Monday, September 17, 2007

Eisch "Breathable" Stemware?

I’m always trying to think of the next topic for this blog so I must thank Jill over at Domaine547 for today’s inspiration.

In reply to my earlier post in which I mentioned using a Vinturi to hasten the aeration of wine, she mentioned that Domaine547 is now carrying stemware from Eisch.

Naturally I had to check it out on Domaine547's website. It’s an attractive-looking glass, in the same vein as Riedel. This is what Eisch, the manufacturer claims about this particular type of glass:

A wine poured into a Breathable Glass for just 2 to 4 minutes will show signs of aeration equivalent to the same wine that has been decanted and aerated for 1 to 2 hours. This fully natural process takes place within the wine itself, just in minutes. The original character and structure of the wine are preserved, yet the wine’s aroma and palate impression become more open and generous, just as they would with an hour or more of aeration. In addition to wine, Breathable Glasses can also lead to improvements with spirits, fruit juices, and mineral water.

Hmm.. so is this the Brooklyn Bridge or is it for real? Curiosity aroused, I did some Googling and found pro-Eisch and anti-Eisch posts. The pro contingent spoke from experience, saying that they had done comparison tastings, some blind and some not blind, and found a positive difference in the characteristics of the wine’s aroma and taste in the Eisch versus other-branded glass. Some said the difference was quite noticeable whereas others said you’d have to be paying strict attention in order to notice.

The con contingent consisted mainly of people who scoffed because there was no scientific foundation for such a claim and it seems even the Eisch sales reps could not provide a suitable explanation. The reps claimed it was a very secretive process.

Apparently Robert Parker, the man himself, referred to this stemware as “in voodoo veritas,” although the links in the Mark Squires forum to that statement led me to a 404 “page not found” error. I’m thinking maybe some attorneys persuaded him to delete those pages.

My main question is this: if the stemware accelerates the aeration process, doing in about 4 minutes what two hours of decanting accomplishes, then does that process continue, and after an hour in that particular glass you’ve effectively achieved what leaving wine in a non-Eisch glass would do in a whole day? Wouldn’t that oxidize many wines?

Reading the various Google results was inconclusive. I was looking for reviews but in the process also came across a few sites that were selling this stemware. There’s as wide a range in prices as there are opinions about this product!

Domaine547’s price seems to be very reasonable. It’s a gorgeous-looking glass, one that from the pictures could give Riedel a decent run for their money. For that price, it doesn’t really matter if it does what it claims to do as far as aerating the wines; I placed an order today. Now I know I said in a recent post that I am the type that returns to "neutral" after tinkering with things (like audio equalizers, wine accessories, etc.) so why am I buying this? I guess I'm just a sucker for a nice-looking wine glass!

I’ll let you know how it turns out. Meanwhile, here are the links to the pages I read when researching this product:

Pro comments:

Globe Life Food and Wine Column

Jamie Goode's Wine Blog (read the comments to the post, too)

Mark Squire's Bulletin Board on eRobertParker.com

Another Mark Squire's thread

The Independent
(in the U.K.)

Con comments:

Torbwine (look about 2/3 of the way down the page)

By the way, I have no affiliation with Domaine547 and today is actually the first time I’ve placed an order with them. They seem like they’re trying to do something different and in a good way. What impressed me was reading their “about us” section on the site and how they got into the wine business. I truly admire how they found their passion and pursued it – good for them!

(update 03/02/08) Apparently Domaine547 is sold out of the Eisch stemware. If you are interested in viewing what is available on Amazon.com's site, click here. Please note a couple of things: (1) this is an Amazon Associates link; and (2) if you want to purchase the stemware, please check Domaine547's site first to see if the Eisch product(s) are back in stock because they're a fine store that deserves your business!

3 comments:

jeffreymichaels said...

Hi...Thought we would let you know that there are different qualities of Eisch Glassware. We are a retail shop(jeffreymichaelsgifts.com) that sells the Eisch Superior breathable wineglass. Some of the lesser expensive Eisch glasses are the Vino Nobile variety, they are still breathable but they are not "pulled stem" construction. In the coming future our website will feature a full page of all Eisch products, from punch bowls to tableware so keep an eye out for that!

Time for wine said...

I just got two of the Eisch breathable glasses as a gift and absolutely love them! I don't care whether or not there is any scientific backing to support their claims. They are beautiful glasses and they do seem to make a difference in the bouquet and taste. The bottom line for me is that anything that increases my enjoyment of the wine drinking experience is completely worthwhile.

bud hausen said...

I recently purchased three different types of Eisch wine glasses. Two "superior" and one Ronn Weigand. I like them, and they do, indeed aerate a wine very quickly. But they also flatten out a a wine if it stays in the glass more than 30 minutes. All-in-all, I still love them and think they really make life easy by not needing to decant, or pour a glass an hour before I want to drink it. Just be aware of the consequences of leaving it too long.... I don't think I'd use them for a $100+ bottle of wine for fear of oxidation, but for 99% of my drinking, they are great!