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Stemware and Barware


Kanishka
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I'm decidedly on the fence about the stemless glasses that I've seen pop up. I know Tallula uses them, and like them for red wines more than for whites... anyone know of other restaurants that use them? I thought Sonoma did but wasn't sure, and I want to try them out a few more times before committing to buying a set.

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I'm on the side of the fence that doesn't have red wine stains all over the carpet because I don't keep knocking the stemware off the nightstand . . . er. . . table. The small ones are perfect for klutzes like me, even if they do look like juice glasses.

Edited by crackers
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I'm decidedly on the fence about the stemless glasses that I've seen pop up. I know Tallula uses them, and like them for red wines more than for whites... anyone know of other restaurants that use them? I thought Sonoma did but wasn't sure, and I want to try them out a few more times before committing to buying a set.

Sonoma didn't when I was there.

I think they look nice sitting on the table, but I prefer to look look like a wine geek and hold my glass by the stem, rather than cradling the bowl in my warm, meaty hands.

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I'm decidedly on the fence about the stemless glasses that I've seen pop up. I know Tallula uses them, and like them for red wines more than for whites... anyone know of other restaurants that use them? I thought Sonoma did but wasn't sure, and I want to try them out a few more times before committing to buying a set.

Having been taught to ALWAYS hold a glass by the stem to keep the wine from warming, I can't bring myself to use these glasses. Frankly, I was shocked when Riedel put them on the market. For a company that is supposedly the authority on stemware, the stemless glasses just seem like some kind of weird joke.

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I thought Sonoma did but wasn't sure, and I want to try them out a few more times before committing to buying a set.

I've never seen them at Sonoma, at lunch or dinner.

Edit: Oh fearless leader, if you're that bugged by triple spacing just get Invision to change the code - it'll be easier to do that than to get people to remember.

Edited by Hannah
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Having been taught to ALWAYS hold a glass by the stem to keep the wine from warming, I can't bring myself to use these glasses.  Frankly, I was shocked when Riedel put them on the market.  For a company that is supposedly the authority on stemware, the stemless glasses just seem like some kind of weird joke.

Yes, traditionally you should hold a wineglass by the stem...BUT remember that a wineglass should be only a quarter to a third full thus allowing room for your hands to be on the glass w/o warming its contents

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I hate them. I was given a pair for a birthday present. I used them for about a month, now I have put them back in the box. The glasses show off finger prints, and make the wine look murky, I also do not like the wide flat bottom of the glasses.

I have switched over to Tritan Titanium glasses. They are far more resilent than either Reidel or Spiegelau, and if I do not feel like hand washing them, they are dishwasher safe.

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They make dandy glasses for water, but for wine, as others have noted above they get fingerprints that interfere with the visual appreciation of the liquid, and they contribute to the faux pas of wrong temperature. For these reasons, I concur with JPW and MDT, they suck ventworm nuts!

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"Unbreakable" is not meant to be a challenge, but (limp-wristed?) journalists fail to break samples. No indication of Richard Benjamin sci-fi reunion at unveiling.

Link: Mikasa "Open Up" stemware unveiled.

Link: Kwarx material.

Interesting looking glasses and also interesting that they are designed to "open up" young wines. Does anyone have any idea of the cost?

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Interesting. But frankly, I've had great luck with breaking stemware. Only 1 or 2 lost in 5+ years.

I don't know how you manage that. I broke a Spag a couple of days ago while drying it. I also have a tendancy to break all the "fancy" glasses my wife buys for me from time to time.

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I don't know how you manage that. I broke a Spag a couple of days ago while drying it. I also have a tendancy to break all the "fancy" glasses my wife buys for me from time to time.
I assure you it is just blind luck, DW. But perhaps it is also because I rarely polish-dry the stems -- usually only when we're hosting guests for dinner or a tasting at our home. :)
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the most logical market - in my one-track mind - is for restaurants. in a small place like notti bianche, the glass cost/breakage is in the $1000s/year. unbreakable glassware would be a no-brainer for me. however, i am not inclined to sacrifice quality for durablility. when these glasses hit stateside, i will give them a very hard look.

