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This is my first posting to WS so be kind. I have been drinking good wine for 20 years but have recently become interested in drinking great wine. I had historically used my mom's Waterford glasses (cut crystal) but recently purchased some Reidel glasses for the larger bowl. I must say that they are better than the the Waterford and I can tell a difference. Tonight I used a brandy snifter because I was moving about the hOuse a lot and was concerned about knocking over a tall glass. I couldn't tell a difference in the taste bit wife said she could tell a difference between the snifter and the Reidel. Is that possible?

My next question has to do with leaded crystal vs glass. I am not concerned about health effects of lead but a friend of mine swears that leaded crystal makes the wine taste better than nonleaded. Is there any truth to this?


Rookie wino.
 
Posts: 17 | Location: South Carolina | Registered: Dec 30, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Welcome, Paul.

In answer to your questions:

1. Certainly possible, but I wouldn't expect a huge difference

2. None that I know of


Just one more sip.
 
Posts: 36781 | Location: NY | Registered: Oct 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree with Board-O with a couple of modifications. I think that many of us here would probably note a difference between wines poured in a brandy snifter and a good wine stem. The snifter isn't even a good glass for drinking brandy out of. And there is NO difference between leaded and unleaded crystal in the taste of a wine if the glasses are shaped identically. I'd ask your friend for the source of his information. Sounds like one of them thar wine snobs..... Wink

PBH
 
Posts: 15062 | Location: Maryland, USA (DC suburbs) | Registered: Nov 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulF:
...a friend of mine swears that leaded crystal makes the wine taste better than nonleaded. Is there any truth to this?

Pffft!

I've consumed wine from many types of glass. Even leaded glass. And I can honestly say that I've never, ever, had a wine from a leaded glass that I appreciated. If anything, it was the exact opposite of your friend's perspective. Now I'm not saying that it makes any difference whatsoever (leaded vs non-leaded), but what I am saying is that it, clearly, does not improve a wine's showing.
 
Posts: 15478 | Location: Montreal, QC | Registered: Feb 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the replies. I will continue to use my glass decanters then rather than wasting money on leaded crystal. The way I break thinks, I don't need to spend cash on silly stuff like that. It will also be that much more for wine.


Rookie wino.
 
Posts: 17 | Location: South Carolina | Registered: Dec 30, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
.... And I can honestly say that I've never, ever, had a wine from a leaded glass that I appreciated. .....


KSC, you lost me on this one. Perhaps you meant something different? Just about every stem in my home contains some lead. All my Riedels and Spigelaus for sure, and they are wonderful glasses.

PH
 
Posts: 15062 | Location: Maryland, USA (DC suburbs) | Registered: Nov 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulF:
I will continue to use my glass decanters then rather than wasting money on leaded crystal. The way I break thinks, I don't need to spend cash on silly stuff like that. It will also be that much more for wine.

+1 on regular glass decanters. When I first started getting serious with wine, I purchased a $50 Riedel Magnum decanter. Although I still have it, I'm always skittish when using with a lot people grabbing and pouring from it. Since then I purchased $4 glass decanters from Crate & Barrel and I no longer worry about breaking it. They feel more brittle for sure, but at least, the replacement cost is easier to swallow.
 
Posts: 5118 | Location: New Jersey | Registered: Aug 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I couldn't tell a difference in the taste bit wife said she could tell a difference between the snifter and the Reidel. Is that possible?


Can't think of a reason you would experience any difference in TASTE from one glass to another. Riedel used to make some preposterous claim that their various glasses directed the wine to certain sections of your mouth but they finally stopped trying to convince people that was possible.

You may get different aromatic qualities because remember, whatever you're smelling is some volatile compound and the different ones are more or less volatile than each other. Plus, the different glass shapes and sizes can concentrate them or let them escape more easily. That's in fact why you can't really design a glass for a particular grape - every time that grape is planted in a different vineyard, it's going to end up with slight differences in the juice. Now add in the different vintages, the different ambient yeasts and bacteria in the different wineries, the different fermentation and winemaking, not to mention the profound effects of aging, etc., and your Riesling, with its very characteristic aroma, is still going to be slightly different from one place to another and significantly different from one year to the next. So the "appropriate" glass in one instance is not necessarily so appropriate the next time. And then you have your personal physiology. So find a glass you like and buy that.

