Posted on January 23rd, 2015
Set of two 45cl Essence red wine glasses, £27 from Bear & Bear
If you take wine seriously, you probably already know that there’s a lot more to enjoying it than simply pouring it into the first drinking vessel you can find.
So why does the way we drink wine have such an impact on its flavour? The right glass will enhance the colour and aroma of your wine, making it an altogether more pleasurable experience to drink. In this article we’ll look at the glasses best suited to each type of wine, so you can be sure to wow your guests with your knowledge next time you’re playing host:
General wine glass tips
Opt for the clearest and thinnest glass you can afford. Glasses etched or frosted may be pretty to look at, but they won’t help to boost the wine’s qualities. Crystal in particular will enhance a wine’s appearance, while a thin rim will create less interference with the tasting, and glasses which are tapered at the top help to hold in scent. Once you have your glass, avoid filling it more than half full for non-sparkling wines, in order to allow you room to swirl and release the wine’s aroma.
For white wine
White wine glasses should be smaller than red wine glasses, to prevent the wine from warming up too quickly. They should also have straighter edges, in order to concentrate delicate aromas.
Young white wines are best complemented by wider topped glasses, which direct the sweet flavours to the sides of the tongue, while more mature white wines are more better suited to taller, narrower glasses, which direct the more intense flavours towards the back of the mouth.
For red wine
Red wine glasses generally have larger bowls and wider openings than white wine glasses, to give the wine more room to breathe and warm up to room temperature, and the wider the rim the better, as this allows you to dip your nose inside as you drink for maximum aroma. If you’re deciding between two red wine glasses, opt for the wider of the two, as you should ideally leave two thirds of the glass empty to allow adequate aeration.
If your budget allows, you can opt for specific types of red wine glass, matched to particular categories of wine. The ‘Bordeaux’ glass, for example, is taller than traditional wine glasses, but with a smaller bowl. It is designed for full bodied heavier reds, such as cabernets and merlots, and aims to enhance their rich flavour. By contrast, the ‘Burgundy’ wine glass is designed for lighter reds, such as Pinot Noir. It is shorter than the Bordeaux glass, but the bowl is larger and optimised for more delicate tastes.
As rose wines are produced in a similar way to white wines, their ideal glass must satisfy similar criteria. As with white wine glasses, rose wine glasses have small bowls, and they can have either slightly tapered or slightly flared lips depending on whether you are serving young and crisp, or mature and bold, rosé respectively.
For sparkling wine and champagne
It’s best to choose a tall tulip or flute shaped sparkling wine glass to prevent the bubbles from escaping. Although champagne saucers are attractive to look at, they don’t assist with either the fizz or the aroma of sparkling wine.
Dessert wine and fortified wine
Glasses for dessert and fortified wines, such as sherry and port, are typically smaller than standard wine glasses, because they are consumed in smaller quantities due to their high alcohol content. Their size also helps to direct rich flavours to the back of the mouth, in order to prevent the wine’s sweet flavours from becoming overwhelming.
We hope this guide has helped you to select the right glasses for you. Building up your collection can take time, but high quality wine glasses are certainly worth the investment.
With wine glasses come wine, and we have the perfect solutions to help you store yours. Take a look at our wine racks, wine cabinets and cellar racks to make sure your wine is kept in perfect condition, or contact us to find out more about how we can help you with your wine storage.