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Delhi Wine Club
Riedel Sommelier da Jawab Nahin

Posted: Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:19

Riedel Sommelier da Jawab Nahin

May 15: Riedel is celebrating the 40th anniversary of unveiling Sommelier Series which created a sensation by introducing the grape varietal specific glasses in 1973 when Prof. Claus Riedel designed the series with the glass having a capacity of one bottle in its Bordeaux and Burgundy version, writes Subhash Arora who had met the Italian distributor, Gaja Distribution at Vinitaly and talked at length about this collectible glass with no equals with Angelo Gaja

Click For Large ViewTravelling from Vienna to Munich by Austrian Airlines after judging at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Bratislava, I was flipping through the pages of the Skylark magazine, looking for my favourite page, the world map that shows connections to various destinations (with increasing  travels and meeting journalists from relatively small countries, it helps to know where they are located on the map). Suddenly my eyes fell on an advertisement for Riedel glasses-a pretty model holding a glass of Nebbiolo Riedel in her hands. I don’t know any models but this one was known well to me, I was sure. It turned out to be Gaia Gaja, the pretty winemaker-cum export manager-cum-owner and daughter of Angelo Gaja nosing Nebbiolo in the Sommelier series glass, ostensibly a Gaja Barbaresco or Sori San Lorenzo. Was she their Brand Ambassador now? I didn’t have a clue in Vinitaly when I met her father Angelo and mother, Lucia.

I knew the 40-year celebrations were planned by Riedel but I didn’t know of Gaja’s plans. So I chose to discuss with Gaja only about the Riedel glasses this one time. Angelo was as passionate about discussing about the Sommelier series as he is about his Barbaresco, the signature wine that falls in the luxury category just like Riedel. In an animated style, he explained to me that Riedel had introduced stemware in 1961-with bowl and stem and use bigger glasses for reds and smaller ones for white, in general. But the Sommelier glass - a grape specific glass introduced in 1973 - revolutionized the way people enjoy the wines, said Angelo who uses only Riedel glasses for tasting in his Barbaresco, Ca’marcanda and the Montalcino wineries,  ‘we are particularly pleased with the series as it was with Nebbiolo that the company had selected to do their research for the development of the new glass,’ adding, ‘the company plans to conduct multiple tastings in Italy and several foreign countries to demonstrate that the glass shape changes the flavour of wine with the right glass.’

Laughing off my suggestion Gaia Gaja says she was only requested for a shoot for the Sommelier line. ‘I am always their ambassador in spirit anyway. I love their glasses and always suggest them during my tastings. The glass I was holding in my hand is my favorite of all kinds, it is the Sommelier line Nebbiolo-Pinot Noir shape,’ she says, adding, ‘did you know that this glass is also displayed at the Museum of Arts and Design of London?’ Yes, I did; Angelo had told me about it in Vinitaly.

Click For Large ViewIt was during my onward journey from Munich to Ancona that flipping the pages of the Lufthansa magazine I saw a similar advertisement with the picture of the third generation Philippe Guigal of E Guigal & Co in South of France, holding the Sommelier series Syrah grape glass. Presumably, Riedel has roped in top winemakers from different countries for creating the hype.

Their current Managing Director/owner of the company, the 10th generation Georg Riedel or the 11th generation Maximilian is expected to come to India to conduct some events where the objective would be to conduct tastings with the same wine but different glasses so as to compare the effect of different glass shapes.

Not everyone can afford the Sommelier series though. At €75 a glass in the online shop (, it is rather expensive for most people who would find it as expensive as buying a Gaja Barbaresco. One would just as well be happy with the Vinum series that has a tag of half the Price. The stem-less O series cost half that of Vinum. When I asked Angelo Gaja his opinion on the O Series, he laughed and said,’ it is a matter of personal choices. I use it as a water tumbler in my house and I think it is perfect.’ He had not changed his stance since I discussed with him the last couple of times regarding the glasses and wine.

It’s genius and art melted together, says Gaia Gaja and I agree with her.

Click For Large ViewThat brought an interesting thought to my mind. Who would Riedel choose to represent their glasses, if they were to appoint a Brand Ambassador cum model in India in the absence of a creditable producer? It would perhaps be some sports personality or a movie star, like Ranbir Kapoor or better, Amitabh Bachchan as he would be more identified by a deluxe product like Riedel. One sports personality who might happily don the TV model’s role would be the cricketer Kapil Dev who, as a wine connoisseur would have a lot more credibility when holding a glass of Sommelier red Bordeaux or Burgundy and saying, ‘Riedel Sommelier da Jawab Nahin!'

Subhash Arora

Translation for our non-Indian readers: Riedel Sommelier Series has no equals

Incidentally, Riedel recommends Miele, the German appliance company known for its high-quality luxury products that are synonymous with Riedel and Gaja and like both of them, are also available in India, though expensive-editor


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