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Zalto Denk Art: Zero-Gravity, Hand-Crafted Stemware



In general we are not a store that fetishes over glassware - good glasses can certainly improve the expression of a wine, but for us, well, the truth is in the bottle, not the glass.

These glasses, however, are on a different level.

This is glass-blowing as an art form. These glasses are so delicate, so fine, they feel as if they are zero-gravity, as if they would float upward if you let them go. The angles are clean, precise.

They are most definitely sensual - the razor sharp edges of the glass, the needle-fine stem. These are glasses you basically can't help but fall in love with once you've held them.

Yet they are not fragile - Zalto in fact recommends that you put them in the dishwasher as opposed to washing by hand. Because the glasses are blown in one piece, from the bowl down to the base of the stem, they are stronger than conventional glasses, which are usually "connected" at the top of the stem. That point, where the stem meets the bowl, is the weak point - it's also where the force goes when a glass falls over, or when you're washing something by hand. In our experience, that accounts for the great, great majority of breakage.

These are not only extraordinarily delicate, they are extraordinarily strong.

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Zalto is an Austrian company, though the family is originally from Venice, settling in Austria some six generations ago. While they may not have the widespread name recognition of a Riedel, they still represent an Austrian glassmaking dynasty. Every single glass is hand-crafted and hand-blown in the northern part of Lower Austria (Neunagelberg to be exact). Production is tiny, as you would expect given the hand-crafted nature of every glass.

See below for pictures, descriptions and pricing.
 

Champagne Glass
Price: $58.95
The traditional flute, designed by Kurt Zalto. The signature angles of the bowls are based on the “triumvirate of angles” at which the Earth tilts: 24, 48 and 72 degrees. Maybe this is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but these are the same angles that the Romans found were ideal for shaping their amphora. In any event, the glasses show off sparkling wines with unprecedented depth and clarity though, for aged Champagnes, we would personally recommend using the "White" or "Universal" glass.

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Universal Glass
Price: $58.95

This is our favorite glass; called the "Universal" because it can be used for reds and whites. When you travel through Germany, it is incredible how many producers use this glass for Riesling - there might not be a better glass out there. We use it for Burgundy and older Champagnes as well. We'll snag a line from movie advertisements: "If you buy only one Zalto glass this year, buy this glass."

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White Glass
Price: $56.95
For the complete glassware arsenal, this should be considered. It does seem to make the fruit more vibrant with white varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, etc.

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Burgundy Glass
Price: $62.95
This is perhaps the most exotic glass in the Zalto Denk Art Series. The ultra-wide bowl maximizes the exposed surface area of the wine. It is to be used with the greatest Burgundies in your cellar, though all reds will show beautifully in this glass, including Nebbiolo, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, etc.

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Bordeaux Glass
Price: $62.95
Perfectly suited to accentuate Bordeaux and other sturdy reds.

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