Wine glasses are the focus of this part of our wine 101 guide…
There are many different types of wine glasses, of varying styles and quality, and, in order to get the most enjoyment out of a bottle of wine, it’s necessary to give at least a little thought when choosing which you plan to buy and use. There are a number of manufacturers of fine, and somewhat expensive, wine glasses, designed specifically for use with certain wines. It’s not necessary to buy expensive ones though, and neither must you have specific glasses for specific wines.
Despite the multitude of choices available, you can quite adequately get by with just three different types of wine glasses. As a starting point, look to purchase a standard glass for whites, something with a larger bowl for reds, and a flute or similar style for Champagne or sparkling wine. There are other considerations too, though, to ensure you make the right choice from within these 3 standard types of wine glasses.
First of all, you need to pay attention to the material from which they’re made. At the very least, the glass must be plain and clear. Part of the enjoyment of wine is appreciation of the colour, which can impart a lot of information about the wine (such as its age and the quality of grapes used in its making). Consequently, wine glasses produced from coloured or frosted glass, or worse still solid materials such as pewter or silver, are not recommended.
Secondly, make sure that you select glasses which are of a sufficient size. The bowl should be large enough to allow a fair measure to be poured, whilst leaving enough room for the wine to be gently swirled without spillage. This swirling action is to release aromas from the wine, and is therefore vitally important.
Thirdly, they must have a stem, not just for aesthetic reasons, but so that the wine glass may be held without covering the bowl in greasy fingerprints. A stem also helps keeps the wine at the correct temperature, since it prevents you hands warming up the part of the glass that holds the wine.
Lastly, the shape of the bowl is of considerable importance. Good wine glasses taper in somewhat at the top, so that the aperture is narrower than the bowl lower down. Whilst this appearance is aesthetically pleasing, it’s also of functional importance. When you swirl wine to release its aromas, this tapered shape serves to concentrate the aromas towards the nose.
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