All You Need to Know About Wine Glass
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
Choosing eating utensils for different types of food is similar to choosing which wine glass to use for different types of wine. Obviously, you would not use a teaspoon to eat spaghetti or a fork for measuring sugar into your tea. Same issue applies on the selection of the right wine glass, since there is a difference between red wine glasses, white wine glasses or champagne glasses. The differences lie on the various sizes and shapes.
There is no strict rule in mixing styles of glasses. However, before starting to add a new glass to your collection, here are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind for enjoyable glassware purchasing.
Why the glass matters?
The wine glass that you choose can enhance or detract from the way you experience the wine. Tasting a wine is an experience for all your senses. The sound of glass being toasted can be like a crystal bell. The stem of the glass feels both delicate and strong. The ripple and bubble on the inside of the glass as you swirl the wine is a lovely sight. The delightful aromas of the wine are like a bouquet before you even take a sip. The fragrant smell also heightens the taste. The relationship between wine and its glass is inseparable.
Who need wine glasses?
For a true connoisseur of fine wine, a complete set of handmade crystal glassware is an investment that will be enjoyed for a lifetime. For those who usually have a few bottles of wine on hand for enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, a set of wine glasses that consist of three basic types (red, white, and sparkling) will be pretty sufficient.
1. Red wine glasses. They are typically larger than white wine glasses and have wider bowl for catching the bouquet of the wine’ aromas. The shape of a red wine glass varies according to the age of the wine.
The proper glass for a young red wine is basically similar to a bodied white wine glass, with a large bowl and a straight lip. You may use the exact same glass for both types of wine.
Bodied and mature red wines are best in a taller glass with a slightly narrower opening in order to better capture the more complicated aromas, while full-bodied and very mature red wines are best enjoyed in a large-sized glass with a wide bowl and tapered mouth. The larger size of this glass allows proper oxygenation to take place in wine that has aged a long time and has developed milder, rounder tastes. This glass is perfect for wines produced from robust grapes, such as sangiovese or cabernet sauvignon.
2. White wine glasses. They have a narrower bowl than red wine glasses in order to better compliment than the lighter, more delicate aromas of white wines. The shape of this type also varies by the age of the wine. For young and crisp white wines, the main characteristic of the glass is the shape of the opening, which should be neatly straight or even slightly flared outward. This shape of glass is meant to properly introduce the flavors of a young, crisp wine to the mouth by directing the wine first to the tip of the tongue for more sensitivity to sweetness and then to the sides of the tongue for more sensitivity to acidity. This shape of glass also directs the aroma of the wine delicately to the nose. However, for bodied and mature white wines, the body of the glass is generally larger as is the mouth of the glass. This allows the more complex aromas of maturity to bloom within the bowl. Unlike the previous glass, the lip of a mature white wine glass does not flare outward and is instead straight. The straight lip of the glass presents the bouquet of the wine to the nose and then directs the wine to the sides and back of the tongue prior to the tip in order to properly showcase the roundness of a bodied wine.
3. Sparkling wine glasses. There are four basic shapes of sparkling wine glasses, or champagne flutes, as they are commonly called. The first type is a demi-flute. This glass is narrow and tall for showcasing bubbles but slightly shorter than the regular ones. A demi-flute is perfect for dry sparkling wines. These wines have a less refined perlage, with coarser bubbles. Classic-method sparkling wine is best enjoyed in a tall, narrow flute. The tall body of this champagne flute favors the development of a refined perlage. The narrow diameter heightens the fresh, delicate aromas of young, non-vintage sparkling wine.
For vintage classic-method wine, a tall champagne flute with a wider body and tapered mouth is best suited for capturing and enhancing the more complicated aromas of a mature-sparkling wine. Finally, the last type of sparking wine glass is the cup. For aromatic sweet champagnes, a wide, shallow bowl is the best. The cup shape is particularly suited to rich and aromatic wines, such as Asti Spumante, because of their sweetness. A large, wide opening has the benefit of mitigating the aromatic strength of the grape while allowing other aromas to develop. Because these wines have less perlage, showcasing the bubbles with a tall, narrow glass is not as big of an issue.
Dishwasher or Hand Washing?
Cloudy glasses are the scourge of dishwasher lovers everywhere. Always use a separate glass programme and never be tempted to mix glasses in with the pots and pans. Make sure your dishwashing machine has the right amount of salt and rinse aid, too, and buy the best-quality washing tablets possible, as this really does make a difference. Also be especially careful not to put antique or special glass in a dishwasher. By far the best option, though, is to wash by hand. Wash glasses one by one in a bowl of warm water with a small squirt of washing up liquid, then rinse them in cold water. Finally, place them on a clean tea towel laid over the draining board and leave them to dry naturally in the air.
Glass and crystal are porous and will pick up the smell of a dusty cupboard or washing up liquid that's why it's good to clean glasses just before use. Wash and rinse them in hot water, and turn them upside down to drain, but stand them up to dry.
To dry glasses you need a three linen, lint-free tea towel. One for draining and the others for polishing, one in each hand. Use the left hand to cradle the bowl, polishing with your right. Never twist the base and the bowl as they may snap.
Different glassware artisans make a wide variety of differently shaped glasses for all different types of wine. The general rule of thumb for choosing the best wine glass for the job is to consider the color, maturity, sweetness and acidity of the wine. Keeping these factors in mind will help you choose the best glass.