Wine glasses: how do I choose the right one?
Each style of wine has its own personality along with unique characteristics and qualities that we can get the most out of by using the right glass.
Being pragmatic, we could drink wine from anything, but all wine-lovers and anyone with respect and affection for this wonderful product knows that drinking it is not just about pouring a liquid into our bodies or trying to quench thirst, but rather that wine is an experience to be shared with company or enjoyed alone. And wine glasses have an important part to play.
So, a good wine, one of our favourites, deserves the right glass to make sure we get the most out of the moment.
With so many to choose from, how do you choose the right wine glass? Does size and shape matter? In this case, yes.
Today there are dozens of wine glass designs, there are even some modern designs without stems and some with impossible designs that somehow stay upright.
The stem or foot of the glass provides a place to hold it without the heat of our hands changing the wine’s temperature whilst also stopping greasy fingerprints from marking the glass. Although all American series and movies tell us otherwise, holding the glass by the foot means we can enjoy our wine at an optimal temperature.
There are also designs that include colours, textures or patterns, some of which are really beautiful and eye-catching, but the best ones are made with clear glass of the best possible quality and free from textures or patterns that interfere with appreciating the wine.
So let’s take a closer look at six basic wine glass designs to choose from.
The 6 main types of wine glasses:
1- Bordeaux wine glass
These are the glasses we usually find in catering establishments or perhaps even at home. A sleek glass that shows off the aromas and directs the wine towards the centre of our mouth, so it softens the tannic and spiced sensation of red wines. Perfect for wines made with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc, the classic Bordeaux coupage.
2- Burgundy wine glass
Unlike the Bordeaux glass, this one is less elongated, with a wider and more rounded base and an opening that is smaller than the base. The design is made to enhance the experience of drinking light and elegant reds with more subtle aromas. Its ball-shaped body acts as a collector that holds onto the full aromatic expression of delicate wines to make sure we get the most from every sip, right to the end. Perfect for wines made with Pinot Noir or Gamay, two of the most common varieties used in the Burgundy region.
3- White wine glass
White wines, usually enjoyed at lower temperatures than red wines, are served in glasses that are smaller, but similar in shape. The smaller size helps regulate the amount of liquid and therefore preserves its freshness for longer.
The slender white wine glass is ideal for light or young wines because it better preserves and expresses the aromas and acidity.
For older white wines or those with more body, even for orange wines, it is better to use a less slender glass with a rounder body to bring out the creamy textures and preserve and enhance enjoyment of the complex aromas. A glass similar to the Burgundy style but smaller, would be ideal.
4- Sparkling wine glass
The standard glass for sparkling wines is the so-called flute glass or champagne glass that is narrow and elongated, which allows the bubbles to rise and prevents the loss of carbon.
However, these leave little room to enjoy the aromas and they do not give the space to fully appreciate special or long-aging sparkling wines that are usually more complex. The characteristics of these wines come to life in a glass similar to a light white wine glass or a Bordeaux glass.
This last point may be a controversial one, but when it comes down to it, everything is an experiment where you get to decide what is best for you depending on your needs and tastes.
5- Sweet or generous wine glass
Do you remember the classic sherry glass? A slender but small cup, with an opening that is narrower than the base. They are fluted glasses similar to sparkling wine glasses but smaller in size. They are ideal for this kind of wine because sweet and generous wines tend to have a higher alcohol content. The small size of the glass limits the amount you can have at once and makes sure it is always served at the right temperature, and its narrow opening design focusses the aromas and prevents fast evaporation.
These glasses are ideal for drinking sherry, sweet wines, port and virtually any other generous wine. It would be a good ideal to have some in your cupboard.
6- Universal glass
If we want to take the practical approach, some manufacturers have come up with the idea of designing universal glasses that can be used for both white and red wines and even, as we have already said, some special sparkling wines. Although these glasses might not make the most of the small subtleties that set one style of wine apart from another, their standard design means we can drink from a quality glass and enjoy a pleasant experience.
How should we look after wine glasses?
When you have found the perfect glasses, it is worth making sure you know how to look after them properly, because it would be silly to have best wine glasses in the world if they are not kept in good condition.
Always keep your glasses clean.
Try to wash them as soon as possible after using them, especially after drinking red wines. Glasses left with traces of wine in them tend to stain over time and these marks are very difficult to remove.
Wash them by hand.
Clean the wine glasses very carefully if they are made of very fine glass and use a neutral or lightly scented detergent. A glass should be clean and should not smell of anything.
Let them dry fully.
It is best to leave them to air-dry standing up, and protected from dust so that they do not end up with an unpleasant smell inside. You can also hang them up by the base letting the opening air.
And we will leave the final job up to you.
Choose a wine, one of your favourites that you have not have for a while, relax and take out the cork, pick up your glass, pour yourself a splash and enjoy!
This is time for just you! Cheers!