We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new signature stemware collection, designed in-house in collaboration with expert sommeliers, winemakers and chefs. With a unique bowl shape designed specifically to concentrate the aromas of distinct varietals — such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon — and are versatile enough for serious wine collectors and novices alike.
Each piece is hand blown of clear, lead-free glass by master glass blowers in Turkey, where people have been shaping molten glass since the 16th century. (Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how they do it.) Some standout features of the glasses are the long stems, which look elegant and make the glasses easier to hold; and the round bowls, which enhance the tasting experience by releasing more pure fruit flavors and aromas. Both the bowl and stem are blown from a single piece of glass, so there’s no brittle join at the base of the bowl to break from the stem.
We sent samples of the stemware to Caroline Styne, co-owner and wine director at the Los Angeles restaurants Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern and The Larder at Maple Drive. Read our Q&A below to learn her favorite features, pairing recommendations and more.
The beauty of this stemware is that there is a glass that works for every variety.
This may be my favorite Champagne flute of all time. Of course, I love their tall elegant shape, and the fact that they seem to enhance the stream of bubbles from the base of the glass to the rim, making the wine ultra-sparkly. But they are also shaped in a way that directs the champagne directly onto the perfect spot on the palate, the place mid-way to the back of the tongue where the fruit, tannin, mineral and acid all come together.
I’m really impressed with the Sauvignon Blanc glass. It’s a small glass that packs a big punch. I find that it is ideal for traditionally made, old world wines, like those of Sancerre, Quincy and Bordeaux. These wines are elegant, flinty and restrained. The small bowl and narrow shape of the W-S Sauvignon Blanc glass serves to contain and focus the citrus and mineral aromatics in the wine, while also directing it squarely onto the palate allowing for optimal expression of the variety. I found that this glass works well with other high-acid white varieties like Pinot Gris, Riesling and other Italian whites.
The Chardonnay glass, with its wider opening and shorter bowl, allows for the aromatics of the Chardonnay to open up and the fruit and mineral qualities of the wine to come through on the palate. I actually did a side-by-side comparison of a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay served in this glass and that of another brand and found that the W-S Chardonnay glass allowed for more of the citrus and stone fruit notes to come through, while the other glass emphasized the wine’s less-desirable oak and secondary qualities. I then used this glass to serve a really special bottle of Corton-Charlemagne, Grand Cru, and was thrilled how it showed off the wine’s best qualities.
The Cabernet glass is particularly grand and regal in design. Grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec are well served by its wide bowl and high straight sides. The glass has a generous opening that facilitates the development of the wine’s aromatics, allowing the dark fruit notes in the wine to come forward while also softening the wine’s density and tannins. This glass is particularly useful for wines that need aeration, as its open stance and overall volume funnel air into the wine very effectively. The W-S Bordeaux glass is like a mini decanter!
The Pinot Noir glass is as elegant as the wines for which it is made. The glass has a broad bowl that allows the wine’s aromas and fruit notes to develop, while its gently tapering sides serve to contain the varietal’s vital acidity and brightness. I found that with Pinot Noir, the glass was able to accentuate the red fruit and perfume notes in the wine, while maintaining the wine’s structure to keep the wine lively and bright. I also recommend using this glass for Grenache-based wines, as the variety really benefits from glass’ ability to focus acidity onto the palate.
The Grand Cru glass is the ultimate in wine luxury! This is the ideal glass for older vintage Burgundy and is a must for the serious wine collector. It has an oversized bowl and broad swoop at the lip that allows for aeration of wines that need time to open. This glass is ideal for delicate grape varieties like Pinot Noir that become deeper and more complex with age. This glass is really special and truly the Grand Dame of the glass collection.
Which W-S Stemware glass do you think you’d use the most and why?
I think that I would most often use the Burgundy glass, as I drink a good amount of Pinot Noir, as well as other high-acid wines, and the glass was so effective at channeling the wine’s acidity and high-toned fruit notes.
How do the glasses feel? How does their design enhance the flavor of the wine?
A wine glass needs to be attractive and functional. There is no doubt that these glasses are gorgeous! The trick is finding a glass that does the wine justice. A wine glass should enhance the wine’s aromatics, while also directing it to the perfect spot on the tongue. The W-S Stemware strikes just the right balance between form and function. It is obvious that a lot of time and research went into the design of the glasses and their appropriate use for each wine variety. Each of these glasses is really effective in enhancing the aromatics while also funneling the wine to the ideal spot on the palate. On a purely visual level, the glasses are impressive and elegant and can work seamlessly in both a modern and traditional settings.
Which glasses would you recommend for the home cook/entertainer?
My first recommendation would be to purchase the entire set of glasses! If I had to limit the recommendation to just a few, then I would recommend purchasing the Champagne flutes, Pinot Noir and Cabernet glasses. These larger glasses, though really meant for red wines, also accommodate white wines very well and can cover a lot of ground for the home cook.
See how the glasses are made in the video below: