The breathable stemware is something that both the wine-savy aficionado and the wine novice can use and appreciate.
Enjoying wine means more than just sipping and savoring. To truly take pleasure in a glass of wine involves both social and cultural demands. While sometimes this so-called nectar of the gods represents a romantic candlelit dinner at Il Gabbiano or a night at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, it often represents relaxation or winding down at the end of the work day with a perfectly balanced glass. After a harried day at the office, having to endure a long wait so that a bottle of fine wine can be decanted is nothing short of torturous.
For the past five years, Eisch Glaskultur, a Germanbased glass company, has been developing a new “breathable glass” that can open up even the most closed wines, regardless of age, vine, region, or year. It was first presented to the public at the Robert M. Parker Wine Advocate Festival in 2004 at the Culinary Institute of America in California, and has since been hailed as “a real contribution to the enjoyment of wine” by Master of Wine and Master Sommelier Ronn Wiegand. “I was, of course, skeptical at first of the claim that [Eisch breathable glasses] softened wine and enhanced their characteristics within just a few minutes,” he says. “But I have found that they actually do.” Wiegand, who has been named one of the best wine tasters in the world, tried nearly 30 different types of wine in the breathable glasses and found that in almost every case, the wines-red, white, or rosé, light or full-tasted better in the breathable glasses versus regular stemware.
“Our ‘breathable glass’ products have revolutionized the experience of pouring and enjoying a glass of fine wine,” says Eberhard Eisch, president of Eisch Glaskultur. “A wine poured into one of our wine glasses will within two to four minutes show signs of aeration equivalent to a wine that has been decanted and aerated for one to two hours.”
Of course, since Eisch is the first to create this amazing Ripley’s-worthy glass, the company has decided to keep the formula a secret. “It’s magic,” says Alan Zalayet, president of export for Eisch Glaskultur. However, they did let us in on the breathable glass’s two most unique qualities. First, the shape of each glass has been specially designed to accentuate the character of the wine it holds. Secondly, and more importantly, each of these high quality, lead-free crystal glasses undergoes a special proprietary oxygenizing treatment, giving the glasses their extraordinary “Breathable” feature. “This is a fully natural process that takes place within the wine itself, leaving the original character and structure of the wine intact and its aroma and palate more open and generous,” says Eberhard.
Of course, the glass cannot perform miracles. It cannot turn water into wine nor can it turn a bad wine into a good one. Just as the glass enhances the taste and aromas of a good wine, it does so for the bad aromas as well; the slightest taste of cork in the wine will be highly palpable in an Eisch glass.
The breathable stemware is something that both the wine-savy aficionado and the wine novice can use and appreciate. It is dishwasher-safe and can be found at Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as at select high-end tableware retailers for $19 to $27 per stem. “I don’t think it’s going to make the Mouton ’89 taste better than the ’88,” says David Bernand, a trained sommelier. “The wine just opens up faster in the Eisch.”