Does this glass make my wine look fat? Sometimes skinny can be too skinny? Sometimes skinny is not always a good thing. Exhibit A – Kirstie Alley trying to be skinny. Exhibit B – Kate Moss…any day. How about a skinny wine glass? I really didn’t think my wine glass needed to go on a diet, but according to Ravenscroft Crystal, “the wine glass should be invisible and not compete. Like air, Ravenscroft Crystal Invisibles are practically invisible and weightless.” After reading this aloud, I noticed that the other wine glasses in the room became a little self conscious. Hopefully they don’t develop some sort of disorder.
When I was approached by Ravenscroft to try their Invisibles collection, I was pretty excited. I’ve never been exactly stoked to present my videos with the Mikasa Cheers collection of balloon shaped confetti, but I’m too cheap to splurge for something new. The first glass arrived and indeed it was thin and lightweight. It was easily 1/3 the weight of the regular white wine glass that I used. I drank a glass or two (okay maybe three) and was pleased by the way things felt. I was excited to put the glass to the test. I carefully rinsed out the glass in hot water, using a special wine glass cleaner avoiding chemicals. I was pretty proud of my wafer thin acquisition, so I decided to hand dry it to avoid spots. Crack. That’s the noise a wine glass makes when it breaks…in case you were wondering. So, $10 (if I would have purchased it) lasted three glasses of wine.
I contacted Ravenscroft and they agreed to send more. I received two of their Bordeaux glass (22 oz) and two Riesling Grand Cru glasses (20 oz). These are the glasses designed to promote the positive attributes of the majority of wine that I drink.
Here are my observations. The glass is thin. The glass is light. There is no magical chime when making a toast, only a dull clunk. The glass is fragile. The Ravenscroft literature states that each glass is hand crafted (by artisans none-the-less) and is lead free (more on this later). The hand crafted would explain the inconsistency in quality. Of the four glasses, three have imperfections. One of the white wine glasses has bubbles in the base. The other has a very fine seam that goes diagonally across the bowl. One of the red wine glasses is severely rippled across the bowl. These are not the type of characteristics I would expect to find at $10 per glass Ravenscroft Crystal.
With all of that said, I WILL incorporate the Invisible Collection into my video tastings for two reasons: 1) They feel good in my hand. They’re light and well balanced. 2) They make the wine look better. What I was using was distracting at best and the wrong bowl shape at worst. The traditional shape of the Ravenscroft line will be a much better presentation for the wine being reviewed.
During my research, I stumbled upon a great piece on the dangers of lead in glass containers. The bottom line is that wine doesn’t sit long enough in leaded glass stemware long enough to leach significant amounts of lead into the glass. Studies do show that after storing wine in decanters, wine doubled its content of lead within one hour and tripled the content within four hours. Do not store your port, brandy or other alcohol in leaded crystal containers for long periods. I did find it interesting that a major selling feature of the Ravenscroft Invisible line was “lead-free.” This coming from the inventor of leaded glass in the 1600’s.
The Science of the Wine Glass
In short, wine glass shape, size and quality do matter. Your choice, similar to wine, is your preference. If you doubt my claim, test a bold red wine out of a Dixie cup, then a tumbler, and then an appropriate Bordeaux style glass. You’ll notice a livelier nose and subtle nuances on the palate. The Invisibles line contains eight different glass shapes to accentuate the aroma and flavor profile of various wines. Stocking each of these can be a difficult chore, even for the heartiest oenophile. I recommend a collection that includes a Bordeaux style for reds, a Riesling Grand Cru for whites, and of course a thin flute style for Sparkling wine. Check out this great article for more information about the science of wine glasses. I particularly love her final advice: “Save the washing-up until the morning, or use the dishwasher. Most cleaning instructions for high-end wine glasses require unhampered concentration – in short, not for the inebriated.”
For other insight on Ravenscroft Invisibles:
*Product was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review