So, here's a vulnerable process for you. I wrote this story for Black Ink and it was my first story killed in ages. It's a horrible feeling for a writer, it's like, what did I do wrong!
What I did wrong is that I took the assignment when I just had that feeling it wasn't going to work. There other stories I wanted to do more, others I felt were more right for the issue. But do I love Zalto?
Yes I do.
And do I think I had something to offer to the Zalto literature out there as almost everything is recycled press release. Well, yes I do. So here you go-a little tweaked for a less spendy audience and more true to my pocketbook. I am recylcing Black Inks leftovers to you. Hey, sometimes I love leftovers for breakfast, don't you?
I first saw wine glass perfection in Austria, in the Wachau. I picked up the glass, and knew that the beautifully aged Gruner Veltliner, 1999 Nikolaihof im Weingebirge had met its match. The glass was designed in Austria and at that time still made there. Its form was a little odd, more fez-like than bowl-like. Its stem was bouncy, balanced and fine as a violin bow, light as a hummingbird’s bones. Its rim was as honed as my favorite knife. This wasn’t merely a wine glass; it was a precision instrument that bordered on the spiritual and it was out of my price point. At $60 a stem, did I really need these in my life?
Stephan Schindler, owner of the online wine store, Wine Monger, was the first to import the Zalto Denk’Art glassware stateside. “Not much is known about Kurt Zalto,” he said, “except that generations before his family came to Austria, his roots were Venetian. He was an artist more than a business man.” Zalto’s legacy was that a few years before the sold his company in 2006, he tapped a wine obsessed priest, Father Hans Denk to help design the glass.
For inspiration, Father Denk looked to ancient Rome. He based the geometric bowl for that initial universal glass on 24, 48 and 72 degrees, angles tied to the Earth's tilt axis, according to the architectural savvy ancient Romans. Lead-free, hand-blown in one spectacular piece, the end result is a glass that is fragile yet strong, elegant yet dishwasher safe. When the company changed hands, the priest went back to his duties, tasting wines and holding mass in the Wachau.
The current line of stemware, decanters and spittoons have wormed their way into the cellars and cupboards obsessive wine geeks around the world. Like their competitors, Denk’Art now offers shapes from champagne to bordeaux , but for many of us, the universal glass does it all. It’s my favorite champagne glass, and it works damned perfectly for Barolo as well. In short, yes, I needed them. Pascaline Lepeliter of the restaurant Rouge Tomate, a fan of the line and that particular shape, put it this way, “You feel there is nothing between you and the wine.” In the end, designed by a priest the Zalto is a glass than even an atheist can love. ---Alice Feiring