Château Baccarat Crystal – The Art of Drinking Fine Wine

By Roderick Macabenta
Photography by Kat Silan

Picture the landmark Hotel Niko in downtown San Francisco during a horribly rainy Tuesday evening. Just standing outside for a minute soaked me to the bone, but the trek was well worth it. Château Baccarat Crystal recently launched a new collection of luxury wineglass stemware and was giving an exclusive preview in collaboration with Boisset Family Estates wine hosted by the fabulous Anthony Dias Blue, known to many by his Blue Lifestyle Minute syndicated radio show.

No sooner than I checked in and taken off my coat was I handed a glass of JCB No. 21 (SRP $19.99) in one of the new Baccarat glasses. This particular bubbly was the perfect balance of floral and fruity to take the lack of colour outside away from my attention. Within a matter of minutes of touring the Peninsula room where the tasting seminar took place, I was finished half a glass and ready to sample the fine wines Boisset has to offer.

While I didn’t take notice of the glass at first, I noted the unique trapezoidal shape and thought how feminine and fashionable the silhouette was. I was soon to discover that the glass was not only designed in this fashion, it was engineered with purpose. Anthony Dias Blue soon seated us and began the tasting demonstration to show how the unique shape allows the fullest expression and flavor that the winemakers intended. The setup was a mixture of traditional wineglasses displayed next to the new Baccarat with the various Boisset wines in the traditional glasses. This was intentional to show that the wines we were sampling were indeed the same wine regardless of the glass.

I was skeptical to begin, but from the first tasting of 2009 Buena Vista Carneros Chardonnay (SRP $19.99) I could taste the difference. The California native wine was nice in the traditional glass with subtle hints of fruitiness, but as soon as I transferred it to the Baccarat glass I immediately smelled a difference. There were intense nuances of fragrance allowing me to pick up the crispness of fruits contrasted by the sweetness of vanilla. Tasting it, well let’s just say I’ve never described white wine as creamy until now. The broad base of the glass allows the essences in the wine to spread over a large surface, while the closed angle on top condenses the alcohol to the bottom bringing the aroma to travel through the vertical opening and spread across all the right parts of the tongue giving an even creamy texture without distorting the taste with the taste of alcohol.

The test continued with the 2009 DeLoach Marin Pinot Noir (SRP $34.99) and the same results happened. I usually love pinots, and this one is no exception – the Baccarat glass opened up my senses to the contrast of the dark tonality in fragrance to the mellow and delicate taste. “Wow” was all I could say after tasting this one. But the experiment wasn’t finished here.

“I believe the Cabernet is the most dramatic of them all,” Blue said as we prepare to taste the 2009 Raymond Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $39.99). And as he claimed, it was indeed a very dramatic difference between the glasses. Absolutely full bodied and intense, the wine opened with sweetness, continued with a luxurious dark chocolate taste, and finished with a smooth finish – in other words California wine at its finest.

I have to say for sure that this tasting has transformed someone that isn’t so well versed in wine and food into a believer of Château Baccarat’s products, which are available at any of their boutiques as well as exclusively at Bloomingdales until June. The collection includes red, white, and champagne glasses at $85 per stem, tumblers for $70, and decanters for $495. Taste the difference for yourself if you don’t believe me, but trust that for anyone passionate about fine wine – these glasses are an absolute must have.

Roderick Macabenta (A.K.A. Sardonic Style) is a San Francisco based wardrobe stylist and fashion show producer. His passion is truly for creating breathtaking and innovative imagery by marrying the things that inspire him creatively: music, art, theatre, dance, and (of course) fashion. He studied fashion merchandising and fashion styling at City College of San Francisco after taking a year of photography and colour theory classes at Academy of Art University. In his free time he enjoys being part of a hip hop and jazz dance company collaborating with local artists on promoting art and creativity in the Bay Area, and updating his personal blog and portfolio site (SardonicStyle.com).