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If you don’t believe that a wine glass can make or break your wine, then read on to learn more about the types of wine glasses. While a universal glass may be good, there are certain wine nuances that may be lost with these. Here’s a rundown of grape varietal wine glasses and what it can do to enhance the taste of the individual wine types.
Types of Wine Glasses
Since wines are best enjoyed with their enhanced aromas, the nose being a major factor to consider for one to fully understand the taste of wine, using the right glasses to highlight this is a must. According to a Japanese research in 2015 showed the astonishing difference of the ethanol evaporation depending on the type of glass used.
Tannins and sulfites are some of the more prominent characteristics of wine that may be affected by the design of the wine glass. Tannins are not altogether bad for the wine. In fact, tannins help the wine to age well. Tannins also balance the qualities of wine so you actually gain more from wines than to remove it altogether. The one thing that the drinker has to keep in mind is to make it softer so as to enjoy the wine better.
Sulfites, on the other hand, help the wine to become less prone to oxidation and to develop off-odors from aldehydes.
Types of Red Wine Glasses
These are one of the tallest glasses for red wine. The purpose of the cabernet glass is to highlight the smell of the wine by magnifying it in the large surface area allows the wine to breathe properly. The narrow brim then focuses the aromas to the nose for more.
Important tip: Do not overfill the cabernet glass to enjoy the full sensations of the wine. The cabernet glass is so designed that the widest part of the glass is on the lower thirds of the glass to indicate filling up here.
This design maximizes the surface area possible area so even if your wine was not properly decanted, you have enough space to allow air to move inside the glass. It will also allow you to swirl the wine without accidentally spilling it.
This glass usually packs up to 22 ounces of your favorite red wine but the serving size should be around 6-8 ounces only.
These glasses are widest at the middle and are a lot bigger than the Bordeaux wine glasses. These glasses are usually slim-lipped with a shorter stem compared to the cabernet wine glasses. The thin lip directs the wine to the tip of the tongue before it reaches the other parts of the mouth. The shorter stem, on the other hand, helps the glass to be stable given the heavier bowl.
Red burgundy wine is a rich and complex wine that does not have strong alcohol content. This makes this wine delicate and the aromas easy to detect.
These glasses have a 21-25-ounce capacity but to make the most of your wine, fill it to just a maximum of 10 ounces to allow air to move in the wide bowl to aerate the wine as well as enough space for swirling the wine.
This slim but tall (tallest among the red wine glasses) is a giant at 10.5 inches compared to other glasses ranging from 9.1-9.9 inches.
These glasses are designed to serve full-bodied wines.
This style allows the wine to go directly to the back of the mouth since you have to tip it all the way instead of sipping it. This allows the more unpleasant flavors of the wine perfectly masked while enjoying the other characteristics of the wine. This is particularly helpful for younger wines that have not yet fully developed their flavors.
With the tall glass, the tannins which make the wine bitter so directing the wine to the back of the mouth reduces the bitterness of the younger wines. The ethanol in the wine evaporates effectively with the tall glass design while allowing more air to react with the wine.
Tip: as in the other wine glasses, fill up to the widest part of the glass, here about ¼ of the glass.
Unlike the Bordeaux wine where the glass design aims to direct the wine to the back of the mouth in order to do some damage control of its bitterness, Zinfandel wine glasses do not have that to worry about.
In fact, the glass design works best to highlight the full flavor and smell of the Zinfandel, making the rim slim and the bowl just the right size to direct the wine to the center of the tongue so the drinker can enjoy its rich flavors and acidity.The shape of the Zinfandel wine glass is designed to highlight the fruit and spicy flavors and aromas of this wine.
Zinfandel wines can be drunk out of a Bordeaux glass but the style of the Bordeaux glass may rob you of the full experience of the Zinfandel. It can hold 13-14 ounces of wine but to enjoy the wine fully, fill the glass with just 5-6 ounces of wine.
