Why Do People Do That? Number 2 – Different Glasses

So Mag’s Mummy asked last week about the use of different glasses for different wines. Does it really make a difference? Simple answer is yes.

There’s two things you’re thinking about when picking what wine glass to use for which wine:

– What do you want the wine to do in the glass?

- What do you want the wine to do in your mouth?

For aromatic, fruit driven wines you don’t need a big glass. The style is designed to be fresh, fruity, and easy to drink. You also don’t need a big surface area or big amounts of air in the glass for flavours to develop. The smells will be prominant as soon as you pour it.

Also, don’t have too much in the glass, and keep the stem long so you don’t hold the glass and warm the wine up.

For fuller bodied wines with maybe a few more flavours in there, then you do want a bit more surface area for the wine to interact with the air. You also want a bit more air in the glass for the smells to collect and form, so when you stick your konk in there you’ll have a better chance of smelling all the smells available.

Now a quick note on the lips. The diameter of the lip of the glass is important. Fruit and sweetness is detected at the tip and down the centre of the tongue. Acidity is detected down the sides. Tannin is detected in the gums.

If you have a fruity, aromatic style of wine, you want a small diameter of lip so when the wine comes out the glass, the first thing it hits in your mouth is your tongue. For acidic or tannic, non-fruit driven wines you’re happy for the wine to coat the mouth a bit more. So use a slightly bigger diameter.

Fruity whites

e.g. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer

Small glass, big stem, small lip diameter

Fuller more complex whites

e.g. Chardonnay (oaked or not)

Bigger bowl for more surface area, big stem, larger lip diameter

Bigger tannic reds

e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Big surface area for air interaction, larger lip diameter

Fruity reds

e.g. Pinot Noir

Big surface area for air interaction, small lip diameter

riedel glasses

From left to right, these are glasses that link up to the order written about above

Sparkling Wine Flutes

The pressure in sparkling wine comes from trapped carbon dioxide. When you open the bottle, pour it, and sit it in the glass the bubbles form and escape. It’s these bubbles that promote the flavour charachter of the otherwise not overly aromatic wine.

So you don’t need a huge amount of wine exposed to the air, as you want to get as much fizz for as long as possible. But you want the bubbles to interact with as much wine as possible on their way out the glass. Solution is a thin, tall glass.

Champagne flute

Those art deco, flat, rounded, Marie-Antoinette’s-breast shaped coupes are pretty useless for modern dry sparkling wines.

If you don’t fancy going out and spending a fortune on glasses?

Honestly, most current wines are made to be drinkable no matter what you drink it out of. What we’re talking about here is really just one of the final pushes towards being a complete wine nut.

As long as you’ve got a set of basic, clear, wine glasses you’ll get the majority of the enjoyment out of that wine that you possibly can, so don’t feel the need to go overboard.

That was a slightly longer answer than I thought I’d write. Time to stop there I think.

Hope it helps




Related Posts

%d bloggers like this: