Choosing the proper glassware for your wine type

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As a wine drinker, making sophisticated choices about the types of wine you drink and what glassware you should use for each is very important.

The right glass can make a huge difference in the enjoyment of a wine. For example, the shape of a glass can affect the way a wine tastes. Glasses that are designed to enhance the flavor of wine are not necessarily very expensive, but sometimes the wrong shape, or an overly-ornate style, can cost more and do nothing to enhance the wine-drinking experience.

Glass design

A glass that tapers inward at the top allows the wine to release its aroma, and will funnel the wine to your tongue when you drink it. A tapered glass also enables you to swirl wine without spilling it. These are generally referred to as tulip-shaped. A tulip-shaped glass is sufficient for all wines, including Champagne and sparkling wine. Make sure to choose a clear glass made of crystal with no faceting or color that will distort the color of the wine. Thin glasses are ideal as well, because they are comfortable in your mouth. For white wine, use a smaller version of the tulip-shaped glass. For red wine, try a a larger glass, which has more room for the aroma to develop. Champagne and sparkling wine will work best in a tall flute that emphasizes the stream of bubbles.

Glasses to avoid

  • Glasses that flare out at the top, allowing the aroma to dissipate away from the glass.
  • Small glasses that do not allow room for the aroma of the wine to develop.
  • Colored, painted, or faceted glasses that can distort the color of the wine.

Specialty glasses

Most people can manage without buying specialty glasses because basic, tapered glasses are sufficient for most wine. But if you're a serious wine aficionado, it may be worth it for you to buy a few specialty glasses. Riedel is a leading glass manufacturer that makes glasses for every type of wine.

Chardonnay glass A tapered shape that enhances freshness and allows white wines to express their full range of flavor.

Riesling glass The lip allows this light, acidic wine to pass straight to the tip of the tongue, emphasizing sweetness and fruitiness.

Bordeaux glass The large bowl of this glass intensifies the flavor, aroma, and texture of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux wines.

Burgundy glass The slight flare of the lip of this glass directs the fruity flavors onto the front of the palate. The bouquet of the wine has room to develop in the bowl. This glass also enhances the fruit, acidity, and balance of good Pinot Noir or Burgundy.

Champagne glass This tall flute brings out the bouquet, creaminess, and richness of good Champagne. It also emphasizes the stream of bubbles rising up the glass.

Great wines deserve great glassware, and with a little research, or a chat with your favorite sommelier, you can be knowledgeable about glassware too. Using the proper glass for your particular type of wine will make your future drinking experiences stand out.

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