When it comes to wine glasses, if you are someone who shouts, “Just pour, baby! I don’t care what glass it’s in as long as it’s in there!” We’re here to offer a few thoughts on why ya might want to give yourself an opportunity to think a l’il differently.
Here’s a place to start. Ask yourself this:
- Would you put hot coffee in a water glass?
- Would you cook soup in a frying pan?
- What happens when you use a razor instead of electric clippers?
- When it’s time to move and pack up boxes, what happens when you use dollar store packing tape instead of 3M heavy duty tape?
- For those that wear eyeliner, what happens when you use Wet n Wild black eyeliner versus Lancôme?
Hopefully, these examples are getting your brain to think differently about what type of glass you pour your delicious (and oftentimes, necessary) wine into.
As The Wine Company states in My Little Wine Book, “…It is essential to have a glass which has a shape fine-tuned to the purpose. The shape is responsible for the quality and intensity of the bouquet and the flow of the wine onto your tongue.”
You don’t want to miss out on the intensity of the bouquet, do you??
To help you out, here is a quick and dirty tutorial:
Round Glass = Red
- Why: The round shape of the glass is largely about oxidation and allowing the wine to breathe. (See our article here on decanting). The placement of the air in the glass allows for the aromas to hit your nose and tongue in a delightful way.
Oval Glass = White
- Why: Alternatively, white wines (except for Chardonnay, perhaps) want a little less oxygen on them. They like to stay crisp, close and cosy in the glass. The thinner oval shape supports this.
Tall & Thin Glass = Champagne, Sparkling wine
- Why: Bubbles! The flute keeps the bubbles bubbly and allows that effervescence to float to your nose. As you sip, the shape also sends the yumminess straight to your tongue for lots of tingles.
These tips are only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to knowing which glass is the proper glass for wine. There are so many glasses! It can be a fun journey toward expanding your wine knowledge to learn all the types of wine glasses (i.e, there’s a glass specifically for Pinot Noir, another for Bordeaux; there’s special glasses for ports and dessert wines, and so many more).
Before we go, let’s talk about quality for a moment. There is also much to learn about the quality of glass to use with your wine. Take the Wet n Wild vs Lancôme example above. Wet n Wild eyeliner, about $5.00 at Walgreens, can go on smooth, but by the end of the day, it might be sliding or cracking off your face or gone completely. It doesn’t have much staying power. Whereas Lancôme, about $19 at Nordstrom Rack, is going to glide on your eye and adhere to it in a way that makes you feel confident about using the product. Both are 100% functional and serve a purpose. The price and promise of the product is what makes the difference. With wine glasses, you absolutely can stock up on several glasses from the Dollar General. The glass will be thicker, which will affect the temperature of your wine as well as how you sip it. Whereas with a Riedel or even a nice glass from Crate n Barrel or William Sonoma, you’re going to get a light-weight, properly (and beautifully) stemmed glass which will make your wine stand out in the ways it should.
The point is, using the right wine glass for the right type of wine enhances the experience and it really does make a difference. Will the world end if you use a white wine glass for a red? Of course not. Will your hands shrivel off or burst into flames if you use a dollar-store wine glass instead of a Riedel? Probably not. The importance (and fun) is to know the difference, understand the why and appreciate the quality of a nice glass. And then keep it movin’ and get back to enjoying your vino!