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I don't know how you manage that. I broke a Spag a couple of days ago while drying it. I also have a tendancy to break all the "fancy" glasses my wife buys for me from time to time.
I swear that most of my Riedel's have broken simply because they did not like the way someone looked at them. With a few exceptions, I have begun to replace all of my broken stems with Tritans. They are not as light or as thin as the Riedel Sommeliers or even the Vinums, but as much as I have abused them I have not broken one yet.

The one main exception is my Champagne glasses which I have never broken a single Riedel stem.

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Interesting. But frankly, I've had great luck with breaking stemware. Only 1 or 2 lost in 5+ years.

If you are using Reidel Sommeliers this is impossible-unless you use them once a year or less. Knowing the value of a $60 glass causes me to take an incredible amount of caution and patience with a glass. Still, even with the softest, most considerate touch a glass is broken from time to time. It is actually quite distressing when I think that I might start with 16 Reidel Sommelier bordeaux and burgundy glasses and, three years later, have eight left. Unfortunately it is not eight of one kind but a mix.

The number that I invite to dinner parties is now dictated by the number of available wine glasses I have!

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If you are using Reidel Sommeliers this is impossible-unless you use them once a year or less. Knowing the value of a $60 glass causes me to take an incredible amount of caution and patience with a glass. Still, even with the softest, most considerate touch a glass is broken from time to time. It is actually quite distressing when I think that I might start with 16 Reidel Sommelier bordeaux and burgundy glasses and, three years later, have eight left. Unfortunately it is not eight of one kind but a mix.

The number that I invite to dinner parties is now dictated by the number of available wine glasses I have!

JoeH...I only have two Somms and I use them frequently. However, I am told that if you look at one the wrong way, it'll crack and splinter right back at you.

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Hyper long-shot for everyone. I just got back from Switzerland and at several dinners we had wine glasses that had a line marking the correct pour amount. I of course made the quip that the Swiss were so precise that they should take advantage of that, like perhaps watchmaking (har har).

My girlfriend thought they were a hoot and I'm interested in finding them.

Any ideas?

Thanks

Nashman

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Fortessa is a wholesaler in Sterling which has a sale one or two days each month which is open to the public. They carry Schott Zweisel, IVV, Borioli (sp?) and several others at remarkable discounts. I have seen glasses there which had the pour lines. http://www.fortessa.com/ Click on "outlet store."

Edited by Joe H
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the logo on the Sette glasses have the line under the logo at the 5 oz pour line on their Riedel stemware.

i'm aware of some government requirments as to portion control....may be what was encountered.

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This past Saturday I had dinner at one of the best restaurants in the U. S.: Fore Street in Portland, Maine. Savuer had a cover article about the chef several years ago calling him the "greatest undiscovered chef in America." I think they were right. And Beard was too awarding him a regional award several years ago.

But this is not about their food. Or their chef. It is about the wine glass they use. I do not know the name but it is small. I would guess that a four ounce pour will fill half of it. Behind their bar they have Spieglau that appeared to have about a 25 ounce capacity. With my having sat at the bar for dinner I spent over an hour studying how many of these larger glasses were used: none.

I like to swirl. Especially when I am dining alone. It is very difficult to swirl in a shallow eight ounce glass. With dinner I ordered a bottle of wine that was about $45 and asked for one of the 25 ounce Spieglaus. The bartender, who I found to be friendly and extremely attentive, patiently explained that I could not have one of the larger glasses. They were only used for wines from their "reserve" collection which started about $150 a bottle. Whether I was spending $45 or $145 I could not have the much larger glass. I persisted explaining my "swirling" obsession and he held his ground noting that it had been their policy for years. I didn't want a confrontation so I told him I would "pay" five or ten dollars to be able to use the larger glass. He then softly told me he really couldn't. Someone might see that the bottle I was drinking from was not from the "reserve list."

I wanted to eat at Fore Street but I no longer wanted a bottle of wine. Or a glass of wine. I ordered a Diet Coke with my baked lobster appetizer and my three inch thick filet mignon of tuna entree. I ordered a second Diet Coke with the molten flourless chocolate cake dessert.

