The Riedel family has never stamped its name on a single bottle of wine. But over the past 50 years, this Austrian clan of master glassmakers has done more to enhance the oenophile's pleasure than almost any winemaking dynasty. The Riedel revolution began in the 1960s, when the firm created the world's first line of wine glasses shaped specifically for different grape varieties. Now Riedel has designed a new set of lead-crystal decanters inspired by the bird life of Murano, the Venetian island famed for its glassware. The three decanters boast an avian grace: the Swan's swooping body, the Flamingo's long slender neck and the Paloma's dove-like curves. And as with any Riedel product, they are masterpieces of function as well as form. Exposing wine to oxygen for a few hours before pouring can improve its taste (thanks to a chemical reaction known as aeration), so each of the $480 decanters has been shaped to maximize a wine's contact with the air as you empty the bottle into it.
Although the decanters might look unwieldy the Swan and Flamingo stand two feet (0.6 m) tall they are perfectly balanced to prevent spillage. So you won't lose a drop when you're filling your dinner guests' glasses. www.riedel.com