Choosing the Right Wine Glass
What the Experts Don’t Want you to know!
A decent glass of wine should offer more than just a pleasant taste and a warm fuzzy feeling. Getting the most out of any wine means bringing out the fabulous (and abundant!) aromas that any good glass of wine will offer.
The next time you are out at a nice restaurant, pay attention when a waiter near you opens a bottle of wine for a table. Want to know if the person who ordered the wine knows what they are doing? Well, here’s a quick two-step, fool-proof way to spot those “in the know” from those who just don’t;
1. No self-respecting wine buff holds a glass by anything other than the stem. Yes, it looks a little pretentious, but the reason is a practical one - so that the sweaty embrace of the palms won’t raise the temperature of the glass’ contents.
2. Also, a true wine buff doesn’t immediately grab the glass and take a quick sip while the server is watching. Instead, they leave the glass on the table and gently rotate the glass (always holding onto the stem, remember). After a few seconds of this, they lift the glass to their nose and take a deep prolonged sniff. No tasting yet!
The common reason given for this ‘smell test” is to judge whether the wine has been ‘corked’ – i.e. gone bad. But there is another, even more important and misunderstood reason known only to the true wine buff; the enjoyment of wine is based as much on the aroma as its flavor. In fact, one of the reasons wine has such an enduring fascination is that it is one of the few liquids that can express such a complex range of aromas.
It is said that as much as 80% of our perceived taste comes from our sense of smell. Did you know that’s why hot food tastes better? The rising steam brings microscopic particles of food to your nostrils! So next time you open a bottle of the good stuff, take the time to have to or three long deep sniffs of that glass before you take the first sip, OK?
Have to do with how a wine smells? And what’s the big secret “they” don’t want you to know?
In a word- Everything. In another word- Nothing. Confused yet? Don’t worry, this is where we get to the bit that “the Experts Don’t Want you to Know”.
You see, go to any quality department store or wine reseller and they will have dozens of different wine glasses. Different volumes, shapes, and materials assault the senses. There a specialty glasses for white wine, bold reds, dessert wines light reds, standard reds (whatever that means), and sherries.
They’d have us believe that each varietal requires its own special glassware in order to bring out it’s aromas – hence the primer at the beginning. But will a “bold red” served in a “light red” glass mean you’ll miss out on something? NOPE.
In truth, there are only TWO things you need to consider when buying a wine glass
1. Is the rim smaller than the bowl? A smaller rim allows all of the yummy aromas escaping from the wine to be collected and brought to the nose easier. That is it.
2. A stem. It’s gotta have a stem. If it doesn’t, it’s called a tumbler, not a wine glass.
Beyond those two details, anything goes! Crystal is nice, as it allows a thin rim that wine buffs say interferes less with the tasting process. Small sherry glasses are probably due more to the fact that sherries tend to be very rich, so less is typically drunk in one go.
But here’s a BONUS tip that the experts don’t want you to know… drinking wine of “questionable” quality? Drink it out of a wide rim glass or tumbler! Those same aromas you’d want to save from a quality wine will be dispersed faster and (possibly), make the wine taste better! See? Drinking all that wine from a red plastic cup in college means you were just being savvy…right?