very strict rules when it comes to angles. They are designed to follow the tilt angles of the Earth. Each Zalto glass bowl is tilted at 24, 48 and 72 degrees. This technique was applied to pots and storage containers by the ancient Romans, as they believed it will keep the food content fresher for longer. It was also believed these angles could improve the taste.
Zalto’s high-end wine glasses make the wine reach its potential by combining all the wine knowledge with precision execution and artisanship.
Taste for perfection
The less contact the wine has with the glass, the less it can interfere with its aromas and notes, so Zalto took this idea and turned it into a masterpiece. Zalto wine glasses are so thin that they almost disappear in your hand. In fact, they are the thinnest on the market. However, they are still flexible, almost elastic, but robust and sturdy enough to be dishwasher safe.
The crystal goes through multiple heating and cooling cycles during the making process, so the thin glass is very resilient and imperfection-free. Despite their feather-thin look, they are breakage-resistant because they are all made with a continuous pulled crystal piece.
How to Clean and Care for Zalto Wine Glasses?
The manufacturer recommends washing your Zalto wine glasses in the dishwasher. Yes, you heard that right! They are strong enough to be washed in the dishwasher. However, you should avoid washing your crystal glasses with other dishes.
Handwashing might cause torque and pressure to the glass, and that can cause breakage and even injury. In other words, don’t try to handwash your Zalto wine glasses. Just put them in your dishwasher and pay attention to these important details:
- Make sure you leave enough space between the glasses and secure them in place, so they can’t move around and bump into each other.
- Use a minimum quantity of dishwasher detergent to avoid any residue or buildup.
- Don’t use a hot steam cycle after the washing cycle.
- After the washing cycle is over, open the door to let the steam out.
- Don’t use a dryer cycle.
- You can polish them with a microfiber cloth or cotton dish towel, but don’t apply too much pressure and torque to the glass during this process.
What are the best crystal wine glasses?
Now, we’ve talked about Zalto crystal wine glasses, as they are the main subject of this article. However, when you buy a high-end wine glass, you want to make sure it is ticking all the boxes. What does that mean? It means there are a few things you need to pay attention to before making a permanent buying decision. As high-end glasses usually come at a higher price, we consider this a long-term investment when it comes to wine tasting and savoring. That is why it is crucial to keep in mind some important aspects.
There are many types of glasses, but generally, the opening affects the aromas and how you perceive them. There is a type of glass that goes with every kind of wine, but generally, if the opening is too small, it will hide all the wine’s aroma. You want a larger opening so you could bring the fruitiness forward and let the air flood the wine, mellowing and softening the wine
Shape & Size
When we are talking about a universal wine crystal glass, we want it to have enough volume to collect and deliver all aromas. There is a shape for every type of wine on the market. Whether you want to enjoy red, white, dessert wines, or champagne, there is a glass for everything. Why? Because different shapes and sizes contribute to the smell and taste of your wines. Some of them bring out the acidity. Some are mellowing it down. Some have a decanting function, allowing oxygen to get in and release all the aroma and fruity notes that wines have.
If you are not looking to invest in a wine glass collection, you might be interested in universal glasses. These types of glasses are made for tastings, and you can pair them with any kind of wine. If you decide to go with a universal glass, our advice is to invest in a great-quality glass that will not only allow you to take your wine tastings to the next level but will also last through time.
When choosing a crystal wine glass, less is more. At least when it comes to the lip’s thickness. You want to minimize the contact between the glass surface and the wine, so you can enable the taste, flavors, and aromas to land directly into your mouth without any interference. Look for wine glasses such as Zalto’s Denk’Art series. These are very thin but still elastic, and they don’t have any rims around the bowl top.
Another tip is to look for mouth-blown wine glasses. Although they are more expensive, they are more qualitative, and the rim is always thinner, as an artisan can better control the process and perfect it along the way.
We always prefer the ones that are mouthblown and handmade as opposed to a machine-made product. The built quality is higher, and the finishing details are the ones that truly shine through in a handmade wine glass. For a luxurious experience and a high-end wine glass, pay attention to seams and bowl clarity. Usually, the handmade ones are clearer and better in terms of quality, as they are individually checked and perfected into a finished product rather than mass-made. That is also the reason why they are more expensive than others.
