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The Wine Glass That Stands Out by Focusing on What’s Inside
In a world of identical stemware, the MARKTHOMAS Allround is light, sturdy, and gaining ground among sommeliers in the know.
Since Austrian designer Thomas Zichtl founded MARKTHOMAS in 2012, elite dining destinations have adopted the company’s wine glasses, including Michelin three-starred restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Spain and Minneapolis’s cozy Bachelor Farmer. The sides of the handblown Allround are only about a half-millimeter thick, making the glass lighter than most. Gently beveled curves near the base of the bowl aren’t merely cosmetic; the design creates a larger surface area to aerate the wine and highlight its flavors.
At $60 per glass, the MARKTHOMAS Allround is within range of the top-shelf options from Riedel and Zalto, two other Austrian names that dominate the market. (Spiegelau, another well-known glassmaker, was acquired by Riedel in 2004.) Riedel specializes in specific varietal glasses and has become a wedding registry staple, but its Sommeliers series includes glasses for rare whites and reds that cost three figures. Zalto, like Riedel, has been around for decades. Lately, its $59 Denk’Art Universal glasses have become a status symbol at wine-focused restaurants such as New York’s Charlie Bird and Le Bernardin.
The glass’s eye-catching design doubles as a functional feature: If you’re a purist, the (upper) bend marks a precise 6-ounce pour. Despite its lightweight feel, holding one is an easy balancing act; the bigger-than-average base gives you a sense of stability when you set it down. The glass is also lead-free, so it’s dishwasher-safe and won’t cloud with multiple washings. Best of all, the thin walls and maximized surface area give the nose a boost, making the glass ideal for medium-bodied wines, whether French pinot noirs or California chenin blancs.
Bloomberg Pursuits online
The Glass: MARKTHOMAS Double Bend Allround
Two distinct bends in these handblown crystal glasses created by Austrian designer Thomas Zichtl set them apart from the rest.
1. Always Be Swirling
The second bend in the glass denotes a full pour, and the rounded bottom helps the wine “move more harmoniously in a conical shape” as you swirl to better aerate it, says Zichtl.
2. Embrace Curves
The first bend marks a perfect tasting portion, but Caleb Ganzer, sommelier at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in New York, also loves that it exposes more wine to air, “making it pop more in the glass.”
3. Invest in Stems
Austin Bridges, the sommelier behind Enoteca Nostrana in Portland, Oregon, considers the stem a pedestal for your wine. “Think about smelling and examining a flower without a stem,” he says. The long stem also gives you more control when sipping from the glass.
Associate Restaurant Editor
FOOD & WINE online
Last month, the managing partner and wine director of La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, arguably the hottest industry hangout in NYC, hosted an invite-only launch party.
It wasn’t for a new wine import. It was to celebrate a line of glassware from an under-the-radar Austrian label, MARKTHOMAS. Attendees were greeted at the door with a glass of Krug “Grand Cuvée,” and encouraged to bring their own bottles to try MARKTHOMAS's Double Bend glassware series, sans corkage fee.
“I have zero stake in these glasses or this business,” La Compagnie’s Caleb Ganzer wrote in his email invitation. “I just think they’re sick stems.”
Most people, myself included, would balk at the idea of a $60 wine glass. But when I saw these new Double Bend crystal glasses from Austrian maker MARKTHOMAS, they were so beautiful, so thin and lightweight, that I began to think they might be worth the price for their “wow” factor alone. It turns out there’s a lot more to recommend them.
Because they’re made of lead-free crystal, these glasses can go through unlimited dishwasher cycles without clouding up. (I was surprised to learn they were dishwasher-safe at all!) They’re also slightly shorter than comparable glasses and have a slightly larger base, both of which add to their stability (good for somewhat clumsy people like me). And if they do fall, they have a chance of surviving, because the mouth-blown crystal literally bends a bit to the touch, making the glasses less likely to break.
As for the two bends in the bowl, they’re not meant as simple design flourishes. They mark the perfect tasting pour (1.5 oz.) and the perfect serving pour (6 oz.). That’s definitely more useful to restaurateurs than to the rest of us, but the bend at the serving level also marks the widest point in the bowl, so if you stop pouring there, you get the maximum surface exposure, helping to aerate the wine more quickly.
I get that, but I’m not sure I get the claims that the bottom bend and the particular design of the bowl where it meets the stem work together to “lift” the aromatics of the wine. I generally have a hard time believing that glass shape changes a wine’s taste, or maybe I’m just not enough of a connoisseur.
Sommelier Ryan Arnold, of the Paris Club Bistro & Bar in Chicago, who has been testing the Double Bend glass, is a believer. “When I tried wine out of the glass—and I often taste the same wine out of four or five glasses—what I noticed was how focused the aromatics were, especially when tasting more delicate varietals,” he says.
