Putting Julianna Glassware to the Test of Wine
Julianna Glassware & Stemware was founded by Anna Hoferica when she visited her homeland Slovakia and found beautiful glassware made by hand and accessorized with crystals. She fell in love with the product and decided to bring it to the market, creating the Julianna brand, a combination of her own name and her daughter’s Julia.
Slovakia has a long tradition in glassmaking and glasswork and produced famous bohemia crystal (at a time it was still part of Czechoslovakia). Julianna glassware is machine blown and made from a top quality lead-free crystal glass. Then, the ordinary glass is transformed into a sparkling, elegant and stylish piece of artwork. A specific design is marked on each glass and is hand-cut by a glass artist by so-called diamond cut (using a diamond disc). The cutting requires specific skill for the glass not to break and for the design to be consistent. After cleaning the glass, crystal stones are glued on to complete the brilliance of the glassware.
Julianna glassware counts 8 different collections, each with its own engravement design. Each collection comes with various glass shapes and sizes. There’s glasses for red wine, white wine, beer, and brandy. Enough to suit most common drinking practices, and tease the curiosity of wine lovers.
Surprised by the appealing look of the collections and the uncommon shapes of some glasses, I’ve asked Anna to submit her glasses to the test of a fine wine loving palate (and of my long nose), to go through the toughest test of them all for wine glasses: the test of wine.
It’s all fine for wine glasses to look good and shiny, but are they actually enjoyable to use and flattering to the wines? There’s so many good-looking glassware out there that works horribly wrong when proper wine tasting time comes around.
So to test out the Julianna wine glasses, I lined up three red wine glasses. Since two of them are given for being more specific to drinking Burgundy wine, and because I live in New Zealand, I picked a high-end Pinot Noir from Martinborough. The wine is 2013 Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir, which presents a subtle and large aray of different flavor types: from spices (clove, nutmeg), citrus fruit, red fruit, licorice, smoke, to a touch of vegetal character. The perfect guinea pig to try out how each glass shape may reveal and/or accentuate different aromas.
The red wine glass of the Abstract series is an all rounder, given for tasting all types of red wines.
It’s a fairly big glass, though not too big compared to some giant glasses you see at specialized shops. The design is very refined and appealing, with lines that start at the crystal drops and then cross in many random directions. The ‘Abstract’ name makes practical sense.
The opening of the glass is the right size for me. Big enough to stick my big nose into it, but not too open so the aromas can concentrate as the width of the glass narrows towards the opening.
The aromas of our Martinborough Pinot Noir reveal with good precision in that glass. You can distinctively smell each note, none of them dominating therefore leaving the whole spectrum available to the senses. An enjoyable glass to taste with.
The Burgundy red wine wine glass of the ‘Drops of Joy’ series appears bigger, though it probably isn’t all that much bigger. But it’s wider, so is its opening. It could probably host a solid half bottle of wine. But the bottom is narrow so it fills up fairly quickly without too much wine up to the wider section.
While agitating and spinning the wine for tasting, it forms an enjoyable wave that goes in a slow motion around the sides of the glass, like a Mexican wave of wine in a wine glass stadium. It makes the agitation process a little spectacle itself and allows to liberate a lot of aromas that concentrate in the wide section of the glass. The opening is slightly too open for my taste though, but I suppose it allows to smell the aromas more subtly.
Our Pinot Noir smells much fruitier in this glass, and with riper, darker red fruits. Spices are a bit less pronounced with it. So this glass seems to accentuate fruity characters of a Pinot Noir. Probably great for an aged wine, to sustain its weakened fruit aromas, and temper earthiness and spiciness that can become dominating in old Pinots.
The Burgundy red wine glass of the ‘Falling rain’ series is very pretty, and would look great on a fancy sparkly dining table. It looks shiny and refined, the crystal drops twinkling with the sunlight. The glass visually presents the wine nicely too, with a large horizontal section that reveals the color tones very well. The falling rain drops give a nice perspective, embrassing the wine like petals on a flower.
This is less of a technical wine tasting glass however. Spinning the wine is not obvious because the glass is wide, and the opening is a little too wide to treat aromas very precisely. But as a dining glass, it’ll treat your wine with respect, allowing you to taste and drink it nicely with a really positive visual impression at each sip.
Not a huge fan of tasting with this glass, but I have to admit that I really loved its sparkly design that let’s you see the wine in a large surface area and a beautiful crystal stemware.
Overall the standard red wine glass (#1 in this test) is the clear winner for me on this Pinot Noir, despite not being sold as a Burgundy-specific glass. Admitedly, it has a shape proven to be the most approriate for professional-like wine tasting.
But all three glasses are enjoyable to use for drinking wine, and in fact make the experience quite memorable thanks to their distinctive and shiny design.
Submited to the test was also one white wine glass, from the ‘Harvest’ collection. This is the little white brother of the Abstract red glass tested above. Arguably the design may seem a little old-fashioned. You like it or you don’t, but it does look like what a few of our grand-mothers had in their cabinet.
The shape of the glass though works very well for tasting. It’s dense, rather small and precise, great to manipulate, and concentrating flavors nicely. I’ve had the opportunity to use several times on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and it’s equally precise on both. If you don’t like the design of this one, it’s available in other more modern-looking collections.
To learn more about Julianna Glasses and find their glasses to buy, visit JuliannaGlass.com
Find out Social Vignerons’ other reviews of wine accessories.
Header and bottom images, as well as the images of Abstract and Drops of Joy glasses are Copyright of profesional photographer June Brunken at pixgraphix.com. I want to thank her warmly for these beautiful artistic shots.