Exploring Red and White Wine Glasses

Posted by on Feb 23, 2012 in Wine Store Blog | 1 comment

Exploring Red and White Wine Glasses

If you’re serving all of your wine in the same types of glasses, you’re missing out.

Proper glassware is to drinking wine as proper cutlery is to enjoying a nice meal. Wine glasses are not just inordinate aesthetics, they serve very demonstrable functions that both enhance and enable the experience. In the following blog we’re going to look at some of the key differences between the different types of glasses which should accompany different types of wines.

Now, one thing that you should remember is that you don’t have to go out and spend a bunch of money on different glassware for each style of drink. You will most likely notice a difference if you do—that is the point—but the overarching method here is distinguishing between, fundamentally, whites and reds. So the recommendation is to good yourself a good set of glasses for reds and whites; the majority of the wines you drink will be represented by these glasses. From there you can add to your collection of convex glass.

Traditionally a wine glass is usually comprised of a base, a stem, and a bowl. Recently (2004), however, the Riedel Glass Company came out with a trendy stem-less glassware that has taken the market by storm, and is still very popular today. Critics have challenged this style, addressing the fact that holding the bowl directly with your hands warms the wine too fast, and leaves finger marks.

Needless to say, the style you choose is your personal choice, and, Riedel glass, other than those two criticisms, still preserves the experience nicely. If you so choose, have both types in your home! They are not mutually exclusive (to most enthusiasts.)

All right, let’s look at some different styles of glasses.

Red Wine Glasses

There are many different types of red wine glasses available on the market. One of the main things to note is the lower part of the glass; the bowl is usually wider to allow more air to interact with the wine. As we’ve discussed, oxidation is an important element with red wines—a lot of reds are full-bodied, and rich in tannins, so air helps to bring out the flavors.

Another point regarding red wine glasses is that they narrow as they get closer to the lip of the glass. This is to allow for the capture of the aromas coming from the wine.

The two most common types of red wine glasses you will find are a Bordeaux and a Burgundy Glass. Let’s take a look shall we?

Bordeaux Glass:

Is a tall glass with a spacious bowl, which is designed for more fuller-bodied wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah.

Burgunday Glass

Has a wider bowl than a Bordeaux glass and is used for lighter reds such as Pinot Noir. This particular design is concerned with taste; the glass is shorter, so the flavors hit the front of the mouth, enhancing the experience. These wines are light in flavor, so the design really brings that out.

White Wine Glasses:

White wine glasses are a bit more concerned with temperature, and are more of a “U” shape, which allows the wine to maintain its chilled state.

If you want to get adventurous, you can purchase two types of white wine glasses, one for lighter white wines, and another for fuller whites. Light white wine glasses would be shorter and have a wider mouth to allow the wine to hit front of the mouth; conversely, fuller white wine glasses will be more elongated and taller to force the wine to the back of the mouth. Regardless, of whether or not you own both, next time you pop the cork on some white wine you can at least explain the difference to any parties interested.

Dessert Wine Glasses

As we covered in our dessert wine blog post, the glass for a dessert wine should be around half the size of a regular wine glass. The reason for this is because dessert wines are much sweeter, and have more alcohol.

This type of glass will still be narrow and long, so it pushes the wine to the back of your mouth, not to overpower the dessert.

Sparkling Wine/Champagne Glass

Unlike the other glasses, the Champagne wine glass has an established nickname: the flute, and true to the form of the instrument, a sparkling wine glass is really narrow and long so that the wine doesn’t lose the sparkle.

One thing to note when washing wine glasses is to use hot water and very little soap. Even the smallest amount of soap residue can and usually does alter the taste of wine significantly.

If you’re perhaps thinking of purchasing some new glassware, the aforementioned Riedel, as well as Spiegelau and Ravenscoft are (arguably) the most well-known glass companies when it comes to wine glasses.

Armed with this new knowledge you will expand and enhance your wine experience. No more flavorful red aromas sneaking past your nose, and no more Pinots cramped up in some small [word] abode. You will be delivering full-developed tastes to the right part of your pallet, and inhaling the full extent of the rich scents available. Happy tasting!

About Dave Keighron

Dave Keighron has written 63 posts in this blog.

One Comment

  1. 3-18-2012

    Hiya, excel­lent web blog, and a very good understand!

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