Although in this article we are only tackling crystal wine glasses, this needs to be mentioned. “All crystal is glass, but not all glass is crystal”. Maybe you have heard this saying somewhere, and it is true.
Crystal is a glass that contains between 2 and 30% of minerals. That strengthens it and gives it some other great benefits. In the case of Zalto’s Denk’Art series, their crystal glasses are lead-free, which is always a great thing. Crystal glass allows the manufacturer or artisan to create a much thinner, shinier, and durable product.
Regular glass doesn’t have all these qualities, so it needs to be thicker to ensure durability. However, depending on the mineral used in the making, your wine glass could not be dishwasher safe due to porosity. However, Zalto wine glasses are all dishwasher safe, so no need to worry if you pick one for yourself.
Styles of Wine Glasses
Let’s get back to Zalto’s Denk’Art series. We mentioned there are multiple types of glasses for different wines. Let’s compare and review some of them, so you can choose the best one that suits your needs.
Dimensions: 9.4″ height, 18 ounces
Varietal: Chardonnay Unoaked/Viognier, Riesling, Sangiovese/Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, Tempranillo
As the name suggests, this is a glass that can be used for various wines, not just a specific assortment. We like the fact that you can use this glass for red, white, rose, and even sparkling wines. This glass performs best with robust and flavorful wines, as the design brings the fruity flavors forward. It also allows optimum aeration due to the large bowl and the way that it is constructed. With this glass, you could taste, smell, and feel all the wine’s aromas, as well as enjoy an authentic wine tasting experience due to its thinness.
This universal glass is sized in between a Chardonnay and a smaller red wine glass, which makes it the most versatile option if you don’t want to purchase and store a variety of wine glasses. Enjoy your Chardonnays, Chiantis, and Rieslings, and uncover all their flavors and aromas.
Dimensions: 9.44″ height, 23 oz liquid capacity
Type: Red Wine
Varietal: Cabernet/Merlot, Sangiovese/Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Tempranillo, Bordeaux, Rioja, Brunello, Merlot, Shiraz
This red wine glass is made to be used for wines full of character, young or mature. This is the traditional red wine glass that unlocks all the aromas and unique flavors of red wines. Having a larger bowl and more height creates enough distance between the wine and the drinker. In turn, this causes the ethanol to dissipate and allows more oxygen to get inside and soften the tannins. Considering that Bordeaux is usually higher in alcohol and tannin, this glass will enable you to perceive the wine as soft and aromatic.
Zalto Bordeaux wine glasses can create complexity even in inexpensive wines due to their construction and craftsmanship.
Dimensions: 11 inches in height
Type: Red wine
Varietal: Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Chardonnay, Gruener Veltliner and Cognac
This beautifully designed wine glass is perfect for enjoying your classical Pinot Noir on a summer evening. Zalto Burgundy glasses are designed for powerful and expressive wines that are above 13% alcohol. Perfumed wines like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo work best with this glass, as the large bowl and tapered top allow the wine to aerate and bring out the fruitiness and sweetness of your wine.
This pompous wine glass helps soften the concentrated wines and bring a balanced taste to your palate. Overall, it pulls more details in the wine versus the classic Bordeaux glass.
Dimensions: 9 1/2 inches in height, 7.4 oz.
Varietal: Champagne, Sparkling Wines, Prosecco, Spumante and Cava.
Who doesn’t love champagne glasses? Can we all agree that you simply cannot pour champagne into a regular wine glass? We think that special occasions need special glasses such as Zalto Champagne glasses.
This glass is all about the bubbles. Its narrow design keeps the fruits aromas focused and the effervescence fresh for longer. Besides, this gorgeous design is a showstopper. The clean lines, the perfectly engineered proportions, the feather-light feeling when you swirl it, and the elegant look will charm anyone who holds it.
Dimensions: 9 inches in height, 13 ½ oz.
