The beauty of engraved crystal wine glasses

The beauty of engraved crystal wine glasses

Sommeliers the world over generally agree that the only way to enjoy fine wines is to drink from crystal wine glasses. According to experts the ultimate wine tasting experience is enhanced with crystal as opposed to glass, but choosing engraved crystal wine glasses over simple glass can depend on a number of factors.

The benefits of glass

Firstly, let’s look at glass. The main benefit is price, glass is much cheaper to manufacture than crystal making it an attractive option for many. It is thicker so generally very durable, and non-porous which makes it dishwasher safe, a definite bonus. There is also a new type of glass, which is popular – ‘borosilicate glass’, which is heat and scratch resistant. This is a high-end, durable alternative.

The benefits of crystal

The wine lovers favourite, crystal glasses refract light much better than glass, adding to the visual impact of a good wine. Crystal can be spun incredibly thin yet still retain strength, great for achieving a very thin rim of a wine glass, a desirable feature of wine tasting. The porous nature of crystal allows the wine to cling to the glass, releasing more of the aromas and bouquet and letting them linger for longer. There is now a lead-free crystal available made with zinc and magnesium, which adds to the durability and strength of the crystal, making it safe to go into a dishwasher.

Lead-free vs. lead crystal

Traditionally all crystal was leaded, and much lead crystal is still produced today. Glasses made from lead crystal are perfectly safe as the liquid is not in contact with the crystal long enough for it to be tainted. Both types of crystal can be made into extremely fine glassware and the quality is not affected by the crystal being lead-free.

The British Standard

The UK regulations concerning crystal, state that there must be a minimum mineral content of at least 24 percent. Each country has its own guidelines, for example in the US there is little in the way of regulation, resulting in a misuse of the term ‘crystal glass’ by manufacturers. The general rule is the higher the mineral content, the stronger the crystal.

Making a choice between glass and crystal

For everyday use, people with children (or cats, who are notorious for knocking things off the kitchen worktops!) who want to put everything in the dishwasher, don’t mind the odd breakage and are cost conscious then the obvious choice is glass. For those who don’t mind hand washing and prefer drinking wine from a glass without a ‘lip’ then lead-free crystal is the one to choose. It is also possible to strike a happy medium between the two, keeping a couple of crystal glasses on hand for that extra special bottle of wine, and enjoying the difference a really nice crystal glass makes. The partygoers may be happy with glass, the cheaper alternative, while the wine connoisseur may splash out on hand-spun engraved crystal wine glasses for the ultimate wine tasting experience.

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