During our recent wine tasting expeditions both in Burgundy and Northern California, we noticed an interesting and almost universal shift. At most wineries, and in many restaurants, the standard rounded wine glass has been replaced by variations of the shapes above. (Even Champagnes and sparkling wines were served in this shape of glass.)
According those we asked, this shape allows for better “expression” of the wine. And during a recent tasting in Napa, we experienced how the same wine will express itself differently depending on the shape of the glass. Above, we were blind served the same Sauvignon Blanc in each of the three glasses shown. We were then asked to taste each, starting from the glass on the right and see if we could correctly guess what each was. It was astounding how different the same wine tasted depending on the shape of the wineglass. The more open the glass, the less acidic and more “rounded” the wine became.
Another interesting tidbit I learned during that tasting: chilled wines will actually hold their chill longer in vessels with thinner glass. I would have thought it was the other way around. But apparently thicker glass will “absorb” the temperature differential between beverage and air, and your Champers will go warm faster. (This is also true for beer.)
How To Choose Wine Glasses
I’ve been meaning to replace our wine glasses, as many of our original set have broken over the years. So especially with the holidays coming up, I’ve been doing a little research. Here are a few things I’ve learned to look for:
- The glass should be vertical (taller than wider) and bowl of the glass should be wider than the rim. This allows for better air contact and release of aromas (the “nose”) while helping to concentrate them.
- The clearest and lightest weight glass or crystal will allow the most unimpeded experience of the wine. Also, look for glasses without a prominent lip.
- You do not need to have a specific glass shape for each varietal. A “universal” wine glass (one size for white or sparkling, one for red) is all that most of us need.
So what “universal” glasses to choose? It depends on your budget, and how sturdy you need your glassware to be. (I can almost just look at some glasses wrong and they break. 😆)
One of the most often-recommended glasses is this one. It gets rave reviews but at almost $70 per glass is more than I’m willing to spend. (Though it is dishwasher-safe, a real plus!)
Want to help your party guests keep track of their wine glasses? Set out a few of these wine writers at your beverage station. They work like a charm, and wash right off.