Type: White Wine
Varietal: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Chablis, young Semillon, Chenin, unoaked Godello, Muskateller, Frizzante, Sangiovese, St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch
This is your classic white wine glass. You can pair it with any white wine of your choice, except for weightier or aged whites Chardonnays. These last ones are better to be savored in a Universal or Chardonnay Glass.
Zalto White wine glasses perform best with young and fresh wines due to its narrower rim that concentrates the aromatic wines’ nose. The smaller size helps keep your white wine colder for longer. The elegant and fruit-forward white wines are perfect for this glass.
Dimensions: 9 1/8inches in height, 12 oz.
Type: Dessert/Fortified wines
Varietal: Sauternes/Barsac, TBA, Ice Wine, noble, late harvest, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon
The dessert wines are a category of sweet wines meant to be enjoyed with desserts: cakes, pies, and other sweet pastries, ice cream, and more. These are all emphasizing the smooth texture and rich aromas of the sweet wines.
This glass is perfect for the sweet and fortified wines, which can be higher in alcohol. The smaller bowl reduces alcohol evaporation and brings the rich aroma to the forefront. It is also great for mature wines.
What is the best brand of wine glasses?
There are a few brands of high-end crystal wine glasses on the market. How do you choose between two or more exceptionally made glasses? We wish we had a straightforward answer to that question.
First, you need to make sure the quality between brands is at the same level. We mentioned a few key points that you should look for before purchasing a premium quality wine glass.
Second, when it comes to premium crystal glasses, browsing this luxury category usually means that you are ready for an investment. Look for something that you can hold on to for a long time. Look for specifications, but most importantly, reviews.
Finally, always read the instructions when it comes to caring for and cleaning your glassware. We cannot stress this enough. You would be surprised how many people ended up breaking their wine glasses due to a lack of attention. For example, many people wash their delicate and fragile crystal wine glasses by hand, applying pressure and torque, eventually breaking them. If the manufacturer recommends you put them into the dishwasher, that is the reason why.
Comparing two of the most exquisite wine glasses
We compared two similar wine glasses, both in the most expensive wine glasses category. For a fair and square comparison, both are universal wine glasses. In terms of price, they are also similarly placed at the top of their categories. So, let’s see what differences we can spot, and which one is better.
Zalto Universal Wine Glass VS. Gabriel Glas Gold Edition
Gabriel Glas comes in two selections. The StandArt is machine molded, a bit heavier in hand, and has a rim around the top. Then, there is this one – Gabriel Glas Gold Edition, which is substantially improved and mouthblown.
Gabriel Glas is made in Salzburg, Austria. It all started with Gabriel Rene Gabriel, which is a former wine critic. He wanted to design the ideal tasting wine glass; hence, this Gold Edition wine glass is universal, just like Zalto’s. The Gabriel Glas gold edition is slightly shorter than Zalto’s Universal glass, but the bowl is a bit wider. This allows for more aeration and decanting of the wine. The volume capacity is also smaller.
The rest of the details are almost the same, except that Zalto’s Universal Glass has a thinner stem, and it appears to apply to the rim too. However, we are comparing to the equally beautiful and exquisite crystal wine glasses. In fact, these are two of the most expensive wine glasses on the market.
That being said, it all comes down to preference. While Zalto uses specific tilt angles to balance aromas and acidity, Gabriel Glas sticks to the basics: a wider, V-shaped bowl equals more aeration and aroma release. Both glasses are top-notch, and you can’t go wrong choosing either one of them.
Do you need Zalto wine glasses?
Even though good quality glasses like these will make even the cheapest wines taste good, they are not a necessity. Let’s face it: you will probably damage them if you are planning to use them daily. Yes, a universal glass like this one can be used with any type of wine, but when you spend that much on a single glass, you might want to think twice before purchasing it.
However, if your wines cost at least $30 and above, maybe it is time to invest in a glass that would bring out the exquisite taste in your wines. We love these glasses for aromatic wines and those that have something special.
If you are willing to invest in mouth-blown crystal wine glasses, make sure they are lead-free.
Always follow the instructions for cleaning them, as you don’t want to end up with broken glass and an injury!
A high price doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to get the best product. Always read the reviews and try to find expert opinions to make sure you are choosing the best product for your needs, especially when it comes to high-end wine glasses.