I know what you’re thinking: When are we gonna start drinking wine? We’re getting closer, I promise you, but today I just want to run through some of the pros and cons of different styles of glassware!
After getting your wine out of the bottle (and perhaps into a decanter) at the proper temperature, serving it in the proper glass is probably the next step to getting the most from your wines.
With each wine offering its own unique blend of structural elements, flavors, and aromas, you'll often hear that it's important to use a very specific glass if you want to enjoy your wine to its fullest. But is that just a whole lot of marketing BS?
Perfect for Bordeaux, no surprise there! This is also a great all-purpose choice that works well with most red wines, un-oaked whites, sparkling, and sweet wines!
Obviously, the right choice for Burgundy (both red and white), but this bowl is also great for other aromatic reds such as Nebbiolo, any aged red wines, and oak-aged white wines.
These near stemless glasses are among my favorites. They have classic bowl sizes and shapes in a more compact form.
Sometimes all you need with a simple wine is a simple glass. Great for Barbeques too when fingers become too greasy for fine stems.
The Two Basic Styles of Wine Glasses for Still WineThe truth is there is some science to support using a varied range of glasses. However, the fact of the matter is that so many things can effect your wine's performance besides the glass that getting too specific about your wine glasses is another pursuit in the compulsive world of wine geekery, and is ultimately only marginally connected to the performance of your wines. At their core all glasses for still wines are based on either the Bordeaux or Burgundy bowls. Each form of bowl has distinctive merit, though just about any well made glass can enhance just about any well made wine.
So what is important in a wine glass?1.) Size. The first thing is the size of the bowl, forget the shape for now. You need a nicely sized bowl so that you can take a decent pour of wine 3-5 ounces, and have plenty of room for swirling. The swirling helps to release the aromatic compounds in a wine, but we’ll get to that in a later email. I like a bowl of at least ten ounces, but don’t see the need for the humongous bowls. Twenty-five ounce glasses (or a whole bottle of wine!) are not terribly uncommon, and are rather silly, if you ask me.
2.) Thickness. The second consideration is the thickness of the bowl and its lip. Sounds weird, I know. Why is this guy talking about the thickness of the bowl before discussing wine glass shapes? Well, mainly because there are many points of discussion regarding the shape of the bowl, but relatively few regarding the structure of the bowl. In general, the thinner the glass, the better -- and having a polished or cut rim, instead of a beaded or rolled rim, is vastly preferable. It may sound like BS, but these rims let the wine slide easily across your lips, which is something worth investing in, if you ask me!
3.) Practicality. Now, the third consideration is the one that starts limiting our choices. For me, it is very important that my glasses be able to go through the dishwasher. Yes, there, I’ve said it. I like to wash my glasses in the dishwasher! I have no interest in handwashing a dozen or more glasses after a dinner party. That means that the finest, most elegant wine glasses are out of the running in my book. It also means that shorter stems gain an advantage over longer stems. You may very well disagree, but after years of playing around with super-expensive glasses, and watching them shatter in a stiff breeze (they can be ridiculously delicate), my mind is made up.
4.) Shape. Ok, so now we can talk about the shape of the bowl. Basically there are three families of bowls: Champagne flutes, Bordeaux bowls, and Burgundy bowls. There are also a whole lot of permutations of these basic shapes, each one ideally suited to a specific wine or grape – or so some would have you believe!
Me, I just don’t see it, and frankly don’t see how a glass can be made for any but the smallest group of wines. I mean, you read that glass X is ideally suited for "Chianti" -- but is that young Chianti or old Chianti? Modern Chianti or traditional Chianti? Chianti from a hot vintage or a cool vintage? In theory, each of these wines would need a slightly different shape, but there is only one. Can it really be better than another shape? Perhaps, is it worth the expense? Again, perhaps. If all you drink is Chianti, then having glasses especially designed for Chianti -- even though it can’t be perfect for each and every Chianti -- may make sense.