For anyone familiar with ASI sommelier contests, Julia Scavo needs no introduction. The Romanian born sommelier has represented her home country admirably over the years at ASI competitions. Not surprising as this highly distinguished sommelier comes from both a strong educational and service background. Prior to her wine career, Julia obtained a Degree and educational master level (CAPES) in Mathematics. In addition to her consistently high ranking in various ASI contests, she also has numerous wine and hospitality certifications and awards to her credit including a Sommelier diploma (François Rabelais Hospitality School, Lyon), BTEC Higher National Diploma in Wine, Spirits, and Beverages’ Trade and Marketing (ICOP Aubagne) DipWSET (graduated with “Distinction, “Gérard Basset Memorial Prize”, Saké Sommelier Certified (Saké Sommelier Association), ASI Gold Diploma (2017), and Master of Port (2017).
Since 2014, Julia has worked with the Chef&Sommelier Team to consult on the creation and promotion of new glass ranges for sommeliers. She has mostly been involved in the Reveal´Up range as a brand ambassador but has also given input on other products and ranges, such LYS Exaltation and Macaron. We can think of no one better suited to talk about the impact of glassware on the food and wine pairing paradigm.
ASI: Let’s begin with basics of selecting the right glass to serve a wine.
Julia: The two essential elements to define a good wine glass are its shape and the material used, which both should encourage the maximum of subtle details in a wine to come through. The lighter and fruitier the wine, the more rounded the middle of the chalice should be, while oakier, fuller-bodied wines will be better expressed in a glass with a larger and more spherical bottom. One should serve youthful wines that need to oxygenate, in a more angular chalice, to quickly boost their whole potential, while, on the other hand, a gentle, seamless curve of the chalice will better serve a mature wine, that could be damaged by too much oxygen.
– The more volatile aromas of a wine, the smaller the volume of the chalice (the main body of the wine glass) should be.
– The top of the chalice must taper inward to concentrate aromas
– The chalice must have a suitable, thin rim to place the wine on the desired zones of the palate depending on its stylistic.
– The research laboratory of Chef&Sommelier has been working on innovative solutions for almost 200 years. Certified laboratories have elected Krysta®, the patent crystallin from Chef&Sommelier, as the most efficient material for the glasses. It has shown the most effective qualities in terms of transparency, brightness, and resistance.
ASI: Selecting glasses for a wine is one thing, but it’s another when selecting them for an entire beverage program. Do you have any tips?
Julia: It does all depend on the products served, but for still wines I suggest having 4 glass styles on hand for still table wines: 2 selections for mature, fully developed wines, and 2 for youthful or young developing wines. You will also want a specific glass for sparkling wines and a 30 cl sized glass for sweet and fortified wines. Not to mention, specific glasses for beer, saké (I recommend at two shapes for sake: one for Junmai and one for styles expressing “ginjo- kā” character.
ASI: Beyond shape and function what are some other considerations when selecting glassware.
Julia: Some other criteria when choosing glassware for one´s establishment:
– Sturdiness. Choose glasses resistance to the shocks and torsion caused by polishing.
– Consider storage. Avoid the extremely big glasses to cut down on storage needs.
– Adapt to the place. Adapt the number of selections to the style of the restaurant.
– Transparency and durability. Certified laboratories have elected Krysta®*, the patent crystallin from Chef&Sommelier, as the most efficient material for the glasses. They are also durable. *
*Krysta® glasses have a perfectly flat foot that will save polishing time, since it does not accumulate any drop of water in the washing machine, and therefore there is no need to dry it manually. They remain as transparent as on the first day… during 2000 washing cycles and are 30% stronger than competing glasses!
ASI: There is currently a lot of debate about what glass to serve Traditional Method and other sparkling wines in. What are your thoughts?
Julia: Neither the Champagne coupe, nor the flute, or even a wine glass is efficient. The Champagne coupe preserves tiny bubbles, which is most appreciated, but the aromas are completely dispersed, with almost no olfactory perception. The flute offers a single stream of bubbles, each growing from the bottom to the top and arriving enlarged on the surface. A burning sensation inside the nostrils is noticeable due to extreme concentration of the carbon dioxide cloud in the few space left on the top. This activates unpleasant trigeminal excitation leading to the above-mentioned burning effect and tearing eyes. A half-filled wine glass will provide very few bubbles because these glasses usually do not have the laser marking that allows to maintain the stimulation of the bubbling process. That said, this shape is appreciated in Champagne for its advantage of concentrating the aromas.
In my opinion, the LYS Exaltation is the essential product to have. It generates an elegant dance of small festive bubbles, sourcing them from every single point of the liquid. It can effectively boost the aromas onto the surface, to allow a multilayer perception and offer an olfactory panel like no other glass. It invisibly brews all the liquid, picking every single aroma from each point of the sparkling wine. Thanks to his very fine and slightly flattened rim, it gently brings the wine straight on the mid-palate.