Wine Glasses: how to choose them and how to keep them
In wine glasses the stem breaks easily, the cup might cut your hand while you wash them and most of all the cloudiness of the crystal…What to do?
Obviously the shape of the glass is fundamental to taste wine but it is not the only element to be considered when we buy a set of glasses. I’ll not be talking about prices as there are incredible differences: from the 400.000 $ for the Champagne flutes by John Calleija’s in quartz crystal that make cheap even the 150$ for the Lalique 100 points by James Suckling to then get to the 6 € for a normal goblet at the supermarkets.
Wine glasses especially for those who use and wash them often, must remain sparkling and not be delicate. The most fragile parts are the rime and the stem. Let’s avoid very thin cups, that might be elegant to chip very easily and are like razors when drying the glasses by hand- My husband Carlo still has the scar from a Riedel cut on his hand. The stem is however the most critical part. If we want glasses that last a long time it must be quite thick. Hand blown glasses, where there is no joining between cup and stem, are the most delicate. Then there is the intermediates type, hand blown cup and industrial stem- But must glasses are made mainly machine. However the beauty of a glass depends on the shape and sparkle. Silicon dioxide makes up the glass, with the addition of lead in a percentage superior to 24%.
It is the metal that gives the glass sparkle and transparency. There are however glasses that “sonorous glasses”, with lower percentages of lead such as the Luxion, by RCR in Colle Val d’Elsa, that has a light refractive index :1,5425 the first, 1,545 the second. Sonorous glass is surely more affordable than crystal and is more practical to use.
The problem with crystal is in fact the washing. It should be done by hand as the drying but rarely is this possible and the use of the dishwasher becomes necessary. For this reason before buying the wine glasses one must be sure that they fit in the tray in fact the extra-large ones often do not fit. The worst problem with a wine glass is when it goes opaque. There are some guidelines to follow in the use of the dishwasher: first of all use liquid soap or gel instead of tablets, then substitute rinse aid with wine vinegar that actually removes also lime scale stains from the water. Do not use long wash cycles and most of all high temperatures. Open the door at the end of the cycle making sure to get all the steam our and fry the glasses with a soft cloth washed without conditioner.
If the glasses are already opaque it is possible to try and give them back their shine only if the problem comes from the water being too hard. In this case we must soak them in a container full of vey hot water where bicarbonate of soda has been dissolved. After a twelve hour soak and a rinsing with cold water they should be nice and hone, but if this has not succeeded there is last possibility: in this case they must be soaked in one litre of hot water, 100 Cl of wine vinegar, a sliced lemon and two spoonfuls of salt. After one whole day wash the glasses by hand with a normal detergent, then with wine vinegar and then rinse.
If the crystal is still opaque then it has been ruined by the dishwasher and con be thrown away, but for the new ones you must completely change your washing habits!