What is all the hype about wine glasses? Aren't all wine glasses created equal? Apparently not. Wine glasses may be hyped in the marketing department but there is some truth to these claims.
The proper stemware makes a lot of difference in the aromatics of the wine which makes it very important in the way we enjoy wines. That said, it is easy to devalue a good wine by serving it in a terrible glass.
How Important are Wine Glasses?
Wine glasses are necessary if you want to enjoy your full bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or white wines and sparkling wine a lot, but the design, size and shape cannot be overly stressed. As it is, it is not just the wine glass that is necessary, it is choosing the right wine glass.
Do wine glasses really make a difference?
The easiest way to try how wine glasses can make a difference in the taste of wine is to drink wine from a water glass and a wine glass. Take a minute to observe well so you can discern the difference.
Different people have different opinions on stemware. Some think it is a myth to serve different types of wine in different glasses, arguing that they don't necessarily taste different when served in the same glass. However, since a glass of wine is more of a subjective type of drinking experience, the choice of glass really depends on the user.
Does it matter what wine glass you use?
One study claimed that wine glasses recommended for a specific wine is just marketing hype and has no scientific backing. This study was later refuted by a more recent study where it documented the movement of ethanol vapors in three different glasses. The movement of these ethanol vapors heightens your wine tasting experience so a proper wine glass should be carefully selected. You want your vintage to preserve its value and you enjoy your money's worth.
While a wine glass is important for the drinker to enjoy his wine, it does not necessarily follow that a Pinot Noir wine should only be drunk from a Pinot Noir glass.
However, having three basic glasses - red wine glasses, white wine glasses, and flute - should be enough to use for a range of wines you serve. Unless you are serving a formal setting and your guests are very discerning of the glass you use, which by the way may be very seldom, your current basic glasses will work just fine. For more casual events, stemless wine glasses are opted.
The thinner lip of the glass means the wine moves smoothly so it can be sipped as it should, rather than gulped down as you normally drunk water. Somehow, a thicker lip gets in the way for a full experience of wine.
Why does the shape of the glass matter?
Each wine has its characteristics, highlighted by the glass we drink from. Perception does not necessarily mean that it was how you tasted the wine. It is more how your brain interpreted the wine, depending on the aroma. We know that smell plays a very important role in how we taste wine.
Red wines such as Pinot Noir, demand a wider surface area to allow it to breathe. It is filled up to just a third full to maximize the surface area. The wide bowl and narrow top of the red wine glass allow the aromas to be released from the wine without escaping immediately. Trapping the aromas within the glass results in a better perception of the wine.
White wine glasses are slimmer with a less ratio between its widest part to the top of the glass. This glass can be filled to half-full since the wine does not need much aeration and swirling needed for red wines.
Flutes used to serve champagne and other sparkling wines have the most slender body and very little difference in size at the widest part to the top of the glass. You can observe that this glass is usually filled up to three-quarters full. The small surface area helps keep the wine bubbly for longer, making it more delicious.
However, winemakers and connoisseurs alike recommend a good all-purpose wine glass for any wine.
Good Wine and Wine Glass Choices
One winemaker was known to say that the glass determines the experience of wine drinking. However, it is a matter of perspective.
Find a wine glass that serves the purpose of the occasion - whether to impress a potential client or investor or simply to spend quality time with friends and family. Friends and family may be laxer with etiquette while a client or investor may be more critical. College students were notoriously known to serve their champagne in plastic cups because those were the only thing available for some impromptu celebration.
As in anything, moderation is the key to drinking wine. The latest survey result suggests that the size of wine glass may influence how much you drink. Not necessarily that people order more, it's just that the bigger glass may fool the clients into drinking more than they intended.
The bottom line is that a glass of wine is meant to be enjoyed with people who are important to you. The glass may matter but the most important thing is the time where you enjoyed each other's company.