Choosing the Right Wine Glass Is Very Important
No matter whether you are just starting out in your journey to become a true wine aficionado, have been enjoying your favorite wines for years or serve them as part of your profession, knowing which wine glass to use is very important. Far too many people who consider themselves to be wine experts and who understand unfathomable depths when it comes to buying wine, do not have the first clue when it comes to choosing wine glasses to go with the wines they are purchasing wine online.
"Shape and Size" Means Everything in a Wine Glass
The one thing so many wine drinkers and for that matter the people who serve wine such as bartenders fail to understand is that when it comes to choosing the wine glass, the size and shape of the glass can have a direct impact on the taste of the wine. In certain instances the place where you are buying the wine, such as a bar or restaurant, has a specific style of wine glass that they use. Many will do so in order to achieve a certain overall impression, despite the fact that the wine glass style they choose might not be appropriate for each of the wines they serve.
In general a top quality wine glass will be made from thin glass or crystal rather than being overly thick. It should taper to a fine edge at the top rather than like so many cheap wine glasses that have a thick rolled rim. While this may make them more durable, it does absolutely nothing towards making your wine drinking experience more pleasant.
You will find that the majority of wine glasses designed to be used for both red and white wines tend to be made with large bowls that give you plenty of room to swirl the wine in and narrow tops that are intended to gather the aromas of the wine you are sampling. Given this however, you are likely to find that far too many restaurants and bars use an all-purpose approach to providing a wine glass for their patrons. While this type of wine glass may work relatively well in such a setting, they are hardly ideal for you to use at home and can in fact prove to be quite disappointing.
The Basics When Choosing a Wine Glass
As you look at the different types of wine glass, the one thing you are going to notice is that they all feature a long stem. There are several theories as to why this is the case, ranging from providing a place to hold the wine glass without leaving any fingerprints on the bowl, to keeping your fingers and hand away from the bowl so that they do not affect the temperature of the wine. Both of these are reasonable assumptions as fingerprints on your wine glass can make it difficult to see the wine in the glass and no one wants to drink warm wine.
Material can also play a large role in your choice of wine glass. The best quality wine glasses are typically made from lead crystal. While it might be easy to think that this for a purely aesthetic reason as they tend to be quite beautiful, there is more to this type of wine glass. Consider the fact that lead crystal has a significantly higher light refraction index than standard glass, which has a dramatic effect on the light as it passes through the glass.
If you were to use a microscope to compare lead crystal and standard wine glass, you would find that a lead crystal wine glass has a rougher surface. This works to the advantage of the true wine connoisseur as it helps the wine to breathe and release its aroma more effectively when it is being swirled in the wine glass. Wine glasses made from lead crystal also tend to be heavier making them more enjoyable to use.
Wine Glass Shape Basics
While there are no scientific research studies concerning whether or not one particular wine glass shape has more of an effect on the taste of each different type of wine or not. When you are buying wine, you should consider the fact that leading wine experts believe the shape of the wine glass you serve it in does definitely have an effect on both the aroma and the taste. They feel that the shape of individual wine glasses can help to concentrate the various aspects of the wine such as aroma and flavor.
Experts base this theory on the concept that the shape of each specific wine glass is designed to direct the wine towards the right part of the mouth or tongue to gain the most from each variety of wine. Though this has been scientifically proven to be a myth, many experts still continue to insist that they have a very specific type of wine glass for each type of wine they plan to drink.
Wine Glasses for Red Wine
When buying wine you need to consider whether or not you have the right wine glasses to drink it from. If your preference leans towards red wines, you should be looking for a wine glass that features a bowl that is a little wider and rounder in shape. This larger bowl is intended to speed up the oxidation process, which in turn will help develop the aroma and flavor of the wine. Of these there are two main styles of red wine glasses.
The Burgundy Wine Glass: This style of wine glass has a relatively wide bowl that is perfect for building up the delicate aromas of subtle wines such as a Pinot Noire. It is shaped to help direct the flow of wine towards the tip of your tongue.
The Bordeaux Wine Glass: With a slightly smaller bowl, the Bordeaux wine glass has been created specifically to be used with full-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The shape is intended to direct the flow of wine towards the back of your mouth.
Wine Glasses for White Wines
If you have a penchant for purchasing wine online and prefer to buy white wines, you are going to need a different type of wine glass. Here you are going to find that there are an extraordinary number of different types and style of wine glass for you to choose from. Ranging for tall narrow Champagne flutes to wide bodied wine glasses such as those used for red wines, the choice of wine glass has much to do with the final flavor of the wine you buy.
For example if you are buying wine in this category such as a Chardonnay that has been aged in oak, you should choose a wine glass with a large bowl as the oxidation will improve the flavor and aroma. When drinking a lighter wine, one with a smaller bowl and mouth will slow down the oxidation process and help to preserve the more delicate flavors.
Most of the white wine glasses tend to have a smaller mouth to help preserve the flavor of the wine by reducing the rate oxidation. A wine glass that has been designed to be used for sparkling wines such as Asti Spumante or champagne have an even smaller mouth to help keep the sparkle in the wine for a longer period of time.
Wine Glasses for Champagnes
Most of us can easily recognize a wine glass designed to be used with champagnes as they tend to feature an extra-long stem topped by a tall, narrow glass. The entire thought behind this design is to keep the carbonation levels in the champagne at optimum levels for as long as possible. Aesthetics plays a large role in the design as the tall bowl allows the drinker to watch the bubbles as they slowly climb their way to the top of the glass.
Other Types of Wine Glasses
While these are considered to be the three main styles of wine glass, there are others that are far more specific such as the sherry copita. This narrow, tapered glass is ideal for enhancing the aromas of not only good quality Sherries, but of port wines, liqueurs and numerous aperitifs. In Ticino, Switzerland the locals use a Boccalini; this is a mug rather than a wine glass that the local Merlots and wines are served in. This mug can hold approximately 7 ounces, which is far more than most other types of wine glass.
In the end whether you are buying wine in your local wine shop or you prefer purchasing wine online, the type of wine glass you choose to drink it from should be a purely personal decision. Keep in mind that while the experts all have their own ideas as to which wine glasses are going to enhance the flavors and aromas of each type of wine, only you and your palate can determine whether or not you should invest in a number of different types of stemware.