In this edition we will cover the relevance and added characteristics that the correct glassware can bring to your drinking experience. Certain styles of glasses enhance, and can even mute, the aromatic profiles or your wine. Just as important as temperature , storage and grape variety ; Millesima Tips 11, choosing the right glass.
Sparkling: Flutes vs. Regular Glass
We are accustomed to seeing Champagne served in flutes on silver trays. What do flutes really add to the already impressive aromas and flavors of Champagne? According to certain industry professionals, apart from their aesthetically slim and tall shape, flutes are ideal for concentrating the effervescence of Champagne. However, like most wines, Champagne benefits from being served in a “normal” wine glass. Its complex aromas are allowed to flourish and develop when they aren’t confined to beautiful walls of a flute.
Glass or Crystal?
Before we discuss the shapes of glasses, let’s talk about their materials. Obviously, the materials used influence the characteristics of a wine. When discussing wine glasses, there are two materials that are the most common. For those that are very diligent and clean directly after using glassware, and don’t mind hand-washing, crystal glasses are the best option. Crystal captures light in a prism creating a rainbow. Crystal can be lead based or lead free. The presence of lead make the glasses sparkle and allow the glasses to be spun very thin. Regular glass is the crystal alternative. Non-crystal glassware is dishwasher friendly and significantly more durable.
Bold reds, expressive whites and dessert wines
Dessert wines with higher alcohol and high concentrations of sugar show best in the smallest glasses, often referred to a Dessert Wine Glass. The smaller glasses are perfect for small servings (of alcohol), and sending the alcohol straight to the back of the mouth (to avoid over powerful sweet flavors).
White wine glasses have a wide bowl and tapered opening, to concentrate the delicate and complex aromas upwards. Light-bodied aromatic red wines like Pinot Noir also show best in this glass, often referred to as a white wine or Burgundy Glass. In our Millesima tips article on serving temperatures , we mentioned that great white wines are revered for their aromatic qualities.
Bold red wines are best served in a wine glass that has a larger bowl with a large opening. Due to their tannic structure and acidity, this glass allows a wine to breathe, releasing its complex aromas. Bordeaux wines in their youth can be powerful and require time to breathe. The tannic and acidic structure become smooth and round when in contact with oxygen. These glasses are often referred to as Red Wine or Bordeaux Glasses.