Late last year on Instagram I wrote about how recently in Hong Kong there have been a few new wine glass brands to enter the market.
It’s a pretty great opportunity for glass geeks like our team here, because we’ve always believed in the importance of a well shaped glass. More specifically, we don’t really think one brand is always “better” than any other – rather that different glasses by different brands are best with different wines.
It’s all a little pretentious perhaps to a certain degree, but generally in our minds there is no doubt that the right glass can really enhance a dining/drinking experience.
Anyway we saw last month on social media the Austrian glasses from J. & L. Lobmeyr recently appear in Hong Kong. This company has been around since 1823, and has a rather cult status in Japan, although in Hong Kong the talk has always been about Riedel and Zalto at the premium level.
The Lobmeyr glasses are almost eloquent in their thinness, and once I saw them...well, I was pretty sold. It turns out the distributor here in Hong Kong is a dedicated lady called Amy, and she arranged for us to test out some of the glasses for both our customers and general readers.
So disclaimer – we received three glasses from Lobmeyr for our testing. We’ll get around to testing all of them, but let’s start with the one for bubbles first. This one in particular is the “Champagne A” glass from the Ballerina series, which are all characterised by very long, graceful stems.
The bowl is small, even though this is the largest of the series from Lobmeyr. I’d say it can roughly hold the same as a standard flute filled halfway, if you want to leave some room for the wine to open up.
The stem is super delicate, probably the thinnest one out there on the market right now. The lips of the bowl are also very thin, and of course the whole thing is handblown. These are all pretty fantastic parts of the Lobmeyr glasses, and in my mind they are thinner than any new Zalto glassware.
I’ve been using Zalto generally for a few years now, and the old ones were unbelievably thin (like these Lobmeyr glasses), while unfortunately the newer Zalto ones are thicker for their restaurant clients. Make no mistake – both these Lobmeyr glasses and old Zalto glasses aren’t meant for machine washing or restaurant use. They are far too delicate, and not to mention far too expensive for that method.
But anyway, enough of this rhapsodising – I’ve tried this glass over the past month quite often, and most recently with Demarne Frison’s Goustan. The disgorgement I have is 50% Pinot Noir from Les Clos de la Cote, 50% Chardonnay from Les Cotannes.
It’s a fantastic, energetic wine that is still a bit youthful, from a newish producer from the Aube who neighbour Vouette et Sorbée. It has a cutting acidity, chalky minerality, and lots of ginger, apple, pears, and citrus on the nose.
On the Lobmeyr glass it had a very clear expression of fruit, and a very acid-forward aroma. There were hints of nuttiness and oxidative notes, with ample minerality.
Then I tried it with a Spieglau Adina Red Wine glass, which is like a thicker, larger version of the Lobmeyr. This provided a far darker expression of the wine, with less fruit and more “width” to the wine. I got more almond notes, and even a bit more complexity.
Throughout an hour I went back and forth between the two glasses, trying to see the wines as they developed. Ultimately for this younger wine I ended up preferring the Lobmeyr, since the freshness, minerality, and dynamic fruit really shone.
The lighter aromas ended up getting lost in the larger Speiglau glass, although perhaps for older vintage Champagnes I might opt for something bigger than the miniscule Lobmeyr “Champagne A” glass.
Overall, my experience with both glasses was quite interesting. The Lobmeyr one is around 9 times more expensive, so it's definitely a luxury product. In general most of their glasses are similar in price to the Grand Cru Riedel ones, and twice the amount of Zalto glasses. Nonetheless, if you are a glass geek and you want to add another addition to your collection, this "Champagne A" certainly is an interesting choice for younger, mineral Champagnes.