The choir delivers its last performance of the year, John Rutter and George Frederick Handel battle for supremacy in the humming and whistling stakes which continues in the pub. The drinks are flowing, camaraderie, Christmas goodwill and laughter echo around open fire. Then we awake! Is this the ghost of Christmas past?
2020 will be a socially distanced affair, the bustling, the carol concerts, the shopping, meeting old friends, family gatherings, office parties et al are side-lined, instead we are to have the cosiest festivities in our lifetime. Just those from our own bubble, in our own household. What are we to do?
Our saviour will be Zoom, James Martin or Nigella and to make sure we have a truly fantastic time we are going to have a ‘Christmas Upgrade’. We’ll be having a super high quality gastronomic festival, that is a mouthful! Locally sourced, top quality food and beverage, thereby looking after those who have looked out for us throughout the year. In particular our local wine merchant who has been delivering to our door every week since the first lockdown, back in March.
Ah! At last, I hear you think!
This is what I’m looking forward to... For the first glass of Champagne, I choose my own, all time favourite glass. ..
Riedel Superleggero Champagne Flute
The original mouthblown grape varietal specific range - Riedel Sommeliers, first going to market in 1973. The “super-light” version is a more recent addition. Pioneered by 11th Generation – Maximilian Riedel. Lead free and slimmer aesthetics give it beauty and balance. In my view an exquisite glass. However, as is always the case with Riedel, the functionality of the glass is of paramount importance. Since 2014 our mission has been to move away from traditional flutes whenever possible. This glass is a ‘Champagne Wine Glass’ treating Champagne the way it deserves to be, a larger bowl to allow the full detail of the wine to be experienced on the nose and palate. The rim diameter is narrow, thereby holding the lighter fruit at the top of the bouquet and delivering a narrow channel to your palate, useful with wines of higher acidity. Finally, all Riedel Champagne glasses have nucleation points, ensuring small bubbles which last the lifetime of the drink.
The Main event and it’s Christmas Day, the Queen has spoken. Annus horribilis 2020 will be on a par with its counterpart of 1992. We shall stay positive because of the delights to come to the table for the next few hours. This Christmas will be a Winewings Christmas. A ground-breaking range which was launched in February 2020. Of course, the launch didn’t happen exactly the way it should have.
Over the course of his 47-years working in his family business, 10th generation Georg Riedel has become the father of functional glassware, having built a career on products designed to enhance the enjoyment of beverages. Now, Georg introduces his swansong series to the world: RIEDEL Winewings.
In the Northern Summer of 2018, Georg was asked by a customer to create ‘the ultimate glass’ for Cabernet Sauvignon. Following 12 months of tastings and changes to shape, size and rim diameter, Georg’s single glass for Cabernet developed into seven shapes for the most popular grape varietals, and a completely new shape emerged.
Flat-bottomed and reminiscent of an aircraft wing, complete with winglets, RIEDEL Winewings was born and about to take flight! While not the most visually beautiful collection, RIEDEL Winewings is “brutally functional, taking the wine’s aromas and flavours on a flight,” Georg says.
This innovative series is a symbolic shift in aesthetic for the RIEDEL brand, as it is a step away from his father’s original Sommeliers series shapes, and towards a new era of functional glassware. The impact of this new shape is a collection for the true wine connoisseur. For the first time, the RIEDEL Winewings glasses primarily emphasise the minerality of the wine, whereas all other collections tend to highlight fruit. The collection is ideal for the ultimate wine geek who prefers wines with depth and complexity.
The Champagne wine glass in the Riedel Winewings collection is a true loudspeaker for this, the most prestigious wine. With Champagne, a second fermentation is triggered in the bottle by adding a fine, measured quantity of yeast and sugar to the still wine. Over time and under pressure, fine bubbles are created by this process.
The glass elevates the delicate aromas of sweet, toasted bread and enables a sensual mouthfeel, with the tiny bubbles expressing a lively, yet creamy texture on the palate. The rich taste is enhanced by low levels of residual sugar, allowing a long lasting and delicious expression. “This is a ‘must-have’ glass” says Georg Riedel.