That Zalto glassware is structurally sound seems a minor miracle. The featherlight bowl, so fine it dissolves into its surroundings, is held up by a stem not much wider than a lollipop stick. But there’s much more to a Zalto than appearances. Leading sommeliers claim that it enhances the nose and flavor of a wine in a manner unlike any other glassware in the world, a feature that has solidified it as the uncontested favorite among top-tier restaurants. While Zalto wine glasses have only been in production for little more than a decade, the artistry that laid the foundation for the glassware dates back to the 1400s. For six generations, the Zalto family has worked as the leading artisanal glassmakers in Lower Austria’s Neunagelberg, a major wine region. In 2003, Kurt Zalto approached Father Hans Denk, a local priest with a renowned palate for wine, to collaborate on a stemware collection. What resulted was a series of precision-engineered wine glasses, applying Father Denk’s comprehension of wines to Zalto’s glassmaking capabilities and marrying pure form with superlative function. The finely honed craftsmanship behind a Zalto is near impossible to ignore — and it goes a long way toward fostering conditions conducive to best tasting a wine. Whereas machine-made glasses have a rounded lip, Zalto’s glasses are polished down to be flat, essentially dissolving the barrier between mouth and wine and improving delivery to the tippler’s palate. The glasses disappear into the background and let you taste the wine unadulterated by the heft or body of the vessel, says Zalto brand ambassador and award-winning sommelier Aldo Sohm. He says that his first time sipping from the glassware was revelatory. It was like having previously unheard-of clarity about a wine. I didn’t want to drink out of anything else.
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