5. Pinot Noir
If the Bordeaux wine glasses have the reputation of being the tallest of the red wine glasses, the Pinot Noir wine glasses have the widest bowl of all wine glasses. The Pinot Noir glasses have two types, the Old World (right) and the New World (left). New World Pinot Noir wine glasses have a bit of flare on the edge, almost like the tulip while the Old World preserves the more traditional shape.
However, both wine glasses serve the same purpose - to provide as much contact with air to improve its aroma and flavor and to capture its intensity.
The New World wine glass has a shorter stem but bigger bowl than the Old World variety. Its rim is also turned out a bit to direct the aromas to the nose and mouth of the drinker to highlight its nuances.
Types of White Wine Glasses
The easiest way to determine a good chardonnay glass is to look for one that has a distinct U shape. They are slightly small when compared to the Pinot Noir glasses but mostly similar in shape.
It is best to choose a chardonnay glass that is thin-rimmed so nothing goes in the day when one is drinking, directing the white wine to the tip of the tongue for more perceived sweetness.
A lot smaller carries only 11-14 ounces of wine and since it does not have a distinctly wide part of the bowl, we cannot use it as a gauge. However, it is best to remain within the thirds of the glass, about 5 ounces per serving of white wine. This leaves enough room for aeration to release the aromas and the flavors of the white wine.
While chardonnays and viogniers can be served in the same glass, viognier has some nuances that make it unique from the chardonnay therefore some glass designers deemed it necessary to make a specific glass for it.
Compared to chardonnay, viognier is a lot tamer and softer with more perfume and tangerine notes compared to the apples and lemons of the chardonnay. While they are both full-bodied and creamy, viognier is less acidic and more on the sweet side. These qualities are best highlighted in a glass that is small to limit contact with air since the aromatics are so delicate it can be easily destroyed. The bowl of this wine glass is smaller and the edge wider
Standard capacity for viognier wine glasses is 13 ounces and serving capacity is 5 ounces.
This glass is designed to display the most striking quality of sparkling wines - fizz. Sparkling wine includes all wines with fizz which include champagne, cava, and prosecco. Incidentally, this is the only quality they share since they are called specifically for the area where the wine was made, the type of grape varietal and the method it was made.
However, they can share the same glass because the purpose of this glass is to promote the carbonation and keep it in. The slim style of this glass helps to achieve this.
The shape of the glass also helps to direct the wine to the tip of your tongue to taste its sweetness as well as aromas to flow upward.
Normally, it can hold 5-8 ounces of wine and since it does not need swirling, it can be filled to up to 4 ounces for a single serve.
4. Sweet Wine
This glass is designed to serve dessert wines like the Moscato, Moscatel, Schiava and a lot more. Since the portions are more controlled due to the high sugar content of this wine, the wine glasses are also smaller, just about 6-8 ounces.
The smaller rim of the wine glass helps to direct the wine to the back of the mouth so as not to overwhelm the drinker of its sweetness. Depending on the type of wine, it can have as much as 220 grams of sugar per liter of the dessert wine. These sugars come from either the grapes or added sugar. Sugar is sometimes added to dry wine after fermentation to make it smoother to taste.
The small size of the sweet wine glass also limits the amount of alcohol that a drinker partakes since sweet wines usually have more alcohol content.
Tip: do not fill it to the brim to allow some swirling. For an 8-ounce wine glass, you may fill it up to 3 ounces. Swirling sweet wines emphasize the acid which balances the sweetness of the wine. The tapered brim lets you do this without spilling your wine.
The intricate design of vintage wine glasses may be beautiful to look at but these are not very ideal when drinking white wine. The shallow bowl and the wide rim defeats the purpose of highlighting the qualities of the wine served in it.
The wide edge lets the aromas dissipate faster than is necessary while the shallow bowl prevents swirling the wine without spilling it.
Aside from this, there are vintage wine glasses that are very heavy to hold making it tiresome to hold for prolonged periods.
