This tastevin or wine tasting cup was made by the famous Paris silversmiths Cailar, Bayard & Cie, which was founded by Noel Cailar and Pierre Bayard in 1848. In 1934 the firm went into liquidation and was absorbed by the premier French firm Christofle. Christofle liked this design for a tastevin very much and continued to produce it through the 1930’s. The marks, which are on the thumb rest, are very tiny but can be seen by zooming photo number 3. The mark on the left is CAILAR BAYARD and the mark on the right is METAL ARGENTE which is French for silver plate.
The word tastevin means “taste wine” in French. It is a shallow cup that was originally designed for wine makers to taste their vintages in their dark wine cellars. By using these cups made of shiny metals, the vintners could more easily judge the clarity and color of their wines. Occasionally a sommelier will wear a tastevin on a chain or ribbon as an emblem of his or her profession. The sommelier can use the cup to sample the wine before it is brought to your table to ensure that it has not turned.
This elegant cup is in absolutely gorgeous condition, with no wear to the silver at all. The cup measures almost three inches in diameter with a thumb rest a little over an inch long. The cup stands ¾ inch tall. It is accompanied by a 30 inch long sterling silver rope chain, weighing a total of 13.6 grams and marked “Italy” and “925” on the tab next to the jump ring that attaches the lobster clasp. It, too, is in excellent condition.
If you or someone you admire is a wine aficionado, this is a truly stunning antique wine accessory and a gift to treasure.