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The right glass for each wine

With its long, slender stem holding up its bowl – like Atlas carrying planet Earth on his shoulders – the shape of the wine glass represents a promise of delights ahead.

Choosing the right glass for your wine is a crucial part of the wine-drinking experience and is as important as choosing the right bottle. There is an array of different wine glasses to choose from; all of them designed for specific types of wine.

 

THE RED WINE GLASS

Round and wide

To maximise its positive attributes, a red wine should be served in a large, wide glass. Swirling the wine around is a hugely pleasurable part of the wine drinking process and is much easier to do with a large glass, but it also serves an important purpose: to aerate the wine and open up aromas and flavours.

The best glass for full-bodied, richer wines such as tempranillo or any ‘Bordeaux blend’ made from cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc, is a Bordeaux-style glass. With its large capacity and elegant, tall sides tapering inwards slightly at the top, this shape will enhance the wine’s balance of flavour, aroma and alcohol.

For more delicate or fragrant reds such as pinot noir, a Burgundy-style glass with its wider bowl and slightly shorter sides are ideal.

THE WHITE WINE GLASS

A question of style

From slender tulip shapes, to round, wide bowls, white wine glasses come in many shapes and sizes. For weightier whites such as chardonnay or viognier, choose a rounder bowl which is said to temper alcohol and oak. For lighter-bodied, aromatic whites such as riesling or sauvignon however, a tall, narrow shape will help concentrate those beautiful aromas at the top of the glass and stop them dissipating so quickly.

TO STEM OR NOT TO STEM

Choosing a glass with a stem is very important for serving white or rosé wine; it prevents a refreshing, cool glass from being warmed up by your hand (and keeps those scruffy finger prints off the bowl too!).

Stemless glasses are best suited to red wines only, though care should be taken to make sure the wine is at room temperature (or even slightly below), as it will invariably warm up through being held.