There are many types of wine glasses for different types of wine, and their choice can be complicated if you don’t have in mind a few basic concepts.
There are 4 basic components that all wine glasses have:
- the foot that ensures the stability and the vertical position of the glass
- the stem, depending on the length, allows you to swirl the glass to release flavours, to see the colour of the wine and to avoid the bowl’s warming. The stem is designed to allow you to hold the glass without any body heat transferring to the wine
- the bowl that has various shapes. The shape of the bowl is designed to capture and distribute the distinctive aroma of a specific wine towards your mouth and nose
- the rim allows you to achieve the full experience of your wine, the thinner and the smoother it is, the better the wine tastes
Generally, red wine glasses have a more round and wide bowl as wine can breathe better and release complex flavours. There are also special glasses for types of wines obtained from certain grape varieties. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot glasses have a medium-length stem, a round and wide bowl, that slightly tapers at the top. This form has the role of bringing a large amount of oxygen into contact with the wine, to release fruit flavours and to reduce the tannins.
Syrah glasses are smaller than the rest of the red wine glasses, taller and have a distinct shape at the top, while the Pinot Noir glasses have a slightly shorter stem and a bowl far wider than the rest of the red wine glasses. The curved wall of the glass directs the aromas of wine directly to the nose.
White wine glasses are somewhat smaller because fragrances are more delicate and this allows aromas to be released while maintaining a cooler temperature.
The glass for Chardonnay is similar to the one for Pinot Noir, but a little smaller, while the Sauvignon Blanc glass has a long stem and it is designed so that the amount of oxygen that comes in contact with the wine is as small as possible. Thus, the wine keeps its freshness. Riesling glasses also have long stems to keep the wine cold, and the bowl is even narrower to concentrate fruity flavours at the top.
Of course, you do not have to own a glass for every wine you buy. A high-stemmed, tulip-shaped or spherical wide bowl, transparent, without any incrustation will be ideal for enjoying a wine at home.
You can use white wine glasses for rosé wine. Those with narrow bowls and high stems will maintain the optimum serving temperature and will highlight the fruity flavours.
Glasses for sparkling wines have a shorter leg, but a taller and thinner bowl. Thus, the bubbles are kept better and you can feel the flavours from the first sip.
White wine glasses are also very often used when the sparkling wine is not a pretentious one. And for vintage ones, the wide opening bowls are also used to allow rich and complex flavours to develop, but bubbles disappear more quickly.
Dessert wine glasses
The cup of dessert wines glasses does not have a long stem and the shape of the bowl, which narrows a lot at the rim of the glass, allows you to focus your attention on the fruity and spicy flavours, while maintaining an optimal balance between wine and oxygen. Therefore, the small design of a dessert wine glass is perfect for a smaller serving.
Glass or crystal
The colour of the wine must not be affected by light, so the properties of the materials from which the glasses are produced also influence the tasting. Both glass and crystal have the same base materials, silicon, but the crystal contains varying amounts of lead (moreover, there is a lead-free crystal that can be washed in the dishwasher). Thus, glass wine glasses are thicker, stronger and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Crystal glasses can be heavier due to the lead and it is not recommended to clean them in the dishwasher. They have a refraction of light capacity and greater clarity - essential things when you want to see the colour of the wine. In addition, this material is more porous, allowing thus the wine to develop more intense flavours when swirled.
Same wine in different glasses
Make an experiment: try the same wine in different glasses, and for the experience to be truly relevant, start by tasting the wine from a simple glass of water or even better from a ceramic cup, then continue with two or three types of glasses described above. You will surely notice some differences.
It is very important that the glasses are well cleaned, that they don’t have greasy stains or traces of detergent.
How much should you fill a wine glass
Fill the glass up to one-third full. Thus, when you swirl you will not drop wine to the left and right, and when you smell it, your nose will not get in direct contact with the wine.
Where do you buy your wine glasses
Choose wine glasses from Stölzle, Spiegelau, Riedel, Libbey or Schott with confidence — they are all recognised by specialists, and they have more than 100 years of history behind. They constantly innovate when it comes to glass processing.