We’re all guilty of some questionable wine glass choices, some even leave the glass behind and might swig right from the bottle (just don’t make it a habit). Many don’t give much thought to selecting a wine glass. It’s made of glass, sometimes has a stem and holds wine – good enough, right? Not so fast – the shape of the glass can totally influence your wine tasting experience for better or for worse. Get the most out of your wine with these expert tips.
Here’s Why Wine Glasses Really Do Matter
Glasses with larger, wider bowls allow more alcohol to evaporate. They also introduce more oxygen, which opens up the wine, release more of its delicious flavors and scents. Wider bowls are typically used for the bolder tastes and aroma of red wines, whereas you will see narrower bowls used to contain the more delicate flavors and aromas found in white wines. A wide bowl allows the wine to get rid of any off flavors (decant).
If you’re dumping out a mug of cold coffee to use as a wine glass (no shame!), find out why you may want to consider alternate glass options below.
For Red Wine
Red wines require glasses with larger openings to let ethanol evaporate quickly so we can more fully appreciate the aromas. Red wines such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot typically have richer, bolder tastes to them, requiring more surface area to allow those flavors to expand and develop. If you’re looking to get technical, we’ve noticed that even specific varietals taste better out of their own uniquely-shaped glass. For example, Cabernet Franc delivers its best flavors in a standard, medium-height glass that tapers at the top, directing the wine to the center of the tongue (yum!). Pinot Noir is best enjoyed in a somewhat shorter glass with a much wider bowl. Port wine is a dessert style wine best severed in a shorter glass with a narrower bowl, to maintain its bolder flavor while still releasing those enticing aromas. Enjoying the aromas is half the fun for those who really love wine.
For White Wine
White wine glasses will tend to be narrower and slightly shorter, mainly to preserve cooler temperatures and floral aromas. The narrow opening of the bowl delivers more aromas to your nose. Chardonnay is best in a slightly shorter and slimmer version of the Cabernet glass. Use an even taller glass with a narrower bowl shape for the more floral and bubbly variety, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio.
Stem vs. Stemless
Now does this really matter? Traditionalists would say that wine should only be consumed out of a stemmed glass for maximum enjoyment. While that may be true, we have found several occasions where a stemmed glass is more comfortable, practical, and the wine is still delicious. Selecting a standard wine glass with a stem versus stemless (tumbler), can be based on the wine you’re drinking and entertainment style. Grasping your hand around the glass will warm up the wine, which can affect its taste. A stemmed glass keeps your hand away from the liquid and is always best for white wine, which is best served at cooler temps. Stemless glasses are a good choice for a more casual entertainment setting and serving a variety of beverage types – we like to use them for sangria in the summer and even an occasional gin and tonic in the winter!
At the end of a long day and can’t find the right wine glass? Staying in a hotel and forgot your go-to travel-sized wine glass? Mason jars or even paper cups work in a pinch – trust us, we know! But for a dinner date or your next gala, be ready to entertain with of variety of elegant glassware for their wine of choice. Then, all that’s life is to sniff, swirl, and enjoy! If you’re looking to really impress your guests, make sure you really know how to swirl wine like a pro before your next dinner party.
Still can’t decide what glass style is right for you? Stop by our tasting room to taste the difference for yourself!