Borosilicate Glass RedDot design award winner 2012
Mouth-blown and formed by hand in the UK, without the use of molds. Due to the extensive work required to make each piece, decanters are only produced in limited runs of 20, four times per year.
Why 13° 60° 104°? The three possible angles at which the decanter can sit.
At 13 degrees, the decanter begins the evening sober. As drinking progresses, at 60 degrees the decanter is a little tipsy. By the end of the evening, it sits at a drunken 104 degrees.
Wine evolves with age – constantly changing, gaining complexity. But its full range is rarely experienced.
Wine changes most once the cork is out, once air touches the liquid. The flavour transforms. But all too often the bottle is empty before the wine reaches its peak, because the rate at which the wine is drunk is greater than that of the transforming flavours.
The 13° 60° 104° encourages oxygen into the wine with every turn, as the liquid moves. And the wine's potential flavours can emerge.
The man behind the Saltoun Supper Club Arno Maasdorp, appreciates the three concave bases. They remind him of the deep punts at the bottom of an expensive bottle of wine. Arno knows that the correct way to hold a bottle of wine is by the bowl (not the neck). He can hold the 13° 60° 104° decanter in this way. The thumb sits inside the punt.
Arno observes how the three angles can hold different wine bottle sizes. The upright position measures a standard bottle, the middle position holds a Demi ('half' in French) and the decanter in the downward position needs a refill.
“That’s very good”, offers the understated designer. “It’s bloody genius, that’s what it is”, corrects Arno.
Sometimes when decanting an expensive bottle of wine, sediment can enter the decanter. In this case the decanter’s back and forth pouring movement can be minimised so that the sediment is not disturbed.
The scientific bit The decanters are free blown on a lathe by a lamp worker, at a scientific laboratory glassware manufacturer, who normally make chemistry apparatus. We believe that we have found the only man in the country with the skill to make the 13° 60° 104°. Borosilicate glass is more resistant to thermal shock than other glass. Borosilicate is referred to as 'hard glass' and has a higher melting point (approximately 1650 degrees Celsius) than 'soft glass'. Because the decanters are hand made, there is variation between pieces and small air bubbles sometimes form, normally in the 13° base - a desirable sign that they are not produced by machine. Because of the incredible difficulty in making a decanter and our exceptional standards, we remove a number of factory seconds from each batch.
White wine decanters - photographed by John R Ward.