It’s a debate that’s been going on for almost as long as there’s been wine: does the type of wine glass you use matter?
While the answer will vary depending on who you ask, there’s no denying that the design, material and shape of your wine glass influences the tasting experience.
A different shape for a different type of wine
There’s a reason there are so many different shapes of wine glasses on offer and it’s not just about being proper, or a conspiracy to create more washing-up for you. The aroma of a wine impacts on its taste and the shape of the glass can impact on the aroma and your tasting experience.
Here are the three main types of glass shapes:
Glasses made for drinking sparkling wine and Champagne, are long and thin shaped so the bubbles are preserved for as long as possible and kept on the tip of your tongue.
The bubbles or fizziness are also quite sensitive to dishwashing detergent, so it’s a good idea to always rinse Champagne glasses with water to remove any traces of soap or detergent.
There’s two main style of glasses for white wine – one for lighter-bodied whites and one for full-bodied whites.
They are shaped as they are to help keep the wine chilled and to preserve the floral aromas often associated with these varieties and typically are smaller glasses compared to red wine glasses.
Red wine glasses have larger bowls than other glass types which allows more oxygen in, which helps the red wine to breathe and open up all of its flavours.
There are three main types of red wine glasses – one for lighter-bodied reds, one for full-bodied red wines and one for rosé.
The wider opening of these glasses helps the wine taste smoother.
Also, when you sip wine from a glass with a wide opening, further aeration of wine happens as you drink which is important for these varieties.
Wine glasses are typically made from either glass or crystal.
The most obvious difference between them both is the price tag.
Crystal wine glasses are often thought of us as being a more beautiful and elegant choice. They make a lovely tinkling sound when clinked together, and they also refract light – giving a sparkly appearance to the wine inside the glass.
They tend to break easier though and need to be hand-washed due to their porous nature.
For most people, there isn’t a huge difference between the taste of wines served in glass or crystal. Crystal, however, can be made thinner than glass and this can sometimes give your mouth a different experience while drinking.
Glass, on the other hand, is more much cost effective and durable. It is also dishwasher safe which is important to note if you don’t enjoy handwashing.
Whether or not you drink from a glass with a stem usually just comes down to personal preference.
Glasses that have stems make it easier for you to swirl your wine before tasting it and it also makes it easier to pick up and drink from.
Stemless glasses can double as vessels for other beverages and are less likely to be spilled or knocked over than a glass with a stem. However, they are not ideal for chilled wine as your hand will warm the glass up as you are drinking from it.
It’s your choice
While it is true that you can drink your wine from any glass you’d like, if you enjoy the tasting experience and want to enhance it, you’ll want to choose a glass to suit your needs.
Having said that, there’s no need to buy a different set of glasses for every wine variety if that’s not your thing: just buy glasses for the wine types you love and drink regularly.
If you love discovering boutique wines then check out the Secret Bottle wine tasting club and discover wines monthly before buying a bottle.