The original clear, lyre-shaped Amadeo decanter was introduced in 2006 to commemorate Riedel’s 250th anniversary, the name a nod to fellow Austrian, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose 250th birthday was also celebrated that year. This hand blown, lead crystal decanter is shaped like a lyre and pours like a dream. Wine is simply decanted into the vessel’s wider opening and poured into the glass through its slender mouth. Effortless and pleasurable to use, the Amadeo decanter is a reminder that functional objects can be works of art.
2007 saw the debut of the Black Amadeo, a successor with the same form of the original executed in striking black crystal. Made from 24% lead crystal, the decanter achieves its inky color through the use of manganese oxide which tints the glass in shades of dark purple to pitch black. Producing the Amadeo in black is a more difficult and laborious process than crafting the decanter in clear crystal. The manganese oxide makes the black molten glass cool significantly quicker than clear glass, giving the glassmaker less time to sculpt the form.
The latest Amadeo Black Tie, introduced this year, is a worthy heir to the line – debonair as a tuxedo with the same elegance and ease of use as its predecessors. The limited edition Amadeo Black Tie Decanter shares the same graceful lyre form as the other decanters in the line, but adds a distinctive difference. Its flawless clear crystal body is articulated with a single slender black tuxedo stripe that lovingly follows the contours of its stylized U-shaped silhouette. A prime example of streamlined chic, this new decanter is a marvelous companion to Riedel’s Sommeliers Black Tie glasses, with their black stems and clear bases for red wine and clear stems and black bases for white.
Adorning the Amadeo Black Tie decanter with that sinuous stripe makes it a challenging piece to produce. As with the Black Amadeo, manganese oxide is used to create the solitary band of black. Explains Maximilian Riedel, “The addition of manganese oxide makes the black molten glass more temperamental, less pliable and it cools more quickly than clear glass. So, the challenge for our glassmakers when shaping the decanter is to manipulate both elements quickly enough to control the decoration and the shape of the decanter simultaneously.”
Sleek and beautifully simple, the understated élan of these decanters belie the degree of difficulty involved in their creation. All the Amadeo decanters are handmade, mouth-blown and ‘free blown,’ formed by hand without the use of molds. The excellence of the execution relies upon the talent of the glassblower so each decanter is slightly different, unique.
Sculptural enough to qualify as art, it is easy to forget that all versions of the Amadeo decanter are also triumphs of functionality – a classic Riedel hallmark.
Interest in fine wine continues to grow and in addition to fine stemware, a decanter is a must for serious wine drinkers. Currently, Riedel Crystal makes over three dozen different decanter designs to please both the palate and the eye.