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Wine Glasses
What are the different types of Wine glasses?? Confused about when to use which one?? Do they really make a difference?? Read on to discover the answers to these commonly asked questions....

We can not stress enough the importance of using a good Wine glass (or stemware) for enjoying a bottle of your favourite Wine to its best. There are four basic steps to appreciating any Wine which we call Four Ss of Wine appreciation. Therse are Sight, Swirl, Smell and Sip. A good Wine glass aids in each and every step of Wine appreciation process.

Most of the wine glasses are tulip shaped with three essential parts. First, the foot or base; second, the stem and third, the bowl. There are a variety of Wine glasses available in the market and sometimes it might be a little tricky to select the one you need. To ease off such situations we have compiled a list of points one should look for before buying Wine glasses:
  • Always buy a glass made of good material such as titanium crystal, lead crystal or blown glass. An inferior quality glass could spoil the flavours of the Wine. A thinner and smooth-lipped glass is more pleasing aesthetically. Glass should be plain and colorless which aids appreciating the Wine color.
  • A long stem prevents the transfer of body heat from the hand to the Wine. Buy a glass with a sufficiently long stem.
  • The size of the bowl is also an important factor. Go for a glass with a big enough bowl to allow swirling without spilling and still leaving some room for the nose to smell the Wine.
  • Pay special attention to the glass shape. A good Wine glass always tapers in at the opening (rim). It allows aromas to concentrate at the top to be easily sensed by the nose.
Well, that was as far as basics go. Advanced Wine drinkers go a little further and use a glass with tall narrow bowl (called flute) for sparkling Wine, a glass with relatively larger bowl for red Wine and a glass with smaller bowl for white Wine. The type of glass is not just limited to the type of Wine, there are almost as many types of glasses available as the number of grape varieties (we are talking 100s). Having said that, it's not strictly necessary for one to buy a zillion glasses to relish different Wines. Having a couple of inexpensive glasses (large bowl for still and narrow tall bowl for sparkling) is sufficient. Then, it essentially depends on your budget. If you have some extra cash to spend, it's worth investing in the following:

Wine Tasting Glass Wine Tasting Glasses: A Wine tasting glass is specially made to have a small amount of wine poured into it. The ISO has standardized a series of varying capacities Wine tasting glasses. They are stemmed with elongated tapered bowls to concentrate the bouquet.

Red Wine Glass Red Wine Glasses: Red wine glasses tend to have larger and wider bowl to allow the Wine to breathe. Larger bowl allows the Wine to cool quickly if heated by hand contact. Full-bodied red Wines (e.g. Cabernet and Merlot) glasses (called Bordeaux glasses) have a relatively wider opening which allow a good sniff of the bouquet to the taster. For fruity reds (e.g. Pinot Noir) glasses with even bigger bowl but slightly narrower opening (called Burgundy glasses) are used. Smaller red Wine glasses are around 270 ml and regular ones are around 415 ml.

White Wine Glass White Wine Glasses: White Wine glasses have relatively narrower bowl compared to red Wine glasses but are wider than the Champagne flutes. Normally, white Wine glasses have longer stem and smaller base than red Wine glasses. Reduced surface area of the narrower bowl helps maintaining low Wine temperature by means of lesser heat transfer with the surrounding and the hand. Smaller white Wine glasses are around 240 ml and the regular ones are around 360 ml.

Rose Glass Dessert/Sweet and Aperitif/Rose Wine Glasses: Dessert or sweet Wine glasses and Apertif or rose Wine glasses are available in many shapes and sizes. However, as a general rule Rose/aperitif glasses are similar to white Wine glasses except that they are smaller with a wider bowl. And dessert/sweet Wine glasses are also smaller with a bigger taper towards the rim to allow a better swirl.

Port Wine Glass Port/Fortified Wine Glasses: There is a split of opinion among Wine connoisseurs whether a special glass is needed for Port Wine or not. Anyways, let's cut the chase. Ideally, a port glass should be small and narrow and should never be more than half-filled to avoid alcoholic odors overpowering the subtle aromas of port Wine such as oak, pepper, black currant, smoke and truffles.

Champagne Flute Champagne or Sparkling Wine Glasses: Champagne glass is the undisputed king of all the Wine glasses. It is most decorative and luxuriously glamorous of all. Its tall and narrow design is engineered to allow the carbonation to stay within the glass while drinking. A regular Champagne glass bowl is around 180 ml in volume.

Brandy Glass or Snifter: A Brandy snifter is a globe shaped glass with a much smaller opening than the bowl. To read more about Brandy and Brandy glasses please see our Brandy Wine page.

Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2007, 07:03 PM

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