Here’s another in the occasional series of reviews of samples that I receive that cannot be safely imbibed. In this round, we’ve got a cartoon of full-on, cold-blooded murder, and maybe the last wine glass that you’ll need to be buy (until you break it, I mean, from overuse).
Let’s start with the latter. The Gabriel-Glas Austrian Crystal Wine Glass comes in two variants: the durable “StandArt” Edition (Set of 2, $62.50), and the almost gossamer-thin “Gold” Edition (Set of 2, $142). These are both, of course, pricier than your average multi-duty, tulip-shaped wine glass that you could pick up at your local Target; they are also both much more elegant and versatile. Both editions easily handled everything that I threw at them, from still reds/whites, to bubbles. The Standard has fast become my new go-to tasting glass for reviews; its more expensive older sister Gold edition is one of the most balanced, finely-crafted pieces of stemware that I’ve ever held. While they’re not cheap, these are as close to a one-stop-shopping wine glass experience as you’ll find, even at those prices. The fact that the StandArt version is reasonably affordable while still being premium enough to satisfy many of the most persnickety/discerning sippers makes it a winner. If you’re looking for a replacement for your recently-broken fave wine glass, you absolutely need to give these a look.
Now for the cold-blooded murder bit: we have the newly-released English-language version of the book Gold in the Vineyards: Illustrated stories of the world’s most celebrated vineyards, by Laura Catena (Catapulta Editores, 184 pages, $15). A well-researched, attractive hardcover by one of the most indefatigable and impressive wine personalities on the planet, this is one of the more unique and interesting wine book concepts to come along in a good long while – tell the stories of famous wine producers and vineyards from around the world, using the help of old-timey style illustrations that were once the purview of children’s books. The result is equal parts informative and strange. Among the text detailing the histories of the likes of Antinori and Harlan are cartoon depictions of cold-blooded murder, anthropomorphic grape bunches, and Australians telling people to go to hell in several different languages. The text itself presents an equally odd use of a combination of fonts, typefaces, and letter sizes, presumably meant to bring whimsy and “scan-ability” to the content, but more often than not actually making reading Gold in the Vineyards more confusing than it need be. The whole package is interesting, informative, and unique enough to rise above all of that, however, and so is worth checking out if you need a gift for the wine lover in your life who already has almost everything.