Many aficionados will claim that you can drink wine from any drinking vessel your heart desires, but if you’re actually trying to taste your wine it’s a different story. Drinking wine from certain types of glasses is more effective than your standard cup if you’re looking to really understand your wine, as the different openings affect how the ethanol vapours are released and positioned within your glass. This matters because the vapours are full of aroma compounds, which produce a broad range of flavours in wine.
As each type of wine brings varying aromas and flavours, it means that certain glass shapes and styles work better with different types of wine.
Light and medium-bodied wines are best served in glasses with smaller bowls, as they maintain cooler temperatures better than their large bowled counterparts. Smaller bowled glasses also work well with white wines as they preserve characteristic aromas such as florals, and it’s easier to get a better grip on these compounds due to the closer proximity to the nose.
That being said, fuller-bodied whites such as oaky Chardonnays and Viognier are best suited to larger bowls to fully experience their creamy textures.
When it comes to the ultimate red wine glass, there are a few options depending on whether the wine you are drinking is light, medium or full-bodied. Above all, most red wine glasses are selected on the basis of moderating bitter tannins and spicy flavours.
A large bowl glass with a wider opening works well with Cabernet Sauvignon and other full-bodied reds with high tannin. Spicy, medium-bodied red wines pair better with standard glasses that have a narrower opening – the flavours reach your tongue more progressively due to the smaller opening, mitigating any overwhelming spiciness. For lighter reds with floral aromas, such as a Pinot Noir, glasses with large round bowls are very complementary.
Other types of wine
The Champagne flute, with its narrow opening, works well with sparkling wines while a Port glass pairs perfectly with dessert wines. This is because the smaller size and narrow opening reduces evaporation, which is crucial when drinking wines with a high alcohol concentration.
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