You already know that a red should be served in a different glass than champagne, but you might not appreciate the difference in a glass designed to hold a strong red and one made to bring out the best of a dry white. In fact, varietal specific wine glasses make a huge difference, and you’ll never truly appreciate a fine wine without using the right one.
What Goes into a Wine Glass?
Each wine glass includes:
- Stem: Provides a way to hold your wine glass without transferring the heat from your hands to the wine or creating smudges on the bowl.
- Bowl: Dictates the amount of surface area that wine will enjoy. Some wines work well when allowed to breathe as much as possible, while others require only a very small amount of surface area. Bowl shape plays an important role in capturing the wine’s aroma and flavour.
- Rim: The thickness of the rim affects how the wine flows as you take a drink.
Variations to the stem, bowl, and rim will affect the bouquet, texture, flavour, and finish of the wine.
For example, let’s consider a typical red, perhaps a Bordeaux or Merlot. Serving it in a glass with a full-size bowl with a tapered top helps perfectly balance the high degree of tannins and the fruitier flavours. In contrast, a Pinot Noir needs a wider bowl that tulips towards the rim to highlight flavours and moderate the wine’s naturally high acidity. A champagne flute is tall and thin to draw attention to the drink’s delicate bouquet and complex flavours; it also serves to keep the bubbles around longer.
A single glass type can be fine, but a set of varietal glasses should be seen as a necessity if you want to fully engage your palette and develop your taste.