Wine Education: The Devil is in the Details: Glasses Actually Do Matter

Wine Education: The Devil is in the Details: Glasses Actually Do Matter

At home I use a single wine glass. It's utilitarian: not too big, not too small; the glass is thin, but durable and easy to wash. For everyday wine drinking, it does the trick. But I am decidedly more of a white wine drinker than a red, and this glass is a poor fit for my second love (white Burgundy), so I always keep a few of those in the back of the cabinet, just in case.

For as it turns out, the shapes and sizes of glasses you've seen—and perhaps internally wondered if you really need—actually do serve a function for enjoying wine at its optimal. So what is a savvy wine drinker to do?

It makes little sense to occupy precious cupboard space with a variety of different glasses. Rather, the solution is a relatively simple one: buy the glass you know you will use the most often, the one that suits your tastes the best. For a better sense of which is the best fit for your cabinets, I present my top three recommendations below: 

  • The Utility White – Unless you're an avid consumer of richly textured whites, this glass is the perfect fit for a white wine drinker, especially those who favor aromatic grapes, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. Grapes as effusive as these can feel overwhelming when placed in a glass with a larger diameter, so keep it simple: a narrow bowl, with appropriately thin glass, and a relatively deep cup (essential for any glass, if you intend to give it a good swirl and release some of those aromas). Additionally, if you dabble in bubbly, this is also a great alternative. Albeit not a true flute, a slightly wider bowl will allow you to experience the "nose" of sparkling wine in a way you might never have before.
  • The Cabernet or Bordeaux – Don't let the name of this one fool you; this glass is really the all-purpose option for bold red drinkers. From juicy Malbecs to dark, brooding Rhône Valley reds, a deep bowl is easily the most important aspect a bold red wine drinker should look for in a glass. What it really boils down to is alcohol content. If you're drinking a wine—white or red—that clocks in above 13.5 percent alcohol, a deeper cup will allow your senses to move beyond the smell of alcohol to the true characteristics of the grape.
  • A Burgundy Drinker's Go-to – This glass is the ideal fit for wine drinkers who favor light-bodied, aromatic reds, such as Pinot Noir, or more heavily oaked whites, like Chardonnay. Lighter skinned red varieties tend to have lower levels of alcohol, but more acidity and benefit greatly from a Burgundy glass' wide diameter, which allows the wine to open up and relax, amplifying its flavors. Similarly, white wines that are fermented or aged in oak (both old and new) tend to be more muted in aromatics and receive a subtle but necessary boost from more a wider or bulbous bowl.

For more information about the best glass to suit your wine drinking needs, or recommendations on what to put in that glass, contact us!

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  • Adam Linet