The age-old question: Does the type of glass really matter?
The short answer: Yes. Read on to find out why.
Of course if you only have one option, that is clearly the glass to choose. Yes, glasses matter, but if it’s between serving wine and not serving wine, the former is always the best option. Serve the wine!
But, if you’re looking to get the most out of your wines and have options, this guide will help you make the right choice.
The first question is crystal vs. glass. Though some swear by crystal glasses, claiming they better display aromas and flavors, the only certain facts are: Crystal is more delicate with added minerals, it needs to be hand-washed, and it makes wine sparkle. Glass is more durable, dishwasher safe and much cheaper.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Glasses
As we’ve mentioned before, a sparkling wine’s bubbles are actually born in your glass, as soon as the CO2 can grab on to a speck of dust or imperfection and create that lovely effervescence.
The most popular styles are the flute, the tulip and the coupe. What you’re drinking will determine your best option.
- For most bubbles — Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, etc.—you’re going to want something with a narrower rim, like a flute or tulip, to better retain carbonation and flavor. The wider the glass, the faster it flattens.
- Flutes are best for dry sparkling wines, and a tulip’s wider bowl is best for more aromatic options like Prosecco or a Rosé.
- While a coupe might feel oh-so glamorous, you’ll have to drink your fizz fast to enjoy the bubbles, which we don’t recommend. Coupes can work well, however, with sweet sparkling wines such as Asti, because fewer bubbles will show softer, fruitier tastes.
White Wine Glasses
White wine glasses generally have a smaller bowl to preserve and deliver more aromas while maintaining cooler temperatures. For fuller-bodied whites, a slightly larger bowl can help bring out better texture in mouth.
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses generally have a larger bowl in order to let aromas burst in the nose while the wine softens. The wine’s body will best determine what style among the many red wine glass options you should choose.
- For big reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, a Bordeaux glass is your best option. Slightly taller with a smaller bowl, these glasses maximize flavor by directing the wine straight to the back of the mouth.
- For lighter wines like Pinot Noir and Gamay, a Burgundy glass does wonders. The big bowl gives you ample room for swirling and waking up the wine, while the curved rim lets you enjoy delicate aromas and flavors by sending the wine more toward the front of your mouth.
- Rosé wine glasses will look more like a white wine glass, but with a slight flare at the rim. This helps temper acidity and direct the wine to the tip of your tongue so you can fully enjoy a fruity rosé.
Dessert Wine Glasses
Dessert wine glasses vary greatly. For example, Port likes a shorter flute style, while a sherry prefers a taller v-shaped glass. When in doubt, pick something elegant and serve a moderate amount, as dessert wines are for sipping slowly.
And then there are many specialty glasses —glasses for Syrah, Alsace, etc. Riedel has enough styles to make your head spin! Decorative glasses are also quite popular these days, but true wine lovers want something transparent to better focus on the wine.
Again, when it comes right down to it, just grab whatever glass and enjoy. But when you have the opportunity to taste wines in distinct glasses, try to note the differences and find one that shows a wine’s best expression.