Different types of wine glasses for different types of wine? Yes, that’s true. A wine glass is not just a container that is used to drink your favorite wine from, it is an integral part of your wine experience. Hence it is really important to choose a perfect glass for your already chosen wine. Now the question arises, how to choose the right wine glass?
If you are reading this article, we presume that you are already aware of the kind of wine you are going to enjoy. If you are not sure, just check out the easy wine classification to understand it first. Coming back to the question of choosing the perfect glass for wine. Before we educate you about a wine glass, let’s understand the importance of it.
Why Do You Need The Right Wine Glass
Wine is a complex drink to understand. Every glass of wine has a lot to offer. Right from the very first look of the wine, it starts amusing with its color, the way it gets poured into the glass, aroma, texture, and the way it gives the burst of flavors to the palate. Each such attribute is different for every wine. The majority of these attributes are enhanced or subsided with the help of a glass.
Wine contains a lot of attributes that should either be intensified, modified, or kept constant before it is enjoyed. Tannins, aroma, and fizz to name a few. A perfect wine glass helps to get all the attributes to get their best state. For example, red wine requires more time to breathe and absorb oxygen, and hence a glass with a large bowl is recommended.
Remember the concept of wine decanter? A large bowl pretty much serves the same purpose. White wines need a little smaller bowl to maintain the temperature, floral and intense aroma. Sparkling wines need to maintain their fizz, hence the sparkling wine glass has the most narrow rim.
Sounds easy? Well, it is not really just black and white. Let’s decode a wine glass and its components. Every part of the glass plays an important role in your wine experience hence must be understood correctly.
4 Parts of a Wine Glass
A standard wine glass has 4 parts i.e. Rim, Bowl, Stem, and Foot. A wine glass should not necessarily have a stem but as we said a standard glass for wine, it must have it. Another important part of the glass is the upper bowl curve. This part is generally found in a few types of sparkling wine glasses or any grape-specific glass for wine. However, to decode a glass for wine, we just need to understand the major 4 parts. Let’s get started.
The top circular shape of a wine glass is referred to as Rim. This is the final part of the glass, your wine contacts before it enters into your mouth. The rim of a glass decides how the wine will contact your mouth. It is also responsible for how sharply your wine will get into the palate and what part of the mouth will first experience the wine flavors.
2 Major attributes of the glass rim decide all these things. First, the width of the rim. If the rim is wide, it will allow a complex aroma to get to your nose easily. As the width size decreases, it becomes difficult to distinguish the aromas. Hence, for white wines with a delicate and floral aroma, a narrow rim glass work fine. Red wine with a complex aroma requires a glass with a wider rim than a white wine glass. The wider rim also allows the wine to flow directly to the middle and back of your tongue with a mouth-full palate effect. This kind of experience is necessary to enjoy the complex red wines. White wines are enjoyed best with a little narrow rim glass as this rim directs the wine to the top of your tongue and lets you feel the acidity and sharpness.
Another important attribute of the rim is the rim-cut. If the glass has a thin rim with minimum or no rolled structure, it will not hinder or delay the wine flow into your mouth. Wine drinking with no hindrance is considered the best. However, a wine glass with a very little rolled rim considered good for complex wines as this rolled rim structure provides a very minute delay of wine flow into your mouth and gives you a final chance to distinguish the aroma.
Upper Bowl Curve
The curve of the wine glass just below the rim plays an important role in wine flow. The upper bowl curve has 2 types, i.e. inside curve and outside curve. If the glass has an inside curve(as shown in the picture above), it will flow the wine sharply inside your mouth. This is enjoyable with sparkling wines where the inside curve accentuates the wine carbonation experience and catches the tongue quickly. The majority of the glasses have an outside curve that allows the wine to breathe more and hence allow more aromas to emerge and release.
Bowl is probably the most talked-about wine glass part. The reason is really implicit, it is the wine holder. Bowl allows the wine to breathe, and to get in touch with oxygen. This is the part of the glass where alcohol gets a chance to evaporate, hence aromas are released. Since the nose and palate experiences are an integral part of wine drinking, the bowl becomes the most important part of the glass. Bowl size and shape highly impact the wine experience and must be understood correctly.
Complex structure wines (red wines and full-bodied wines) tend to have a variety of aromas. These can only be enjoyed with a wine glass that has a larger bowl with a bigger surface area. A bigger bowl allows more oxygen absorption and breathing space for the wine. This results in complex aromas to emerge and collect in the area above wine level in the glass. A larger surface area of glass brings the temperature to room level to give you a great wine taste.
Light-bodies and less complex wines (generally white wines) have delicate aromas. These wines are enjoyed at a little lower temperature than red wines. To make sure that the wine temperature does not increase before finishing it off, these wines are enjoyed in a glass that has a lesser surface area. Compared to the red wine glass, a white wine glass should not have a very large bowl. White wines are crisp and acidic, thus more interaction with the outer atmosphere can kill its essence. Aromas released from such wines can be collected in a smaller bowl size compared to the complex wines.
The presence of a stem in a wine glass might not intensify your wine experience as far as the wine taste is concerned. However, its absence can impact the wine taste. Wine glass stem is primarily used to give your glass a good hold. Wine drinkers do not like to touch the wine through the glass surface. The scientific reason is, if you touch the wine through the glass surface, it can change the wine temperature with your hand. This might alter the actual taste of the wine and its flavors. Another reason to have a good stem is, it brings ease while doing a wine swirl to bring out the aromas. A lot of people are opting for a stemless wine glass these days, however, a classic wine experience is always recommended with a Stemmed wine glass.
Similar to the Stem, the Foot of the wine glass does not have any impact on the taste of the wine. However, the foot plays an important role in the overall holding and stability of the glass. The width of the foot should never be too less than the maximum width of the bowl. Foot size should not be too large as it might unnecessarily be stuck with other plates. The optimum foot size of a wine glass is considered to be in line with bowl width.
Wine is a really subjective drink. This drink is enjoyed in different styles by different people across the globe. There are no set of predefined rules for wine, however, to have a great drinking experience, there are some recommendations. A glass of wine is picked based on certain characteristics of the wine. Make sure you understand what part of the glass impacts the taste of the wine before you drink it.