Whether or not that’s the case doesn’t really matter to me. I love the lines and the near weightlessness of these glasses, and showing them off to my guests will provide a pleasure of its own."
"These days the remarkable low prices for wine and other glasses has made it irrational not to buy good quality for everyday use. But I cannot imagine [anyone] not feeling giddy if given these MARKTHOMAS hand-blown, lead-free crystal glasses [imported from Austria] of such beauty and lightness... But they are also quite sturdy, even to being put into a home dishwasher.
They are designed so that wine, Champagne, or beer appeals to the nose, eye, touch, and feel, while maximizing aroma and taste. The unique double-bend design outlines the measurement for a perfect pour: the first bend indicates the ideal amount for a wine tasting, the second bend ideal for the average pour size for restaurants and wine connoisseurs.
I loved the wine glasses but, even more, I found the beer glass so convincing, so elegant and such a perfect fit to my hand that I doubt I shall ever drink a brew from anything else in the future.
The glasses are not inexpensive -- they rank with some of the top-of-the-line Riedel -- but the MARKTHOMAS series offers more in terms of design and utility."
Chief Editor - Mariani´s Virtual Gourmet Newsletter
Journalist, Food & Wine Critic, Travel Correspondent
Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Esquire Magazine
Newsletter: June 14, 2015
DOUBLE BEND | WINE GLASS | REVOLUTION
Note: the following can be found in its original (and more elegant) form - including professional multimedia layout(s) - at the SUPERSENSE/MARKTHOMAS microsite: markthomas.supersense.com (with a German - English translation, similar to the text below).
It was love at first sip. At the awesome restaurant [ Taubenkobel ] of our dear friends Babsi Eselböck and Alain Weißgerber, a married couple, we devoured wine out of these wonder-glasses for the first time... and it was clear to us that from this time on, it will be difficult to find other wine glasses with a comparable super-sensory experience to enjoy.
To this day we don't really know why every single sip feels so magical, but sometimes you have to resign from in-depth comprehension and just enjoy things instead. What we do know by now is the "WHO" that stands behind both this mysterious glass, as well as the MARKTHOMAS brand. He is a devoted wine-lover and visionary from Vienna - and now belongs to our superheroes team of the most analog mavericks - whom we proudly present as our friend: Thomas Zichtl [the owner & designer of MARKTHOMAS GmbH ].
The concept of these glasses is, as it is so often, genially simple - and as a result, simply genius. Thomas has been a very successful wine merchant for many years, and also the co-owner of a vineyard for a short period of time. A real wine lover and expert who has supplied and advised many high end restaurants, especially in London. In doing so he consistently provided his clients with premium glasses - from another Austrian glassmaker - and soon the demand for those glasses was almost larger than the competitive business of filling them up.
That development made Thomas ponder on the design of the perfect wine glass. His interest was not just focused on the appearance, but on the ultimate functionality of the glass. A larger foot [e.g. base] with a well proportioned stem - for perfect balance and stability - and glass walls [of the bowl] that are exceptionally thin. Of course, the stemware is dishwasher safe but - MOST IMPORTANTLY - it is the innovative shape of this glass which allows for the perfect enjoyment of wine, by revealing the true characteristics of the wine and its terroir.
After many attempts the unique & eponymous shape was developed: the DOUBLE BEND. The first bend, which extends the walls of the glass outward, enhances the release of the flavors and aromas (for tastings); this is followed by a perfectly curved zone area (similar to a cone), which continues the outward extension of the glass walls, allows for optimal aeration of the wine; and finally, the second bend, tapering the walls of the glass back inward, helps to bring the flavors and aromas back into focus for both the mouth and nose.
It is therefore understandable, that more and more wine producers are turning to the innovative Double Bend glasses for their professional tastings, as well as for personal use. They've convinced themselves that this stemware delivers the power, complexity & finesse of their favorite wines, and in a uniquely transparent and expressive manner - simply genius.
Having established the shape and unique mechanics on the drawing board, the quest began, to find a glass manufacturer that was daring enough to face the challenging production of the first MARKTHOMAS glasses. For many decades Central Europe was (and still is) the center for the finest glassmakers & artisans around. So it was no surprise that Thomas - with his uncompromising ideas and revolutionary design - also found glassblowing experts in this area to produce his glassware, and with the desired precision and highest quality he required.
Many hundred kilos of shards, tears, sweat and money were shed, before the very first perfect Double Bend Allround was ready to present. Since then, the factory has produced thousands of glasses through tedious, handcrafted labor - including new products & designs developed by Thomas - which are out to conquer the world (by way of Vienna). They not only find their way into exclusive restaurants, but into renowned wine cellars & private homes as well.
Please accept our warmest invitation to visit us at the SUPERSENSE "Palast" [a former Viennese palace, located in the heart of the city] to experience the mesmerizing uniqueness of MARKTHOMAS Double Bend stemware at our cafe and/or onsite restaurant [ Dogenhof ].
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