Last week I went to Triennale Design Museum in Milan, and I visited the Third Interpretation by Alessandro Mendini: “Quali cose siamo”. It is a collection of objects, apparently piled up in a chaotic way, full of quotes, hints and combinations that stimulate your curiosity… Among these objects there are ones related to the world of wine: I’ve chosen two of them that I really liked.
The first one is a special glass designed by Gumdesign in 2006: Swing glass, a sort of rocking glass. It is a usual wine glass with just a special detail: the basis of the glass is parabolic, that means that when you fill this glass it begins to swing, literally. This movement can be reproduced very easily during the dinner just by touching it softly. This device allows a perfect and continue oxygenation and decantation of the wine. But, as my professor suggested to me, it reproduces also the feeling you have when you have drunk too much! Game and function are well combined in this object.
[If you look in Gumdesing’s website you’ll find another wine object – which doesn’t find place in Triennale Exhibition – :
“Calici Emozionali“, three different glasses with a hole at different levels, one for the abstemious person, one for the balanced one and one for the immoderate drinker; here too the element of game is predominant.]
The second object I noticed in Triennale is a wine produced by Sandro Chia. He is a very important artist of the second half of the last century and his works are exhibited in a lot of museums around the world. He landed in the world of wine by chance, when he bought an estate in Tuscany, Castello Romitorio. The wine exhibited in Triennale is called “Costanza“, and it is a blend of Vermentino and Chardonnay. The peculiar thing of Chia’s wines is the fact that each label is different from the others and they are painted by the artist. That makes his wines loved by collectors.
It’s interesting to think that such a unique object (but not unique product, since, although the label, the wine is the same in every bottle) is exhibited in a Design Museum, where you would expect to find a praise to reproducibility and mass production…
It is true that physics is present in our daily life: that’s what Acquacalda design suggests with its “Applied physics” projects. One of them is related to the world of wine…
One for all, all for one is a wine dispenser thought for being put in the middle of the table. It uses the Pascal principle, for which “the pressure exerted on a fluid enclosed in a container is transmitted unchanged at any point of the fluid and at the walls of the container that contains it“. To sum up: every person who sit around the table will receive the same quantity of wine in his glass!
Have you ever seen this strange object similar to a silver cup?!
I remember that I saw two of them for the first time in my grandparents’ house, and I played with my sister pretending that they were cups of tea… But one day my grandmother explained to me the real function of that funny object.
In the past, but in some cases still today, in wine cellars there was quite no light. Winemakers and sommeliers needed something to judge maturity, clarity and color of wine. In fact the little concave parts allowed to make the most of the few light for example of a candle. Winemakers could see which wine they were tasting, and they could appreciate its transparency.
Another important function was the oxygenation of wine, again thanks to the interchange of concave and convex bottoms.
The usefulness of this little object was multiple because it was little and unbreakable, and so it could be used and carried everywhere.
Nowadays there’s no more need for tastevin, because the conditions of wine cellars have changed, but sommeliers use it as a symbol, and wear it around the neck for example in official cerimonies.
One of the most important thing in wine tasting is the glass you use: a wrong glass could nullify months of hard work.
Since this sensitivity has grown, several firms have begun to produce specific glasses. One of them is Riedel, an Austrian firm specialized in glasses and decanters, all handmade.
Riedel studied a glass for every kind of wine, even for Teroldego. You can find them in their Wine and Glass Guide!
As a contrast to this approach Eoos, a Viennese design studio, thought a universal tasting glass for Alessi: Alberto’s Vineyard, a synthesis of a white-wine glas and a red-wine glas. One side of the glas is made in order to keep inside and concentrate the aroma, while the other half opens outwards, liberates fragrance and lets the wine oxygegnate.
Eoos said that the interesting thing in this glass is the possibility to “create wine”, because wine is still developing when you use this glass and you can transform it just by rotating the glass. This is an ironical glass, but there’s the idea, behind it, of a glass which can helps you to learn something by yourself, and not listening to someone “expert”.
From the drinking side it is interesting to see how we can drink wine at different levels. Everyone can buy a bottle of wine and drink it, but, since wine is a complex product, everyone can understand different things and feel different sensations.
When you become more and more expert in wine tasting it is sometimes hard to remember every taste and every wine you have drunk. Moleskine helps us with its new “Wine Journal“, which is part of the “Passions” collection. Thanks to this helpful notebook you can take note of every wine you have tasted, rate it, add personal notes and so on, and create your own wine guide.