As far as lead goes, that's a more interesting story. You put lead oxide in the glass because it makes the glass softer and easier to cut and because it increases the clarity of the glass. It's obviously not really "crystal" because glass is an amorphous solid - it has no crystal structure. But when you cut the leaded glass, you can make it look like a crystal and that's what Ravenscroft called it when he popularized the technique, so that's the name.

However, small amounts of lead do in fact leech out into the wine. Remember, wine has plenty of acidity. Keep in mind though, that the amount of lead that might leech out into the glass in the normal course of drinking is miniscule. That's not the case if you store your wine in a decanter, but nobody really does that any more except in old movies where they keep the sherry or Port on the sideboard. Moreover, there are other compounds that can be used instead of lead oxide these days, so if you're concerned, just don't buy glasses with lead.

As far as altering the taste - I'm really skeptical that anyone can truly distinguish between 2 glasses, one with and one w/out lead, if they don't know beforehand which glass is which. Not saying it can't be done, and in fact, one can make a logical argument for it, but I would imagine that particular person would have a tongue that's as sensitive as a dog's nose. A super-taster to be sure.


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2611 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by GregT:
That's not the case if you store your wine in a decanter, but nobody really does that any more except in old movies where they keep the sherry or Port on the sideboard. Moreover, there are other compounds that can be used instead of lead oxide these days, so if you're concerned, just don't buy glasses with lead.


that's really funny, because I happen to have 2 ports and a cognac sitting in decanters right now on my sideboard ;-)


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Posts: 12022 | Location: NYC | Registered: Feb 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You would. Man you really are old school.

Anyhow, if they're leaded glass, then supposedly there is in fact significant leeching.

Fed limit for lead in water is 20 micrograms /liter. Some guys published a study in Lancet quite a while ago.

Tiny amounts of lead begin to migrate to wine from crystal goblets and decanters within minutes of contact but four months of storage in leaded glass decanters, the lead levels ranged from 2,162 to 5,333 micrograms per liter.

It's the acidity that's largely responsible.


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2611 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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yea, glass decanters for me

cheaper, may not be as shiny, but I care more about an air tight seal and what's inside anyway.


This is my sig -> www.brownteacup.com
www.wsqwine.com
(Wine distributor)
 
Posts: 12022 | Location: NYC | Registered: Feb 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
You would. Man you really are old school.

Anyhow, if they're leaded glass, then supposedly there is in fact significant leeching.

Fed limit for lead in water is 20 micrograms /liter. Some guys published a study in Lancet quite a while ago.

Tiny amounts of lead begin to migrate to wine from crystal goblets and decanters within minutes of contact but four months of storage in leaded glass decanters, the lead levels ranged from 2,162 to 5,333 micrograms per liter.

It's the acidity that's largely responsible.


Wow, so what you are saying is that those old timers were getting serious doses of lead with their sherries, whiskeys, and other liquors kept in decanters?

Maybe that explains the fall of the British Empire.
 
Posts: 6450 | Location: Palm Beach | Registered: Nov 08, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Could be!

But for those people, the main source of lead poisoning wasn't the crystal goblets or even the decanters. It was more likely the lead oxide that they used for things like make-up and wig powder and paint, especially for their ceramics and porcelain.

Today people are pretty aware of the issues and they either use different materials or they don't use enough lead to really matter all that much. The EU for example, has standards for plates and bowls and drinking vessels and other than orange juice and wine, most things aren't altogether that acidic, nor are they in contact with the lead all that long.

There's also a diminution of the leeching after a few washings, so one thing that's recommended is putting an acidic solution into the container for a while, then washing it a few times.

Anyhow, I know very little about the issue other than the fact that it's more than theoretical. Is it a concern? Personally I don't worry about it all that much.

