In the previous articles, we learnt how to taste a wine, how to pair it with food, and finally how to recognize organic wines. In the same way, I would like to talk about glasses. To taste wine to its fullest capacity, glasses play an important role. Here are some information that may change your way of drinking wine!
Why don’t we use everyday glasses for wine? The upper part of the glass has to be narrower than the base in order to concentrate all aromas. If the shape is too open, you won’t be able to smell it well, and fully enjoy the tasting!
The ‘normal’ tasting glass is what we call ‘INAO’. It has a tulip shape that helps opening the aromas on the base, and concentrate them toward the nose on the top. It is very convenient as it can be used for all types of wines. Recently, there are some modern shapes without the glass foot. Please be careful with these as you may warm the wine with your hands and alter its taste.
Some specialized brands like Chef & Sommelier designed glasses that will enhance the quality of your tasting. The shapes vary according to the color of the wine.
Rounder and larger designs for red wine to let the tannins express themselves and reveal the subtle aromas.
Thiner and longer designs for white wines to catch all the mineral notes and concentrate all aromas.
More than the shape, the material is also highly important. Of course, crystal glasses with thin edges are the best (like the well-known Riedel’s glasses): the pureness of the material won’t alter the wine and will make any wine shine. However, they are really fragile and can break in a thousand pieces very easily. Major glasses designers developed their own materials: like Chef & Sommelier’s Kwarx or Schott-Zwiesel’s Tritan. They all have their advantages so it’s up to you to choose your favorite material!
Please note that the usual ‘flûte’ used for champagne is not the best to taste! Centuries ago, people started to use this shape of glass for its celebratory and delicate aspect. However, the aromas are too condensed to be revealed, and bubbles can’t express themselves. Tradition is great… But good taste is better, isn’t it?
If you don’t have glasses for Champagne, use the same as for wine (white wine if you have), it will always be better than ‘flûtes’!
Here are some brands I recommend:
Riedel: these are the most expensive but believe me, these crystal glasses are truly amazing.
Chef & Sommelier: the ones you will find in most French restaurants with a nice wine menu. Prices are pretty fair and the quality is very good.
Spiegelau: thicker and less delicate shapes, but it is a good start. They have starting packs including all shapes that you may need at the beginning.
Do you have any other advices or recommendations? Feel free to share in the comment section!