Much is made about the various shapes of wine glasses.
Is it much ado about nothing?
Allow us to explain…
The purpose of any wine glass is to present the wine that’s poured into it in the most positive light possible. That means one should be able to breathe in the bouquet—the various aromas that are present—and then taste the wine’s full spectrum of flavors.
The former can’t be done unless the bowl of the glass is large enough so there’s plenty of room for the wine to be swirled without spilling. And the latter can’t be accomplished unless the curve and depth of the glass allows for ample air exposure, which helps “release” the flavors.
Today, there are specially designed glasses for virtually all of the most common wine varieties. Glass makers conduct tasting demonstrations that may or may not convince one that each and every design is necessary.
Here at Vinesse, our tasting panel fares quite nicely with just the four basic styles of wine glasses: one for white wines, one for sparkling wines, one for Burgundy and similar wines, and one for Bordeaux and similar wines.
In a pinch, the white wine glass makes a very serviceable all-purpose stem. But the other three styles absolutely enhance the aromas and flavors of the wines intended for them, our tasting panel members unanimously agree.
So, when stocking your wine glass cabinet, start with the basics—one white wine glass, one sparkling wine glass, one Burgundy glass and one Bordeaux glass for each wine drinker in the household.
If you entertain often, add glassware in sets of four so that everyone has the opportunity to drink a specific wine out of the favored style of glass.
As you drink more varieties and styles of wine, you may discover new favorites that you’ll want to enjoy on a regular basis. Then, and only then, consider purchasing other styles of glassware.
We’ve attended demonstrations at which certain bottlings of Sauvignon Blanc, for example, benefited from being served in a specially designed Sauvignon Blanc glass. That said, the variety also shows well in a standard white wine glass.
What about cost? How much should one spend on a wine glass? Figure out how much you typically pay for a bottle of a certain type of wine, and plan to spend about the same amount on the appropriate glass.