Fore Street is truly outstanding and worthy of whatever accolades that its chef has won. It is also enormously popular. I sat at the bar because I was told that on Saturdays they have a one month + wait for a reservation. Obviously, the size of a wine glass is a non issue at Fore Street in Portland, Maine.

But I won't go back. And, I don't think they sell many "reserve wines." Certainly they didn't sell a single one the night I was there. Looking around the bar I noticed that six of the 15 people seated there were drinking wine. By the glass. I wonder if more of them would have drank a glass (or two) if the glass had been bigger, if the wine service had been more "appropriate" or "realistic." As important as the margin on wine is to a restaurant I was shocked that I couldn't even "rent" a larger glass for ten dollars. Even that wasn't an option.

Anyway, for anyone that is in Portland, Maine and drinks Diet Coke, milk, coffee or water with their dinner I have a restaurant for you.

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Maybe the meaning of BYOW could be expanded--to "bring your own wineglass." I know what your complaint is--an expensive restaurant with fine dining ought to provide appropriate winestems, which is true. I also know that replacing broken wineglasses is a constant issue for restaurants-- and a huge expense. I can understand why a small place would only risk their pricey Spiegelaus or Riedels for a very expensive bottle. However, since the size/quality of the glass you drink wine from is very important to you, it might be worth an inquiry about the wineservice when you call for a reservation. And if you don't like what they tell you--say something like "I plan to order a bottle of wine from your list. But would you mind if I bring my own special glass from home to drink it in? It will make it so much more enjoyable for me." Restaurants get special requests all the time, and that one wouldn't require them to do anything differently--except wash one less glass. I'll bet they wouldn't say no to that.

I was just in Montreal, and went into a store in Old Town that just sold wine accoutrements--they had carrying cases for winestems-- to take good glasses to a tasting, I presume, but that could just as easily be taken to a restaurant. If a store has it, I'm sure it could be found online...

Just a thought.

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Interesting suggestion, Zora. I really like this place (cement floor, brick/stone walls, exposed wood beam ceiling, two open wood burning ovens, dressy casual-local analogy for ambience would be Landini Bros. in Old Town) but I guess wine service in Portland isn't as big of a deal as I might have expected. If I lived there I would carry my own glass (if they would allow it); it would be a pain to bring it on a multiple day, multiple city trip. But I do appreciate the suggestion.

...I love Montreal.

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I bring glasses (and decanters/funnels) when I'm going to a large BYO dinner at a place like Lavandou--we don't want to obtrude any more than we have to. And the Boston offline crowd often offlines at unlicensed Chinese places--if you don't bring glasses, you're drinking from plastic cocktail cups.

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Hmmm - don't know if walking in with my own stems would make me come across like Minnesota Fats...

A couple of weeks ago, I brought a non-foodie friend to David Craig in Bethesda (trying to support indies). We both enjoyed our meals and highly competent service from Pete (one of several Tabard Inn alums there).

I respect the risk and effort it takes to open a new restaurant. Hopefully, they're now generating some positive cashflow. If so, for the love of all that is good in this world, please invest some of it in appropriate stemware. Currently, all wine is served in the same stemware.

Had I known that, I probably wouldn't have ordered the Pinot (Sebastiani). My frustration with the probably-OK-for-chardonnay-glass was quickly tempered when my friend went nuts over her selection (2003 St. Francis “Old Vines” Zinfandel from Sonoma). Yup, even in their “starter” stemware.

Will go back but, like JoeH, I’ll made “smarter” wine choices.

ETA: This thread was originally entitled something like "the heartbreak of too small wineglassses" and my post was more on-topic. I think my wineglass frustration would have been aneurysm-inducing if I saw appropriate glasses out of reach and unused...

