Selecting a wine glass that’s right for you can be confusing and daunting, admittedly there’s a lot of choice out there so we totally understand your fear. You’re able to choose tall and small glasses, thin and wide glasses, large and small capacity glasses…the list goes on!
Just how important is the look of the wine glass vs the function and how tall or short the stem is, does the glass really affect the taste of the wine? Read on to discover everything you need to know about the types of wine glasses and how to choose the right type of glass for you.
From a starting point, there are two different types of wine glasses, stemmed and stemless.
There are three parts to every stemmed wine glass:
Aromas are collected in this ‘empty space’, you’re then able to swirl the wine round in the glass which further releases the aromas and allows you to smell the wine.
All of the above is applicable for stemmed glasses whereas stemless glasses feature no base or stem and tend to have a bowl with a flat ‘bottom’ so it sits on the table.
Each of the above parts will vary from glass to glass, but the shape, size and style of bowl is the most important.
Red wine glasses are generally bigger in height and larger in bowl size compared with white wine glasses, this allows the wine to come into contact with more oxygen. Red wine tends to require ‘opening up’ more, the larger size bowl therefore allows the wine to breathe a lot more as the aromas and flavours are released.
Most glassware manufacturers offer grape and regional specific wine glasses designed special for that certain style of wine. This is great if your preferred choice is a certain style or grape type, but not so good if you don’t have a specific wine style you generally opt for. In this instance, an ‘all-round’ or ‘universal’ wine glass would be ideal as these types of glass shapes work well for various styles of wine.
This style of glass is the tallest and the bowl shape is designed for bold red wines, such as Bordeaux, Cabernet and Merlot. A wide base and medium/large stem holds a large bowl that tapers/closes at the opening.
The design allows a greater amount of oxygen to come into contact with the wine, ethanol evaporates, the wider opening makes the wine taste smoother and brings out the fruit flavours.
This style of glass is shorter than the above with a smaller bowl, designed for medium to full-bodied red wines, harsh flavours and spice are softened because the wine is designed to hit your palette more gradually from the smaller opening. The narrower bowl tends to taper slightly more which in turn helps to bring out trap the aromas.
The widest and shortest of the most commonly used red wine glasses is the one designed for Burgundy and Pinot Noir. A shorter stem and wide bowl, helps collect the bolder aromas and directs the intense flavours to the correct part of your tongue. Because of this, a larger surface area is apparent that allows for a larger amount of oxygen to contact the wine.
White wine glasses are generally smaller in height and bowl size when compared with red wine glasses, this allows the wine to be in closer contact with your nose as the aromas are much lighter.
You generally find that Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling wines can be served in the same style and shape glass. The mid > long stem and narrow bowl will taper in slightly; the bowl is usually thinner and with less capacity compared with red wine glasses. The smaller bowl makes it easier to detect the concentration of aromas in the wine, whilst minimising the amount of oxygen in the glass.
Glasses designed for Chardonnay are predominately the complete opposite to the above Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Chardonnay glasses have a large bowl, similar to that of the Burgundy / Pinot Noir but slightly smaller and features a much shorter stem. This larger bowl allows for a big surface area to be created which is ideal for full-bodied white wines such as oak-aged Chardonnay.
These are a great idea for someone looking to save space in their kitchen cupboards and who doesn’t require all the varying shapes. A user who likes a tipple of both red and white, and different styles of both varieties…a universal all-round glass would be ideal.
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