Here's a blurb that's about 20 years old:

COOPERATIVE EXTENSION UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY NEWSLETTER

A "New" Source of Lead

Routine use of lead crystal should be avoided, the Food and Drug Administration's Jerry Burke recommended last week. Burke, director of the Office of Physical Science in FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, was commenting on a published report of lead leaching into wine from crystal decanters (See Food Chemical News, Jan. 28, Page 14, and Feb. 11, Page 48) and an unpublished report of lead leaching into apple juice and infant formula from crystal baby bottles. The article noted that Steuben has temporarily suspended the manufacture and sale of its lead crystal decanters and flasks, and that Waterford has ceased manufacture of crystal baby bottles.

In an article appearing in the Feb. 20 edition of the Times, Burke was said to have made the following recommendations: "Do not use lead crystal every day. Occasional use is all right, but if you have a daily glass of wine, don't drink it from a crystal goblet; don't store foods or beverages for long periods (a week or two, according to Burke, overnight according to others) in crystal. This is particularly true for acidic juices, vinegar, and alcoholic beverages. Women of childbearing age should not use crystalware. Don't feed children from crystal bottles or tumblers."

Research performed at Columbia University found that storage of wine in lead crystal decanters raised the Pb concentrations to as high as 7 ppm. The EPA standard for lead in drinking water is 50 ppb.

Reference: Food Chemical News, Vol. 32, No. 52, February 25, 1991. Food Chemical News, Vol. 33, No. 3, March 18, 1991.



Here's a link:

Old FDA report


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2611 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
quote:
I couldn't tell a difference in the taste bit wife said she could tell a difference between the snifter and the Reidel. Is that possible?


Can't think of a reason you would experience any difference in TASTE from one glass to another. Riedel used to make some preposterous claim that their various glasses directed the wine to certain sections of your mouth but they finally stopped trying to convince people that was possible.

You may get different aromatic qualities because remember, whatever you're smelling is some volatile compound and the different ones are more or less volatile than each other. Plus, the different glass shapes and sizes can concentrate them or let them escape more easily. That's in fact why you can't really design a glass for a particular grape - every time that grape is planted in a different vineyard, it's going to end up with slight differences in the juice. Now add in the different vintages, the different ambient yeasts and bacteria in the different wineries, the different fermentation and winemaking, not to mention the profound effects of aging, etc., and your Riesling, with its very characteristic aroma, is still going to be slightly different from one place to another and significantly different from one year to the next. So the "appropriate" glass in one instance is not necessarily so appropriate the next time. And then you have your personal physiology. So find a glass you like and buy that.

As far as lead goes, that's a more interesting story. You put lead oxide in the glass because it makes the glass softer and easier to cut and because it increases the clarity of the glass. It's obviously not really "crystal" because glass is an amorphous solid - it has no crystal structure. But when you cut the leaded glass, you can make it look like a crystal and that's what Ravenscroft called it when he popularized the technique, so that's the name.

However, small amounts of lead do in fact leech out into the wine. Remember, wine has plenty of acidity. Keep in mind though, that the amount of lead that might leech out into the glass in the normal course of drinking is miniscule. That's not the case if you store your wine in a decanter, but nobody really does that any more except in old movies where they keep the sherry or Port on the sideboard. Moreover, there are other compounds that can be used instead of lead oxide these days, so if you're concerned, just don't buy glasses with lead.

As far as altering the taste - I'm really skeptical that anyone can truly distinguish between 2 glasses, one with and one w/out lead, if they don't know beforehand which glass is which. Not saying it can't be done, and in fact, one can make a logical argument for it, but I would imagine that particular person would have a tongue that's as sensitive as a dog's nose. A super-taster to be sure.


I have been to wine tastings where we used Riedel glasses the last one conducted by Georg himself.

That was less than two years ago when did Riedel stop making the claims about the glasses because Georg certainly did.
 
Posts: 102 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: Mar 06, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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winemaven - he never stopped making all claims about his glasses. He does stop making the claim about "directing" the wine to certain parts of your mouth when you ask him to explain the physiology and physics of how that could possibly happen.


