We’ve always used the Schott-Zwiesel Tour/Pure line, and bought them (years ago) because they (1) looked cool, (3) were lead-free, (3) offered more diversity than just ‘red’ and ‘white’ glasses, and (4) perhaps most importantly, we assumed (at the time) that they “must be good because they cost $12-$15 each” (!). Not to mention that (at the time), we weren’t hanging out in the more expensive, collectible, ageable “deep end” of the wine appreciation “pool”. I mean, who spends $50 or more on the wine glass, but maybe half that for the bottle of wine??
After a few times drinking out of the Zalto Universals and Glasvin Universals that our covid-pod friends own, and after reading through most if not all of the wine glass threads on this board and becoming “glass curious”, I reached out to Chris at CJF, who shipped me a Grassl ‘Buddha Box’ (“it’s one with everything”) for 30 days of contemplation.
The first comparison was Grassl vs Schott-Zweisel. The head-to-head matchups were: Mineralite vs. the SauvBlanc glass (a couple of sauv blancs); Cru vs. Burgundy glass (pinots & a gamay); Liberte vs. Cab glass (rioja, syrah, and some CdP/Rhone blends); 1855 vs Cab glass (Napa cab and NZ Bordeaux blend). The Grassl’s absolutely dominated–a clean sweep, a shutout, a rout. Consider me enlightened. Bye-bye S-Z’s, it’s been real. Honestly, we will be buying and drinking more sauv blanc and riesling–which, we already love both–simply because of the Mineralite. The last thing my trip down this wine rabbit hole needed was any kind of accelerant.
My notes for the nose on the Grassl’s include “more focused, detailed, complete, & expressive”; “well-integrated”; “no heat”; “very present & defined”; “rounder & less opaque”; “immediate & in ‘higher relief’”; “floral and fruit elements of the aromatics are emphasized”; “smoother, cleaner, brighter, sweeter” (in the textural as opposed to sugary aromatic context). For the palate, they included “concise, holds the elements together better”; “sets the acid as the ‘spine’”; “rounder & smoother”; “not as angular/edgy”; “silky, lifted, more transparent”; “better depth & clarity”; “more revealing of both the best and worst aspects of the wines”; “silkier, cleaner, longer finish”. My notes for the S-Z’s were all more or less variations of “these suck, in comparison.”
As for comparing the Grassl’s to others in the same tier, I also tried the Liberte, 1855, Zalto Universal, and Glasvin Universal (and the lowly, now-exiled S-Z cab glass) in a tasting of 7 syrahs (a mix of N.Rhone, CA, and Aussie). The Liberte just edged out the Zalto as my preferred choice. The 1855 was solid, but the nose was more diffuse and the aromas didn’t quite leap from the glass as compared to the Liberte or Zalto. On the palate, the wines also showed a bit softer and rounder out of the 1855. I found the Glasvin to be more focused on the nose and the palate than the 1855, but it emphasized the darker, earthier, low-register notes, as opposed to the higher tones of fruit and the silkiness and floral aspects that I got from the Grassl’s and Zalto. For the record, I could easily see how one might prefer the Zalto, Glasvin, or 1855 to the Liberte, though, and wouldn’t argue the choice at all. (As for the wines, my fave 2 were the 2015 Domaine Pichat Cotes de Verenay Coll.Rhod. and the 2016 Skylark Roger’s Creek.)
I also did a Liberte vs 1855 comparison using rioja & rhone blends and cab & bordeaux blend. As with the syrahs, I thought the riojas and rhones showed better in the Liberte, for the same reasons cited above. But I again could easily understand how one might prefer the 1855. For the cab/bordeaux blend, it was 1855 all the way.
I had zero problems hand washing all the Grassl’s using a soft sponge and sponge/foam cleaning brush, and hand-drying with microfiber towel. I’ve always hand-washed our glasses, because our dishwasher is cheap, old, and generally sucks. So the adjustment for the Grassl’s was just to use a gentler more cautious touch. Probably a good thing to cultivate, considering our 1st kid is on the way.
Cheers to Chris on developing a wonderful line of stemware, and big shout out for providing excellent customer service!