MIND OF THE WINE GUY – CHOOSING WINE GLASSES
Aside from your liver and the wine itself, the single most important item in wine drinking is the glass from which you drink. Endless option abound in the world of wine glasses, however for proper drinking / tasting, certain glasses are a must, and certain glasses are an absolute no. Let’s start out with what not to do…
First, when choosing glassware consider what you enjoy about wine and consider where the aesthetics of the glass will provide that. Glasses should be clear, with little to no flair because it’s the wine were focused on, not dumb novelty quotes…
Also, it doesn’t matter how pretty or thick the dumb glass is, it shouldn’t look like a prism.
Finally, if the glass would be appropriate being used by Dracula to drink the blood of his victims it won’t work, sorry Unlicensed Taxi Driver.
So what should we look for then? Red and white wines need different glassware for the most part to properly shine. The first rule of thumb is to focus on glasses made of crystal. Those glasses typically have a thinner rim than other glasses, which is important in the glass delivering the wine to the right spot on your palate. I know that sounds very very silly, but I’m told it’s true. Second, a wine glass should have a slightly larger lower bowl that tapers through the top of the glass. This once again will deliver the wine to the appropriate place in the palate, but also focus the bouquet of the wine appropriately.
For this article’s discussion and visuals, I will be referring to Riedel’s Vinum wine glass line. Riedel is, in The Wine Vault’s arrogant opinion, the best wine glassmaker. With that said, many other brands mimic the size, shape, and overall design of these glasses.
CABERNET / MERLOT / BORDEAUX
This is the general shape we’re looking for Cabernet, Merlot, etc. The Cab glass is overall very large, and tapers slightly to the top. In truth, this is a fairly good overall glass for big red wines. The only varietal I would not drink out of this glass type is Pinot Noir.
PINOT NOIR / BURGUNDY
So with Pinot Noir we need a larger bowl at the bottom, while a more significant taper at the top. Pinot Noir is more delicate of a wine, and if drank out of a Cab glass you’ll miss out on a majority of the subtle nuances the wine possesses. With that said, all other red varietals do not belong in a glass of this shape, so it is a one trick pony of a glass.
ZINFANDEL / CHIANTI
Zinfandel glasses are also a good all-arounder as red glasses go. I would avoid drinking a big Cabernet or Merlot, not to mention Pinot out of them. But, for the most part, these are a must have.
Chardonnay glasses will honestly work for most whites aside from big, expensive white wines from Burgundy (which I’ll assume no one reading this drinks). They are a good value in that sense in their versatility.
CHAMPAGNE / SPARKLING WINE
You probably know from movies what type of glass we want here and this is it. I know what you’re thinking, shouldn’t this glass have a big open mouth and look like this…
Well my simple answer to that is no, because it is no longer 1968. No not fear, however, these glasses do make for a fancy ice cream bowl.
Although not noticeable from the picture, Port glasses are roughly half the size of a Cabernet glass. We want a small glass with a tapered top just as you see above.
So, although each varietal has its own specific glass, that’s over the top. To really enjoy yourself these are the glasses you need. So with that I will bid you adieu, from The Wine Vault.
-Rob “The Wine Guy”