Wine connoisseurs assess their wine by colour, smell and taste. The shape and style of a glass will have an impact on all 3 of these senses.
The colour of the wine can be seen best in a clear crystal glass, the wine buffs choice.
The smell of wine alters very slightly with the shape of the bowl. For red wine glasses a large wide bowl ensures there is a greater surface area allowing the liquid to breathe and evaporate releasing the bolder aromas.
For more delicate white wine glasses a smaller tighter bowl will focus the bouquet. A tall stem to hold the glass also stops the hand from warming the wine thus maintaining its cool temperature.
For sparking wine and champagnes a flute glass shows the effervescence and maintains the bubbles for longer.
The taste of the wine is also affected by the shape of the glass. The wine is thrown onto different taste zones on the palate. The wider rimmed glasses allow you to sip the wine with your head more down – narrower rimmed glasses force you to slightly tilt your head back changing the areas on the palate the alcohol is tasted.
This gives a short overview for the real wine connoisseur and sommeliers. Riedel Glass with their Vinum range and Dartington Crystal with The Winemaster range have over many years worked with Masters of Wine to try to create the perfect wine glasses to enjoy all the grape varieties.
For the rest of us the following basic rules apply:
Red wines – Larger more rounded bowls allowing the wine to breathe – the bolder you like your red the bigger the glass.
White and Rose wines – Smaller bowl therefore less quantity of wine ensuring the wine is kept cool and topped up more regularly – or a lot in my case!
Sparkling wines and Champagnes – Flute champagne glasses keep the bubbles going longer.
Whether you choose plain or cut lead crystal, hand or machine made glass there is a huge choice of shape and design to suit all tastes and budgets. At the end of the day glasses that are aesthetically pleasing to each individual will undoubtedly continue to make wine drinking a pleasure!