Captivated by Riedel Veritas: New World Pinot Noir Perfection
When in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, home to America’s complex, balanced and elegant Pinot Noirs, Riedel’s Vinum Oregon Pinot Noir glass is everywhere. Tasting around the valley’s 300 plus wineries is full-on proof that we Oregonian’s love our Pinots to be poured into Riedel stemware. I have countless photos of green rolling hills dotted with rows and rows of vines behind a Riedel Vinum Pinot glass graced with some of Oregon’s finest Pinots. From world-renowned producers like Domaine Drouhin and Adelsheim to Oregon’s best-kept secrets like Vidon and Iota, Oregon’s vintners are proud to pour the fruit of their labor into the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass – designed to specifically highlight the beloved attributes of the wine that brought recognition and fame to the Willamette Valley.
Even Pinot fanatics who have traveled from around the globe to attend the annual prestigious IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) in McMinnville, Oregon, will experience the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass – it’s the official glass of the three day event where the dreams of Pinot enthusiasts do, indeed, come true. I love you Riedel Vinum, and I always will. But have a seat in the back, because the Riedel Veritas New World Pinot Noir glass is here, and it has staked its claim to riding shotgun.
I am an admitted wine glass snob, as noted in an article I wrote several years ago, “I Am a Wine Glass Snob,” where I conducted a side by side tasting using what I called the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: a Riedel Vinum Oregon Pinot Noir glass (good), a restaurant quality no-brand glass (bad), and a festival freebie (ugly). I had done similar tastings for friends and employees during the time that I owned my wine bar, and each and every time converting non-believers into believers was simple- the taste and mouthfeel of the same wine coming from different stemware was solid proof that a high quality glass enhances the wine drinking experience. The particular tasting I wrote about for my article took place for several reasons, but mainly because catching my own mother drinking a superb wine from an old festival freebie glass nearly spun me out of control. I had to teach her a lesson, and the best way to do that was to show her how the shape and quality of a wine glass absolutely makes a difference. My mother was clearly astonished by the results, and I smile each time I see her sipping from her favorite Riedel stemware. To this day, I encourage others to try this experiment at home.
There was a time where I really fell head over heels for the Zalto Denk ‘Art Burgundy glass, a mouth-blown, handcrafted, utopian wine glass that is pure bliss. Unfortunately, its stem split in half while I was very carefully washing it by hand. A joyful Chablis tasting ended with broken Zalto heartbreak. Zalto’s are light as a feather and feel amazingly elegant in the hand, and they deliver a beautiful wine experience with each and every sip. Much to my dismay, my Zalto broke after having it in my possession for just two months. At just about the same time, a good friend (also a wine writer), lost her Zalto to the dishwasher. It’s a sad fact, mouth-blown lead crystal stemware is dreamy on the palate but dreary on the wallet (and eventually the heart).
So in comes Veritas, the new varietal specific beauty from Riedel. It looks and acts a whole lot like the Riedel Vinum Oregon Pinot Noir glass, except the stem and rim are slimmer, polished and more opulent. Although it’s 15 percent taller than the Vinum, it’s 25 percent lighter – the most important element of all. Its feather-light elegance very much resembles the feel of the Zalto mouth-blown handcrafted glass, so it delivers a similar blissful wine drinking experience. Even though the Riedel Veritas is machine-blown (which gives it product consistency), it delivers a refined experience much like the Zalto, and two Veritas New World Pinot Noir glasses are about the same price as one Zalto Burgundy glass.
10th generation glassmaker (pretty impressive), Georg Riedel, says this about the latest Riedel collection, “Veritas combines the charm of a handmade glass with the consistent accuracy only a machine made glass can achieve.” I couldn’t agree more.
The shape and quality crystal are what makes the experience with Riedel so incredibly perfect for Oregon’s Pinot Noirs. The large bowl that rises into a tulip shape allows the alcohol to escape while keeping the fruity, earthy, minerally components in the bowl – a good whiff vividly showcases the varietal’s natural aromas and essences, alluring wine enthusiasts in while boosting the experience. As I sampled three spectacular wines in the Veritas stemware from Oregon’s highly acclaimed JK Carriere Wines, 2011 Blanc de Noir Willamette Valley Sparkling Wine, 2012 Lucidité Willamette Valley Chardonnay and 2012 Vespidae Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, I knew with the very first sip of each wine that the Veritas New World Pinot Noir glass was absolutely the perfect glass; not only for the Pinot Noir, but for the Chardonnay and Sparkling Wine, as well. My wine drinking experience was without a doubt, enhanced because of the glass’s shape, light as a feather elegance, and slimmed stem and rim. The natural characteristics of the varietals gleamed, and each sip of each wine was deliciously exquisite.
I love that with the Veritas series of glasses, there’s an Old World and a New World design offered for both Syrah and Pinot Noir. Other varietal specific glasses include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling and Viogner. By the way: Riedel – it rhymes with “needle.”
*The Riedel Veritas wine glasses were sent to me for review purposes, and I’m very thankful. Many great wines will line the walls of these stellar glasses.