Other Types of Wine Glasses
Like the Pinot Noir, there are two types of rosé wine glasses. The one on the left has a slightly flared rim designed for younger rosé wines. That said, rosé wines are best drunk before 18 months after it is bottled, however, some wine connoisseurs also argue that it depends on the grape variety used to make the rosé.
The flared style of the rosé wine glass directs the wine to the tip of the tongue which maximizes the sweetness of the wine while downplaying the bitter aftertaste and tangy bite of some rosé wines.
For the more mature rosé wines, the second type of glass is preferred since it is sweeter than the younger rosé.
These glasses usually have a capacity of 12 ounces and since they also need some air and swirling, it is best to keep it below 6 ounces per serving.
Tawny port is admittedly the most notorious in sweetness of all wines with a calorie level of 320, equivalent to 2 scoops of ice cream for every 6 ounces. The standard serving size of port is kept at 2 ounces (106 calories).
It is shaped the same as the Bordeaux glass but a lot smaller with a capacity of 6-12 ounces. Do not fill more than one half of its capacity to allow for aroma of the wine.
You can skip dessert if you plan on imbibing dessert wine to control the amount of sugar in your system.
Though this is not the smallest wine glasses, they definitely belong to the small glasses with just 4-6 ounces on each glass. It comes in different types. The one on the left is tulip-shaped while the other one almost resembles a rosé wine glass, mostly depending on the glass company.
This design ensures the aroma and other nuances on the sherry wines are best played. Sherry, though it sounds very English is actually a Spanish wine. It includes Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado, Oloroso and Jerez Dulce.
This huge wine glass is used to serve mostly red wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Syrah.
The balloon shape wine glass has the roundest bowl (the name depicts the round rubber balloon) on the list of wine glasses with a brim as large as a diameter of 4.5 inches. This design is meant to increase the surface area of the wine glass for better reaction with air to let the wine breathe.
The foot and the stem should be at least the same diameter as the widest part of the bowl so it will not topple over.
Stemless wine glasses come in different styles and have grape varietal wine types much as the stemmed wine glasses. Stemless wine glasses gained popularity as it is easier to clean and store without the burden of the stem.These are also less prone to breakage and chipping.
However, these have limitations as it is not recommended for formal dinner settings. The wine is also bound to be warmed by the hand without the benefit of the stem. Stemless glasses can also be easily smudged and tend to be gross, especially when finger foods are served.
Self-aerating wine glasses come in both stemmed and stemless versions. This helps to lessen the need for decanting red wine. Cleaning can be hard since it is very slim and the aerating chamber can be tricky to clean. The shape of the bowl is more or less balloon-shaped to increase surface area.
What are big wine glasses called?
The big wine glasses are called giant wine glasses, resembling the shape of the burgundy wine glass. The largest usable wine glass has a capacity of 3 bottles (2.4L).
What makes a nice wine glass?
A nice wine glass is the one that gives you the best value. It should be large enough with a capacity of at least 20 ounces to have a large surface area, slim enough so you can taste the wine and not the glass, the stem is long so you can hold it properly. It should be slightly tapering at the rim so the aroma is directed to the nose and it should be inexpensive without sacrificing quality.
Which glass is for red wine?
If you want only one glass to serve your red wines, the universal wine glass is your best choice. It has a big bowl, long stem and wide foot so the desired surface area is achieved and the wine can be swirled properly.
Why are there different glasses for wine?
The different wine glasses are designed to highlight the characteristics and nuances of each wine type. The most important to emphasize are the aromas and flavors of the wines. The softening of the tannins and diffusion of sulfites also play into the wine glass design. Nuances such as the nose, bouquet, and hints of different types are also emphasized with the right wine glass.
Whether you choose a wine glass for each wine in your cellar or choose a universal glass, be sure to get one that gives you the best value for your money. Value doesn’t always come as the cheapest you can get but something that you can use over time so it compensates the price you paid for your wine glass.