French sculptor Etienne Meneau unveiled the two latest carafes in his series of “Strange Carafes.” “No. 5” and “No. 6” build on a theme established by carafes one through four. Standing 65 cm (or a little over two feet) tall, these delicate glass figures fork to evoke a strange likeness to branches, roots and veins. Filled with a bold red vintage, the carafe’s visual effect is stunning. The branching glass suggests swollen veins and flowing blood. Looking like an intricate and almost sinister piece of laboratory equipment, the carafes have a remarkably futuristic and clinical look. The same glass that makes these carafes is most famous for its use in beakers and test tubes.
However, they simultaneously suggest a more natural inspiration. Calling to mind the vines that first bore the grapes that made the wine, the branching decanters remind the viewer of the process of wine making and the famous fields in Meneau’s native France.
Practical they are not. Though they each hold one standard bottle of wine, to clean them after they have so elegantly displayed their contents is to flirt with impossibility. The borosilicate glass, known for its temperature regulating properties, does however make them highly durable.
Wine experts are in constant debate over the merits of decanting wine. Some argue the aeration smoothes tannins, some argue that oxidation breaks down the quality of more delicate wines. Here the issue is somewhat moot. After the initial aeration of pouring, the wine really cannot breathe as the carafes expose little surface area to the air.
Only eight pieces of each edition have been produced and they are expected to sell between 2,000 and 5,000 Euros.