What Types of Wine Glasses Do I Use for My Wine?

This is a great question to ask yourself. The types of wine glasses you use can effect your experience. How do I know this? Experience. Some good, some bad. Let me help you prevent the bad ones.

First of all, I recommend glasses with a stem. The new glasses that are stemless look pretty and they don't tip over easily. So, with children or too much wine, you might think about them. I say STOP! Run away from them and here's why.

I recently took a bottle of wine over to my friend's home. A 1997 Pauillac. They only had stemless glasses.

After one and a half hours of breathing, the wine was still opening. We couldn't swirl the wine to help it open and it heated up because we were touching the glass. The wine suffered. After another hour it was really good. Dare I say exquisite. But we didn't really get to experience it until the end.

Next, make sure that the size of your bowl is adequate. I like glasses that have a 3-4in. diameter, a 5-6in. tall glass and stem, with a tapered finish. Symmetry is key.

For older wines, an open bowl, no taper, is better because it allows the wine to breathe more.

Some people say a smaller glass for whites and roses, larger glass for reds. That is up to you. I keep the same size glass for all of them. The exceptions are dessert and sparkling wines.

Dessert wines are dessert. Small, dainty glasses are what I prefer. Typically pretty crystal, to go with a pretty decanter for the wine.

Sparkling wines go in flutes. Whether they are for a bellini, a mimosa, or straight up champagne (Mmmmmmm), a flute is required. This allows you to watch the bubbles but keeps them from escaping too quickly. Less surface area, means it will retain its bubbly.

Also, how to hold a wine glass? By the stem.

Why? Because holding the bowl will heat up your glass causing the flavors to escape too quickly. However, if a white wine arrives cold, or straight out of the refrigerator, feel free to hold the bowl and warm it up, just slightly.

There are two leaders in wine glasses. They are Riedel wine glasses (sometimes misspelled Reidel wine glasses) and Spiegelau wine glasses. I have no preference of the two. I think they both get the job done well and normally get whatever I can at tastings and classes. Lately, that means Riedel.

However, I have a friend that is a chef who swears by Riedel types of wine glasses. He believes they help the wine display its best characteristics. Saying they were engineered to perfection for this. He refuses to use any other type of glass in his restaurants.

My Change of Heart:

Until recently, this is what I believed and I think for less expensive wines, this will still work.

However, if you are going to spend money on wine, go buy some Riedel glasses.

My friend brought over their Vinum series varietal glasses, Chablis (Sauvignon Blanc), Montrachet (Chardonnay), Burgundy (Pinot Noir), and Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon). We tried the wines in a ceramic mug, plastic cup, my normal wine glasses and the wines in their appropriate and inappropriate glasses.

The difference was night and day. I had never compared glasses like this and was surprised to see how the same wine could taste so different.

We started by pouring the wine into its appropriate glass. It was nice. The Sauvignon Blanc was first and we had it with dinner. Out of my glasses, it tasted almost like a dessert wine. I think it had some residual sugars and reminded me of a moscato. In its Chablis glass, grass, herbs, green apple and everything that a Sauvignon Blanc should be. Then to the other glasses.

First of all, I have said it before and I will say it again, don't use a plastic cup. I was amazed at how awful these wines tasted in a plastic cup. The mug was equally horrible. I felt like some high school kid who just wanted to have a good time and was willing to drink something that tasted, well, not good.

Then my normal glass. They were good, some better than others. But nothing like these Riedel glasses.

They are each designed to hit your palate in the way that best showcases the wine.

For Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, that means more straight on. The glass is longer and thinner. Smaller for the Sauvignon and much larger for the Cab.

For the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir,the glass is more full, allowing the wine to hit your palate in a more rounded fashion. The end result being smooth and buttery.

All in all, it was enough to win me over and cause me to drink a bit too much. I really had no idea what a difference it would make and how much I would fall in love with these glasses.

If you want to buy some, or just check them out here's a link to wine.com.

If you are willing to invest some of your time into a class on glass comparisons, they throw them in sometimes or give a steep discount. Also, this will allow you to see what I am talking about. Or, if you can find a friend who has these glasses, you can do your own taste comparisons. It is completely worth your time.

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