So let’s start with the glasses and why there are different ones to begin with. Red wine glasses and White wine glasses differ in shape and size, driven by the types of wine they are intended to hold. Typically Red wine glasses will be a bit taller and have a larger bowl than White wine glasses. In general Reds are bigger and bolder wines so they require a larger glass to allow all those aromas and flavors to emerge. “But do I need both types?” While you can certainly get by with one set of glasses, if you expect to drink a number of different varietals you may find that the glassware is holding back your experience, particularly if you opt to drink Red wine out of a smaller White wine glass. Does that mean you won’t enjoy your wine? Most definitely not. While the various shapes and sizes can be overwhelming, a proper varietal-glass pairing can make a tremendous difference.
Most glassware manufacturers will create a glass for all the different grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne, etc. Each varietal specific glass is made with that particular style of wine in mind in order to capture its essence. Some wines are acidic, others are tannic, and some are even sweet. So the glasses are shaped to allow the wine to reach the appropriate area of your tongue to bring out the best in every sip.
For example, the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Bordeaux glass is typically considered the standard red wine glass. It’s tall with a full size bowl that somewhat tapers at the top. This glass is ideal for highly tannic red wines of moderate acidity. The reason being is that it directs the wine to the center of the tongue, creating a perfect balance of fruit, tannin and acidity. The same goes for the Shiraz glass, which is the tallest of all red wine glasses and has a very distinct taper towards the top.
The Pinot Noir/Burgundy stems are not quite as tall as Bordeaux glass but will have a much wider bowl and sometimes will tulip towards the rim. These glasses enhance red wines with high acidity and moderate tannin by directing the wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit and balancing the naturally high acidity. glasses enhance red wines with high acidity and moderate tannin by directing the wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit and balancing the naturally high acidity.
Red wine glasses generally fall into the following categories:
Now the white wine glasses are much more difficult because their shapes are a lot less distinctive. Until you get to White Burgundy you really have to have a trained eye to draw the distinction, in fact some of the water glasses in good restaurants closely resemble the chardonnay and Grigio glasses. I know, if it’s that close, what difference does it make? That might be true in most situations until you find yourself in one where it does and then you’ll wish you had the knowledge. So much like wine, build your collection slowly, 4 of each as you taste go. If you normally drink chardonnay then stick with what you know and build your collection from there. Honestly, they may be the only ones you’ll ever need. From there you can expand out, but don’t worry about taking your time. Wait for your deals, perhaps after holidays and at your Bev Mo’s or Cost Plus World Markets. You can build your collection tastefully and frugally. Here are some of the white wine glasses that will always be appropriate for any occasion and show you know how to entertain.