Choosing the Right Wine Glass
The shape of your wine glass is very important when it comes to wine tasting. Not only should you be drinking wine in a stemmed crystal-clear glassware (try drinking Barolo from a plastic cup!), it must also have the correct shape.
The right glass can completely change the physical perception of your wine. It can improve the way you perceive the aromas, color, taste, and even the flavor of your wine.
This is not an opinion, it's science. I'll show you why.
The Different Parts of a Wine Glass
Before 'paring' the glass to the wine, let's take a look at how a wine glass looks like. Consider that each part plays a role in your wine tasting experience.
The rim determines which part of your tongue will hit the wine first. It will affect how the wine flows into your mouth, completely influencing the perception of its taste.
The bowl is where your wine rests while waiting to be tasted. This part plays a huge role in helping your wine reach its full potential. Generally, red wine glasses have larger bowls and wider openings than white wine glasses.
The size and shape of the bowls influence the amount of oxygen that will come into contact with the wine, therefore, affecting the intensity and complexity of the aromas.
Here's an important tip. Never fill a wine glass to the top as the empty space inside the glass was designed to hold the aromas. You need to leave enough air space for the swirl, the collection, and the release of the aromas. While this is imperative for still wines, it's not for sparkling wines as they must not be swirled.
The stem is where you hold your glass from. No, don't hold your glass from the bowl! By holding the glass from the stem, you prevent the body temperature of your hand to warm the wine that is inside the glass. It also avoids any odor on your hand to interfere with the aromas of the wine.
Remember, your hand needs to be as far away from the bowl and rim as possible! Holding the glass by the stem also makes wine swirling much easier.
The base of the wine glass simply holds the entire the structure of the glass together. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Universal Wine Glass
There are glasses for each type of wine, designed to bring out the very best of each grape varietal and direct the wine to just the right taste buds in your mouth.
Did you know that there is a glass called the universal wine glass specifically designed to capture the aromas of reds, whites, and even sparkling wines? It is crystal-clear, it has a stem, and the bowl is larger than the top of the glass.
With a universal wine glass, you just need to own one type of wine glass that fits all your wines.
What if you have space and want to invest in fancy and expensive wine glasses? Here's your shopping list.
Glasses For Sparkling Wines
Bubbles should be served in narrow and long bowls. Flutes are the best choice for your sparkling wine.
When drinking sparkling wines, whether white or red, you want to enjoy the bubbles for as long as possible. Since oxygen causes sparkling wines to lose these beloved bubbles way too quickly, the shape of flutes serves their job to protect them. It is for this very same reason that you do not swirl sparkling wines as the bubbles will pop and vanish.
Glasses for White Wines
White wines are served in smaller bowled glasses.
Smaller bowls help to preserve the floral aromas of white wines, maintain the cooler temperature of the wine, and deliver more aromas due to the proximity to the nose.
Glasses for Red Wines
Glasses for reds tend to have a larger and wider bowl so that the aromas unlocked by the wine can circulate better and manifest themselves in all their glory.
Reds need more time to open up, they need to be in contact with more oxygen ... they need to breathe!
Look for a wider bowl and a narrow rim. The more complex the wine, the larger the bowl.
Glasses for Sweet Wines
Dessert glasses are usually smaller due to the high alcohol content of dessert wines.
They make it easy to swirl the wine, but they are also designed to help keep the delicate balance between the air, the acidity, and the sweetness of the wine.