Continuing the decades-long RIEDEL tradition of working with wine experts to identify the best glass shapes for different types of wine, a new perfect pairing has emerged for English Sparkling Wine.
It started with the 1973 release of the RIEDEL Sommeliers Collection. Grape varietal-specific glassware designed to enhance the distinctive aromas and flavors of different wines and maximize wine enjoyment. Today, you can find a RIEDEL glass for all of your favorite wines, be it Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Champagne, or just about any other wine you can think of. Now the time has come to add English Sparkling Wine to that list.
Until relatively recently, unless you were ‘in the know’, English Sparkling Wine probably wasn’t near the forefront of many people’s minds when the topic of sparkling wine arose. But how that has changed! With a warming climate, an ever-increasing investment into vineyards and winemaking practices, and a process of continual improvement, English Sparkling Wine has flourished during the 21st century, developing into a constantly high-quality wine style that appears more and more on the wine lists of your favorite restaurant and in your local wine store.
Here at RIEDEL, we started work on establishing the best glass for English wines some 12 years ago – culminating in 2023, when we felt it was time English Sparkling Wine should have its own glass to recognize its special style and its arrival on the world stage. To achieve this, in January, we began a journey across the south of England to identify the ideal glass for English Sparkling Wine enjoyment.
Finding the right glass for English Sparkling Wine
Our search took us to renowned wineries in Hampshire, Kent and Sussex, where wine glass development workshops were conducted with twenty-five of the foremost wine producers from these regions. The objective here was simple – to blind-taste together many English Sparkling Wines from many different glasses to determine which glass performs best for the style.
The process took 3 days, with independent tastings taking place at Exton Park in Hampshire, Squerryes Estate in Kent, and Ridgeview Wine Estate in Sussex. Led by RIEDEL CEO Maximilian Riedel, the panel of winemakers and experts tasted a variety of Hampshire, Kent, and Sussex sparkling wines from the following shortlist of 12 that was drawn up based on the results of earlier research, held with international sparkling producers:
The outcome was unanimous, with the panels at each workshop independently agreeing that the RIEDEL Veloce Riesling glass outperformed all other glasses in its showcasing of the English Sparkling Wines qualities. The RIEDEL Veloce Riesling glass was shaped to show low-tannin, high-acidity wines, while concentrating delicate aromas for a richer tasting experience, making it a logical option for English Sparkling Wines’ clean, crisp, and refreshing acidity.
Speaking after the event, Maximilian Riedel said “I have long admired English Sparkling Wines, since I made my first vineyard visits here almost ten years ago. In that time, I have seen the industry grow and the wine develop to a truly internationally high standard, so that it is amongst the very best sparkling wines in the world. I am proud to support English Sparkling Wines with a specific RIEDEL glass, which shows the fruit, the freshness, and the complexity of these great wines at its very best.
“It is especially pleasing and forward-thinking that, in selecting a RIEDEL Veloce glass, the panel recognized a glass which is brand new, state of the art glassmaking technology, where we are able to produce, by machine, a wine glass which is as fine and as light and as balanced as a hand-made glass and, as such, is world leading in its field”.
Simon Thorpe MW, Chief Executive Officer at Wine GB, the organization which represents the UK wine industry added “We are absolutely delighted that Maximilian Riedel has chosen to create a bespoke English Sparkling Wine glass. The selection process was fascinating and very robust, and the chosen glass is a wonderful outcome. Certainly, the glass showcased the full quality and complexity of the wines, both on the nose and palate. To have an English Sparkling Wine glass of such quality created especially for our wines is a real marker of the development of the industry and its growing reputation both on the domestic and international marketplace”.
With the RIEDEL Veloce Riesling glass being identified as the best-performing glass for English Sparkling Wine, the next thing to do is to make a few slight modifications to turn it into a true sparkling wine vessel. A nucleation point will be added to the glass to improve the way the glass manages the mousse, while the text ‘English Sparkling Wine’ will be added to the base to further distinguish it.
The glass is to be launched to the market during the first half of 2023, so watch this space!