May 21 - Luxury crystal glassmaker Baccarat begins sales of new wine glasses in Hong Kong, where wine demand remains strong despite global economic uncertainty. Cathy Yang reports.
The art, the joy, of drinking fine wine. Wine lovers usually enjoy their sip of liquid gold based around the grape, the vintage and consistency. But that's not all, says Château Baccarat, one of the collections from fine crystal glassmaker Baccarat Crystal. The French company has designed a new glass shaped like a closed tulip blossom - with a broad base and sloping sides. It's supposed to keep the alcohol from masking the aromas in fine wine. SOUNDBITE (English) CHATEAU BACCARAT TECHNICAL ADVISER, BRUNO QUENIOUX, SAYING: "People tend to confuse good wine with alcohol in wine, which is not what we want. The most important thing is to control the alcohol. What we did with the Baccarat glasses, Chateau Baccarat, is to find back this old message, is to put back the balance between the fire and the water." The glasses went on sale in France earlier this year and are now being sold in Hong Kong, which has emerged as Asia's wine drinking capital and regional hub for the trade. So is this the new shape of things to come for wine lovers - a glass worth at least 25 percent more than rivals in the market? Traditional Austrian glassmaker Riedel insists different grape varieties merit different types of wine. SOUNDBITE (English) RIEDEL CRYSTAL HONG KONG DISTRIBUTOR, SURESH KANJI, SAYING: "I think as people start appreciating wine more, that they will appreciate a pinot glass, a Cabernet glass, a Shiraz glass. They're all a little bit different. The big bowl - great for red wine. The smaller glasses - good for white wine. Every glass was fine-tuned for the specific DNA of what you're drinking." We checked out the new glasses with Hong Kong Master of Wine Debra Meiburg to see what she really thinks. SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS TV CORRESPONDENT CATHY YANG AND MASTER OF WINE DEBRA MEIBURG SAYING: "If you only have limited space in your cupboard, which glasses would you have?" SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS TV CORRESPONDENT CATHY YANG AND MASTER OF WINE DEBRA MEIBURG SAYING: "I'm a Burgundy lover, Barolo lover, for me I'd probably go with this glass. But in general my advice will be Bordeaux shape for the red wine glass." SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS TV CORRESPONDENT CATHY YANG AND MASTER OF WINE DEBRA MEIBURG SAYING: "Even for taking a Burgundy? How come?" SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS TV CORRESPONDENT CATHY YANG AND MASTER OF WINE DEBRA MEIBURG SAYING: "A glass helps manipulate the flavour and the aroma. But of course any glass would work. But just as you would prefer not to drink your coffee in a paper cup, it's always nicer to have the right quality of glass." So the glass does matter for enjoying fine wines. In the end, it all boils down to a matter of personal taste. Cathy Yang, Reuters.