I had a chance to test this glass while Skurniks (with whom I was associated for many years) were considering becoming the importer. Thankfully they did, and I have found the glass indispensible to our wine-drinking lives. We still do our wines in two different glasses, and we continue to find the “Jancis” glass (and I hope Ms. Robinson doesn’t mind my referring to it thus) is distinctly preferable most of the wine. It is nearly always preferable to the Zalto “Universal,” which in my view it has entirely superseded. Here’s my original report:
In essence, the glass digitally remasters any wine you pour into it. Every single type of wine I drank from it was rendered clearer, more brilliant, pixilated and vibrant.
Just as there are people who prefer the warm analogue sound of vinyl, there are instances where the almost brash clarity of the JR glass is perhaps unwelcome. However, the glass is fundamentally successful, in stark contrast to the aforementioned Zalto “Universal” which splits apart the structure and cohesion of most wines and hurls them onto the floor like a chaos of jigsaw puzzle pieces.
To the wines:
2007 Winkeler Jesuitengarten Riesling Spätlese – Spreitzer. Control glass was the basic Spiegelau white-wine 1.0. The wine was markedly and definitively better in the JR, more aromatic, less sweet-seeming.
2004 Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese - Dönnhoff. Control glass again the Spiegelau. The wine was richer in the smaller glass but very good in both, with more tertiary aromas/flavors from JR. This repeated a general tendency for wines to be juicier in a tulip-shape and silkier in the JR.
2015 Riesling Spiegel. - Berger. Control glass was again the Spiegelau. The wine was good from both. The JR spreads it out into detailed pixels, whereas the control glass made it juicier and spicier, more hedonistic. From the JR it was more filigree and expressive. Question of preference.
2015 Gelber Muskateller - Schwarzböck. Control glass again the Spiegelau, from which this wine was delightfully sharp and herbal, whereas from the JR it was mintier and more mineral, finer, but perhaps not aligned with the nature of this particular wine. You don’t want to study so much as guzzle a wine like this.
2016 Grüner Veltliner Thal. - Hiedler. Control glass the same Spiegelau. For the first time the control glass was preferable. JR did its thing, refining the aroma, but it also recalled the Zalto’s habit of coarsening a wine, whereas the control glass, while less vivid, was juicier and more compact. The JR glass is reliably hi-def and at times that isn’t what you want.
2007 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett - Selbach-Oster. Control glass the same. This (excellent) wine was notably more complex from JR, yet from the control glass it was less sweet-seeming and more spritzy. Call it a draw.
2011 Riesling Heiligenstein - Gobelsburg. A below-threshold cork in this bottle. Same control glass. The JR was far better.
2016 Forster Ungeheuer “Im Ziegler” Riesling. Trocken. - Eugen Müller. Same control glass, and as could by now be predicted, it was more detailed and elegant from the JR and juicier from the control glass. One glass presented a more lovable wine, the JR a more “Grand Cru” type wine.
2014 Blaufränkisch Leithaberg. - Prieler. Control glass was the Riedel “Chianti Classico,” and here it boiled down to a question of taste; JR was of course more vivid (almost blatant) and brilliant but Riedel was more seductive, unfolding, almost creamy, with JR being saltier and showing dustier tannin.
2013 Chevalier-Montrachet. - Philippe Colin. Here the control glass was the Spiegelau white-wine 2.0, same shape but larger. And here was a wine I knew to be unbalanced (over-alcoholic and with unknit barrel tones). So what would happen? It was actually really yummy in the control glass (to my great surprise) whereas the JR made it saltier, more medicinal, clearer as always but not to this wine’s advantage, which was clearly better sheltered from its flaws in the more merciful Spiegelau.
2015 St Laurent. - Sattler. Control glass was the Spiegelau red-wine; great aroma from both, clearer and more herbal from JR and more luscious from the control glass. JR gave a real boost to the Southern Rhône element of St-L. I found it a nicer drink from the control glass but it works from both, and the JR would be my preference in a restaurant.
1964 Thörnicher Enggaß-Ritsch Riesling Feinste Auslese. - Ludes. Back to the Spiegelau white-wine control glass. This was a real gob-smack: this wine was da BOMB from the JR, entirely more vivid and complex and greener (verbena, anise-hyssop,lime, wintergreen), and while the control glass was very good, it was fabulous to study this masterpiece from a glass that did full justice to it. Subsequently I have found that the JR glass utterly adores old wine, red or white, and for such wines it is perhaps the finest glass ever designed.
WASHING UP: I washed the glass by hand as I do all my wine glass. I handled it somewhere between babying it and washing it roughly. It felt delicate, and would need tender hands from restaurant staff, but the same is true of the Zalto and that glass….well, you know what I think of it by now.
I think a plausible case can be made that the JR is truly an all-purpose glass that can eliminate the need for ninety different stems. I’m confident that field-testing would continue to yield best results from JR about 90% of the time. As best I can determine they’re sold exclusively into the trade, but someone please inform me if they can be bought by “civilians.”
Kudos to Skurniks for a really outstanding pickup.