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A Little Clarity on Wine Glasses

 
Monday, March 31st, 2008 at 12:13:19 PM
by Carol K., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Each wine has something unique to offer your senses. Most wine glasses are specifically shaped to accentuate those defining characteristics, directing wine to key areas of the tongue and nose where they can be fully enjoyed. While wine can be savored in any glass, a glass designed for a specific wine type helps you to better experience its nuances.

Cabernet GlassCabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux Glasses

The large elongated bowl of this glass allows the wine’s aromas to build before reaching the nose. The opening of the glass directs wine to the front of the tongue where sweet receptors detect its luscious fruit flavors of black cherry and cassis. The full tapered bowl provides ample swirling room and concentrates the aromas at the rim for a full nose. Swirling also aerates the wine and softens the tannins.

Pinot Noir GlassPinot Noir/Burgundy Glasses
This glass has a wide, short bowl to offer more surface area and less distance for subtle fruit aromas to reach the nose. It directs wine to the front of the mouth where the tongue tastes the delicate red fruit flavors and acids, characteristic of a Pinot Noir. The wide bowl offers plenty of swirling room to soften the tannins.

Chardonnay/Chablis GlassesChardonnay Glass
The fruit flavors of a Chardonnay or Chablis range from green apple to tropical fruit, depending on where it was produced. A Chardonnay/Chablis glass has a smaller bowl to focus on the delicate aromas of this fruity wine. The narrow opening delivers wine to the front of the tongue for fruit flavors to be savored. Less volume keeps the chilled wine at its ideal serving temperature longer.

Sauvignon Blanc GlassSauvignon Blanc/Pinot Grigio Glasses
The narrow shape of this bowl focuses the delicate aromas and delivers them straight to the nose, while minimizing warming. The narrow opening targets wine to the front and sides of the tongue where fruit flavors and acidity are detected. Sauvignon Blanc and Pino Grigio are clean, crisp-tasting wines with vibrant acidity, experienced best with the right glass.

Sparkling Wine/Champagne GlassesSparkling Wine Glass
Did you know a standard-size bottle of Champagne (once opened) has about 56 million bubbles! That’s a lot of bubbles to serve. The slender flute-shaped glass maintains a constant flow of bubbles to the palate, where the fizz, fruitiness, and acidity are fully enjoyed. The slender glass also maintains the chilled serving temperature of Champagne and sparkling wine.

Do you use different glasses for different wines? Post a comment and let us know!

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10 Responses to “A Little Clarity on Wine Glasses”

  1. Yes, I do use different glasses, and I can definitely tell the difference! Although, my Bordeaux glasses get the most use right now.

  2. 2 David Dickinson said:

    Glass shapes absolutely make a difference in the taste of the wine. I have pulled experiments on several friends serving the same wine in 3-4 different glasses, but not telling them the wine is the same. Every time, the friend will pick the glass that is supposed to match the wine and say “this is my favorite wine”.

  3. Honestly, I just like the stemless glasses becoming hot right now. That’s all we use at home.

  4. Enjoyed the “low down” on wine glasses! And what a better way to clean and dry your precious stemware than with my patented Fusion™ Stemware Rack [featured in Wine Spectator's March issue]. It’s available at Wine Enthusiast!

  5. What about the rounded bowl like glasses, are those good for reds. I feel they let the wine breathe more, but it is not as easy to swirl some.

  6. Reply to Luis: In Italy I saw glasses with long stems and very round bowls that were sold as Brunello glasses. I love Brunello but always use large Bordeaux glasses. Is there a Brunello expert out there?

  7. 7 Rick Staples said:

    Sorry, guess I am more of a tradionalist but I do not like the stemless glasses for wine drinking. I did recently dine at a restaurant that offered water in those and that was totally an ok experience.

    Holding onto the stem in Cincinnati…..

  8. As you presumably know, while tests (and some of the comments above) keep confirming that glasses matched to the particular varietal are the best option, the ISO tasting glasses almost always come off second-best for any given varietal, well above glasses for any other varietal. Any chance of your carrying them for those of us who don’t have space for several different full sets of glasses?

  9. Help…does any one know where I can get sparkling wine glasses with etching on the inside to make the bubbles spiral????

  10. “The opening of the glass directs wine to the front of the tongue where sweet receptors detect its luscious fruit flavors ”

    “It directs wine to the front of the mouth where the tongue tastes the delicate red fruit flavors and acids”

    “The narrow opening delivers wine to the front of the tongue for fruit flavors to be savored”

    That’s three (3) differently shaped glasses for different wines all delivering to the same area. I can see it must make a difference.

    Of course in the fourth shaped glass “The narrow opening targets wine to the front and sides of the tongue where fruit flavors and acidity are detected.” Must be a wider narrow opening.

    Finally the Champagne stem – “The slender flute-shaped glass maintains a constant flow of bubbles to the palate,” [somehow avoiding the tongue entirely] “where the fizz, fruitiness, and acidity are fully enjoyed” [Ah, fruitiness and acidity to the palate, not the front or sides of the tongue where we previously were told they would be best enjoyed.]

    What a load of plonk!

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