Do you question whether your wine glass design affects your enjoyment? Does it make a difference what kind of glass you drink your wine in? Absolutely! Through your choice of serving vessel (wine glass) you hold the power of manipulation over oxidation and temperature.
Nevertheless, who really pays attention to or understands the relevance of the shape or size of the glass the wine is served in, apart from noticing it being roundish and bigger for red wine and sometimes tallish and smaller for white? According to wine tasters and glass-making experts, a complex relationship does exist between glass shape and size and the flavor of the wine you are drinking.
Anatomy of a Wine Glass
Understanding the anatomy of a wine glass and how each component has its role will help you better understand how to choose your wine glass. A wine glass is comprised of four parts; from bottom to top, they are: the base, the stem, the bowl, and the rim. The bowl is the most important element, while the rim and stem are close seconds. A thinner rim is less distracting to drinkers as they sip their wine, and a smooth rim will not impede the wine as it flows from glass to mouth. Let’s be clear – the rim affects the way you enjoy wine.
The Relationship between Wine Glass & Aroma
What many people don’t realize is over 80% of the enjoyment of wine comes from its bouquet, and therefore the way you swirl the wine affects its taste. Swirling the wine will release aromas, ethers and a bouquet, all of which is known as “the nose” of a wine. Aeration is vital to tasting so here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which wine glass to use:
- The bowl of the glass should be large enough to avoid spilling or splashing while swirling.
- The bowl should be tapered, even just slightly at the top, to retain and concentrate the nose of the wine.
- The bowl for red wines and white wines varies in its size and function, especially as it relates to the nose of the wine. In general, rounder and bigger glasses are used for red wines and smaller glasses are used for white wines.
Which Wine Glass for White Wine
Larger bowl glassware was originally introduced by Riedel as a “Montrachet” glass. My personal choice for whites (specifically Chardonnay) is Andrea Robinson’s “The One.” It has a narrow opening for channeling aromas, a thin rim, and a sharp angle at the bowl for aeration and swirling.
The Concannon Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2016 prefers a glass that is wider than the typical white wine glass: one that is shaped like a bowl allowing the Chardonnay’s ripe notes of tropical fruit, Asian apple pear and butterscotch to leap from the glass. This varietal-specific glass gives enough room for the aromas to be released but also helps in maintaining the cooler temperature of the Chardonnay.
Which Wine Glass for Red Wine
Your BIG red wines need a generous bowl that provides breathing space and allows the aromas to unfold. Riedel Bordeaux glass’ rim is precisely shaped to deliver the wine toward the front of the palate, which allows you to experience the well-balanced blend of acidity and supple tannins. This varietally specific glass shape also enhances your appreciation of the wine’s silky texture and prolonged finish.
A rule of thumb is that while a larger bowl will do little or no harm to a white wine, a bowl that is too small can affect your enjoyment of a red. The Concannon Reserve 2015 Mother Vine Cabernet Sauvignon, like many big, bold reds, insists on a glass with a wider opening that is suited for aerating and allows the aromas of violets, brambly dark fruit and cassis that have been tucked away to escape and make themselves impactful and unforgettable.
When it comes to Pinot Noir perfection, it’s all in the glass!
So, what defines the perfect Pinot Noir wine glass?
The Pinot Noir glasses have a tulip shape to trap aromas while still providing ample breathing space inside the glass. It comes down to one factor: was the glass designed specifically for Pinot Noir? In my opinion, the best and only glass for your Pinot Noir is the Riedel Veritas New World Pinot Noir Wine Glass.
Concannon’s 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir from the Russian River is a classic, with its delicate, earthy forest notes and dried cherry. The soft entry is the most susceptible to changing in the glass due to its complexity. A great Pinot Noir can go from inspiring to dull in the wrong glass. You want a glass that doesn’t feel top heavy — the most important thing is what’s going in the glass, not the glass itself.
So should all passionate wine drinkers rush to line their cupboards with premium glasses? It depends.
Do you value every drop of your wine? Do you experience the hedonistic wash over your palate as it entertains the beautiful aromas, textures and subtle nuances?
If so, then go ahead and pick your favorite. Prove to yourself that one good, well-designed glass can elevate your entire wine experience.