While choosing wine glasses comes a lot down to personal preference, there are a few things to look out for to ensure you are getting the most out of your wines. The right glassware can improve the taste of the wine as different glass shapes affect the density and position of vapours. These vapours carry the important aromatic compounds which are responsible for a lot of the flavours we taste in wine.
White versus red wine glasses
Most white wines are best served in a smaller bowled glass. This helps to preserve the delicate floral aromas and the small bowl also helps to maintain a cooler temperature.
Full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay and Viognier are better suited to a larger bowl. The wider mouth helps to emphasize the creamy texture and allows the wines to warm up a little to optimal drinking temperature.
Red wines are usually best served in a large bowled glass as they allow the wine to come into contact with the air and breathe.
For lighter red wines, such as Pinot Noir, the larger the bowl, the better. For more tannic wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, choose a taller glass. This will allow oxygen to soften the tannins and lessen the wine’s bitterness.
While sipping Champagne or Sparkling wine out of a coupe glass may look fabulous, the coupe glass design allows bubbles to disperse very quickly.
For optimum enjoyment of those beautiful bubbles and flavours, drink sparkling wine from a flute or a tulip shaped glass.
Stemmed versus stemless
Stemless glasses have increased in popularity in recent years - they’re easier to clean and much harder to accidentally break. While the choice between stemmed or stemless glassware is mostly personal preference, stemmed glasses are still preferred by most wine connoisseurs.
Holding the stem of the glass rather than the bowl helps to prevent your hands from warming up the wine too much, or too quickly. Stems are also useful when it comes to swirling your wine - glasses with stems are far easier to swirl to release all of the beautiful aromas.
Caring for your glassware
A common mistake people make is not cleaning and storing their glassware correctly.
Many glasses are now dishwasher safe, making them much easier to clean. Importantly, make sure that you use a good quality dishwashing tablet that will take care of your glasses and stack them carefully to avoid breakages and scratches.
If you are hand washing your glassware you should do so with warm water and a small amount of soap. It’s also important that you wash them with a clean sponge/cloth. Any old smells on your sponge can easily be picked up by your glassware and this will interfere with the wonderful tastes and aromas of a wine.
We also recommend air drying your glassware. Using cloths and drying by hand can impart odours and lint into your glass and increase the risk of breakage. If you do choose to dry or polish your glasses by hand, avoid using a twisting motion as this can increase the chance of breakage.
If you are storing your wine glasses in the kitchen you should do so in a closed cupboard far away from your stove and oven. This will stop the glasses from picking up any unwanted cooking smells. While it might seem safe to keep them stored in their boxes, or upside down in a cupboard, this can give the glasses a cardboard/musty smell which will interfere with the aroma of the wine so if you are going to keep them stored this way it is best to give them a wash prior to using.
Riedel Inner Circle member offer
At Levantine Hill, we use and recommend Riedel glassware. They have kindly offered all Inner Circle members a 20% discount off glassware using the code XX. Shop now.