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Perhaps a restaurant owner could help me understand Joe's experience, because I cannot do it on my own. Restaurants are in the business of satisfying the customer. Dinner at a restaurant comprises an entire experience, from the time you make your reservation (or enter the door) to the time you pay your check and leave, otherwise you might as well eat at home. You go to "one of the best in the U.S." and the restaurant's representative says, in so many words, "We have two classes of people here--and you, my friend, are steerage." With so many "one of the best in the U.S." around, why would one ever want to go back to a restaurant, regardless of the quality of the food, where it is made painfully obvious that not all customers are treated equally; that a person who is paying for the experience is treated like crap? I can forgive mistakes in service, food, and wine, and am always willing to give a restaurant the benefit of doubt and a second chance. But deliberate affrontery seems a bit much. Am I being unrealistic (or naive)?

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Any number of restaurants keep a set of good glasses around for the heavy hitters, it's not surprising that they restrict access to the expensive stemwear on the principle that you don't want a glass broken when the glass cost more than the wine consumed from it, and that caring for these fragile monsters is a pain during a busy service.

What I found surprising is that they made an issue of it even after Joe asked. Seemed a little tacky to me.

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It also didn't seem as if the real issue was with withholding the Spielgau glasses, but more the woeful inadequecy of the "standard" glass they use. If the glass the wine was poured in wasn't so small I doubt the question of using the "good" glasses would have even come up...

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The bartender in this instance is clearly a crash dummy. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior.
I agree.

I have not yet gotten wine-geek enough to bring my own stems to a restaurant. I was once at a nice Pinot dinner on LBI, where some of the other folks attending brought stems for everyone (Riedel Sommelier Burgundy stems), which was wonderful. I just try to make sure the places I go to where I intend to enjoy a good bottle of wine (whether I am BYOWing or not) have decent stems.

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The bartender in this instance is clearly a crash dummy. There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior.

I agree, however, I would wager the bartender had no say in the decision and was simply forced to follow the policy set by the manager. There have always been issues about the front of the house at Fore Street.

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I can understand both points of view. I know as a Chef I will always try to accomodate a guest (Baring the ridiculous) and I think they should have at least come up with a larger glass for Joe. I am afraid I understand the restaurants viewas well, that if others see that someone is being allowed to drink from a "Reserved" glass that could start a stampede. It's happened to me while doing "Special" menus, someone will ask oh! can I have that and then get nasty when they find they cannot.

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I can understand both points of view. I know as a Chef I will always try to accomodate a guest (Baring the ridiculous) and I think they should have at least come up with a larger glass for Joe. I am afraid I understand the restaurants viewas well, that if others see that someone is being allowed to drink from a "Reserved" glass that could start a stampede. It's happened to me while doing "Special" menus, someone will ask oh! can I have that and then get nasty when they find they cannot.
While I don't want to be like Slick Willy and ask what is the definition of IS, I think it's important in this instance that Joe H didn't want to be "allowed" to use a "Reserved" glass, he wanted to at least be able to 'rent' one while there. I think letting him 'rent' one would discourage a stampede of the great unwashed wanting everything everyone else is getting. Sadly you are right that when one person gets a perk, every mouthbreather in the place will want it.

That said, I think it’s unconscionable they didn't make some effort to accommodate Joe.

Thanks,

Kevin

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That said, I think it’s unconscionable they didn't make some effort to accommodate Joe.

While I agree that they should have been willing to "rent" Joe a glass, I don't see why they would have given Joe any special treatment. They probably don't know him from Adam, unlike the folks here in DC. :unsure:

Like I said earlier, the problems with the front of the house at Fore St. are well known. That's why I skipped it my last time in Portland and went to Hugo's instead for a special meal with my wife.

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While I agree that they should have been willing to "rent" Joe a glass, I don't see why they would have given Joe any special treatment. They probably don't know him from Adam, unlike the folks here in DC. :unsure:
I should have been more clear in that by accomodating Joe, I meant they SHOULD have rented him the glass (still crappy IMO) since they wouldn't let him use it for free.

There would have been no reason for them to give him special treatment because in their eyes, he was Joe Schmuckatelli and not Joe H. ;)

It's amazing to me that Joe offered to pay extra to use a glass and they balked at that.

Thanks,

Kevin

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