How to pick the right glassware for your wine

August 26, 2017

When it comes to drinking wine, pretty much any receptacle will do. One doesn’t need high-end glassware to enjoy the occasional glass of vino. In fact — as I can personally attest — wine can still be enjoyed when drunk from a coffee mug. However, if you’re getting serious about wine and really want to get the best out of it, it’s probably time to invest in some glassware.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your mindset, there are a multitude of different types of glassware, all designed for wine. With so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right glass for your wine of choice. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Here’s how to pick the right glassware for your wine.

Glass shape

 

Saignee-above

When picking glassware, the most important aspects to look out for are the size of the bowl (the round body of the glass) and the size of the lip of the glass. These two aspects all determine how much aroma and ethanol escapes the glass, which can have a significant effect on the taste of the wine.

Material

 

Wine-glasses-crystal

The first choice one should make when selecting glassware is whether to pick crystal or actual glass. Each material has its own set of pros and cons, so the final choice will be down to your needs and preferences.

Glass is typically more affordable than crystal, can be easily washed in the dishwasher, and is arguably more durable. Glass is also non-porous and therefore will not absorb any aromas or corrode with use. The downside of glass is the fact that it’s “just” glass and therefore lacks that certain something. It’s also less visually impressive than crystal.

Crystal, as mentioned, reflects light better than glass thereby giving it a notably sparkly appearance. It’s also usually much thinner than glass, which gives it a more elegant appearance. The downside of crystal is the cost, as it can be notably more expensive than regular glass. Furthermore, most crystal is slightly porous and needs to be washed by hand.

White wine

 

Wine-glasses-white

When picking white wine glasses, try and select options with smaller bowls. The smaller bowls help to preserve the delicate aromas of the wines, keep the wine cooler for longer, and if filled correctly, bring the aromas close to the nose and thus enhance the wines flavor.

Red wine

 

Wine-glasses-red

Conversely, red wines are best enjoyed when drunk out of large bowled glasses. Red wines contain a higher amount of ethanol and tannins. The larger surface area of large bowled glasses allows the ethanol to evaporate faster. Furthermore, serving reds in large bowled glasses increases the distance between the nose and the wine, thus softening the aromas.

Sparkling wine

 

Wine-glasses-Champagne

This one is pretty simple. Champagne and other sparkling wines are best served in a flute glass. The narrow lip of a flute glass prevents too many bubbles escaping. This keeps the wine effervescent for longer.

Fortified wine

 

Wine-glasses-port

In the case of fortified wines like port, look for small glasses with narrow openings. These wines are high in alcohol content so are best suited to small portions. Also, the small opening will prevent too much of the alcohol from evaporating.

James Aitchison