Wednesday, July 23, 2014

3 Basic Wine Glass Shapes for a Multitude of Wines

3 Types of Glasses
You’ve heard it before: The shape of the glass affects the wine’s taste. But is that statement really true, or just another way to get wine lovers to purchase a lot of stemware?

Varietal Glasses
Choosing the correct wine glass is a little bit science and a little bit personal opinion.  It involves knowing something about the wine itself and which glass is said to optimize that grape’s characteristics.

But if we cut to the chase, there are three basic wine glass shapes that will meet the average wine drinkers needs.

Red Wine Glasses
1) For red wines, use a glass with a larger bowl that lets the wine receive more air on the surface allowing it to “breathe.”  That means the dense aromas of a red wine have a chance to mix with air and create those wonderful aromas in the glass. It is usually suggested that red wines be served in a 12 to 16 oz glass, filling it about 1/4 full for optimal swirling and aeration.

Bordeaux Glass
For red wines consider:
Bordeaux Glass – (Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah)
This glass is large with a longer bowl and taped at the rim.  The large bowl allows for plenty of swirling, which lets air into the wine and releases the aromas.  The tapered sides pull that aroma up for a full nose and the wine is directed to the back of the mouth.
Burgundy Glass

Burgundy Glass – (Pinot Noir) This glass has a wider bowl than the Bordeaux glass to allow more air to enter the wine. The slightly angled sides help create a full bouquet and direct the wine onto the tip of the tongue.

White Wine Glasses
2) For white wines use a glass with a smaller bowl to allow less air onto the surface to the wine. The smaller bowl shape helps contain the aromas and keeps the wine cooler, longer. The narrow mouth directs the aromas directly up to your nose and delivers the wine directly to the front of the tongue for optimal tasting.  White wine glasses usually hold 10 to 12 oz. of wine.

Pinot Gris Glass

Sauvignon Blanc Glass
For white wines consider:
Sauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio Glass
This glass has a narrow bowl that leads the aromas straight to the nose.  It also directs the wine directly to the sides of the tongue where the full crisp taste can be enjoyed.

Champagne Glass
3) For sparkling wines or Champagne, use a flute shaped glass.  This shape helps keep those bubbles bubbling the longest since the surface of the wine isn’t exposed to the air too quickly.  It also keeps the aromas concentrated.

This glass is tall and narrow so that the bubbles keep coming.  The narrow opening helps keep the wine chilled and the fizziness enjoyable. You’ll recognize a Champagne glass when you see it.

All Purpose Glass
Water Glass
Or just opt for an all-purpose wine glass if you don’t want a glass for reds and a glass for whites. This is the glass that’s also used as a water glass with a short stem and large round bowl.

Glasses to Consider -
Riedel is an eleventh generation Austrian crystal maker that has produced lead crystal wine glasses for over 250 years. Riedel also produces glasses that are machine blown and free of lead; plus a line that is dishwasher safe.

Bottega del Vino crystal wine glasses are hand blown, yet suitable for restaurant use. As Bottega del Vino’s slogan says, “If the wine matters, so does the glass.

Ravenscroft is the world leader of lead-free crystal wine glasses.  They offer close to 30 different hand blown wine glass styles, crafted at their European factory.

Vivant wine glasses are made by Riedel for Target.  These glasses are machine-made but much easier on the pocketbook and are dishwasher safe.

Crate & Barrel wine glasses are one of the best values out there; great price, nice designs, and durable. If you’re just starting out with wine, or just want an all-purpose set of wine glasses, this would be my choice. (Check out the stemless glasses too.)

Care of wine glasses:
It is best to hand-wash most wine glasses in hot water, especially if they are delicate or expensive.  But more and more glass companies are offering quality wine glasses that can be machine-washed.  Just be sure the glasses are clean of soap and residue after washing.

Still Can’t Decide?
Do a wine tasting of your own.  Buy a couple of high quality wine glasses and compare the same wine in them and a lower quality, mass produced glass. 

Remember, wine is a subjective experience and the glass can affect how you perceive a wine.  Each glass is shaped to increase the wine’s aroma and where it hits the palate.  But it is still personal opinion if the glass affects or improves the wine’s taste.

For Reds
For Whites
If you want to experience all of the nuances of a wine – go for the glass created for it.  However, this does not mean you have to purchase a different glass for each wine you like. You can decide to buy a high quality Bordeaux glass for reds and a higher quality Pinot Gris glass for whites and be amply covered.  Just remember, the best wine glass is the one that fits well in your hand and makes the wine taste the best to you!

~ Joy