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Riedel chooses Cabernet glass for tea

An expert tea tasting in London has found the perfect glass for fine artisan tea is the Riedel O Cabernet glass.

At the tasting, Georg Riedel (pictured), CEO of the 300-year-old Austrian glass manufacturer, joined sommeliers and wine journalists to taste three different artisan teas from seven glasses from Riedel’s O range of stemless wine glasses. They included an oaked Chardonnay glass and the TriO, a ‘waisted’ glass.

After eliminations the panel concentrated on the Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet glasses. The most suitable glass selected at the end of the tasting was the O Cabernet.

Riedel, who had been invited to present his glasses by Nadeem and Jameel Lalani of tea importers Lalani and Co, said tea was an unknown quantity to him.

‘I would never drink it,’ he said, but went on to suggest that a glass’s control of the flow of liquid over the palate was as important in tea as wine.

After the tasting he agreed the glass could elevate ‘all the components of the tea’ and said he would work with Lalani to develop this concept further.

He would however be unlikely to develop a range of tea-specific glasses, he told Decanter.com.

‘In order for it to be economically viable you have to a minimum 40,000 glasses machine-made. It is probably too early for that.’

The panel included sommeliers Sunaina Sethi from London’s Trishna – which won its first Michelin star last week, Roberto Della Pietra from Gauthier Soho and Gino Nardella MS of the Stafford Hotel.

Teas tasted were the one-year-aged LaKrysiew Spring Reserve 2011, a Darjeeling 1st Flush, and the hand-rolled Jun Chiyabari from Nepal. All are artisan-produced high-end teas.

Panellists found it difficult to choose one favourite. Riedel for example favoured the Shiraz glass for the LaKrysiew, which Lalani says is known for its ‘long, sweet finish’.

Della Pietra agreed. ‘It was a revelation, lifting all the floral components in the tea.’

The final favourite was the Cabernet glass, pannellists agreeing it brought out the fruity element in the different teas.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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