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2611 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by GregT:
winemaven - he never stopped making all claims about his glasses. He does stop making the claim about "directing" the wine to certain parts of your mouth when you ask him to explain the physiology and physics of how that could possibly happen.


WHAT?!? the astronomical prices of my fragile riedels most definitely bend warp space to appropriately find all the spots on my tongue to give the wine the best flavor possible.

You clearly must have bought some imitation from china greg.


This is my sig -> www.brownteacup.com
www.wsqwine.com
(Wine distributor)
 
Posts: 12022 | Location: NYC | Registered: Feb 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good point, maybe it was the lead? Confused

BTW - that whole relationship between your glasses and your tongue . . .

!


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2611 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was about to make a big stink about this when I noticed it was just a blog post from a local retailer of cellars (from whom I bought both of my cabinets). Still, it's entertaining.

Clicky

"There’s no gainsaying it – wine tastes best out of fine, leaded crystal." WTF!?!
 
Posts: 2943 | Location: San Diego, CA | Registered: Nov 19, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Maybe they just got back from the wine bloggers conference where they learned all kinds of truths. And now this.


"The best part is how he said the ENGLISH language. Fine irony. Use American next time."
 
Posts: 2611 | Location: NY | Registered: Dec 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by GregT:
Maybe they just got back from the wine bloggers conference where they learned all kinds of truths. And now this.


the answer is pretty clear.

the man is a wine connoisseur


This is my sig -> www.brownteacup.com
www.wsqwine.com
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Posts: 12022 | Location: NYC | Registered: Feb 16, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, this reply may be a little off-topic, but still has to do with containers for wine. Here in Georgia (the country -- not the US State) -- they have clay pitchers for serving wine. Some are glazed inside, but most are not. I was always afraid to use them thinking the wine would sink into the clay and it would warp the taste or something, but I asked a sommelier here, and he said it shouldn't hurt anything, and may actually help by absorbing the tannins and leaving more of natural grape taste.

Haven't tried it yet, but I did recently buy two clay wine pitchers for my next party. To date, when I've served wine for guests, I just served directly from the bottle. But Georgians NEVER do that and I want to more adapt to the culture here.

Any thoughts? Have any of you ever tried wine in clay pitchers? If not, I'll let you know how it goes. I'll try putting a wine I've already tried and liked into a clay pitcher and see if I can discern a difference.

PS: I'm currently enjoying a glass of Krakhuna (2012) by Khareba winery in Imereti (Western Georgia). A nice crisp white wine that is great with my Salmon salad topped with a spicy peach salsa.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Carolyn Rice,
 
Posts: 12 | Registered: Apr 02, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by GregT:


...It's obviously not really "crystal" because glass is an amorphous solid - it has no crystal structure. ...


to be technically accurate it has no long range structure, there is short range crystal structure. Otherwise, yeah, what GregT said.


If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.
 
Posts: 460 | Location: Minneapolis | Registered: Aug 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Carolyn Rice:
Well, this reply may be a little off-topic, but still has to do with containers for wine. Here in Georgia (the country -- not the US State) -- they have clay pitchers for serving wine. Some are glazed inside, but most are not. I was always afraid to use them thinking the wine would sink into the clay and it would warp the taste or something, but I asked a sommelier here, and he said it shouldn't hurt anything, and may actually help by absorbing the tannins and leaving more of natural grape taste.

Haven't tried it yet, but I did recently buy two clay wine pitchers for my next party. To date, when I've served wine for guests, I just served directly from the bottle. But Georgians NEVER do that and I want to more adapt to the culture here.

Any thoughts? Have any of you ever tried wine in clay pitchers? If not, I'll let you know how it goes. I'll try putting a wine I've already tried and liked into a clay pitcher and see if I can discern a difference.



Clay should be pretty similar to concrete which is what a lot of wines are fermented and/or aged in so should be pretty neutral. Chateau Pontet Canet is experimenting with clay amphoras. Should be pretty neutral and work just fine but I imagine they're heavy and clunky.
 
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