You can drink wine from a coffee mug or a beer mug for all that matters, but there is some science to back up the claim that wine tastes better in glasses designed for them – aka wine glasses!
You do not have to be a bartender to understand which flute, goblet, or coupe brings out the true character of your Dom Perignon, Red Wine, or Chardonnay. After reading this, you would know the right pairing of glasses and wines, and most importantly, why.
So sit back, relax and read on.
Why the proper glass-type?
It is a common misconception that wine glasses cost a fortune. That being said, knowing the right glass-type for your wine is a blessing.
Controlled scientific experiments reveal how different glasses affected the density of ethanol vapors. If you are wondering why does ethanol matter in the first place, well, it’s ethanol vapors that carry the wine’s signature aromas through the air to your nostrils. The same aromatic compounds impart flavors to the wine as well.
Each distinct shape collects the flavours and aroma differently to eventualy deposit it into your mouth.
Knowing the right types
It may come as a surprise that the stem of the glass does not play much of a role in the process of how ethanol vapours act. Note that for truly tasting your wine’s flavours, you should leave some space above it – this is how you collect aromas the best way.
White wine glasses should ideally be smaller than those used for Red wine. Tulip shaped, bowled glasses help in concentrating its finer aromas and maintain its temperature. You can also use the same type for Rose wines.
Full-bodied whites, like Chardonnay, benefit from glasses with wider openings that complement their richer flavors, while acidic whites like Sauvignon Blanc are best enjoyed with glasses with a little smaller bowl that moves the acidity right to the palate.
Red wines tend to be somewhat bitter due to tannin or the added spices. The intent with them should be the alleviation of this bitterness to experience a smooth taste.
Use a standard red wine glass for reds like Zinfandel and Shiraz, which are either spicy or high in alcohol, and a large Bordeaux glass for bolder wines like Cabernet Franc. The former assists in softening the spices while the latter helps evaporate the excess ethanol evaporate from its large surface area.
The long and narrow design of a Champagne flute serves a distinct purpose – it lets the bubbles play around for a longer duration. A rounder or broader spectrum glass would make the wine go flat quicker due to its larger surface area.
Dessert wines aka fortified wines, as the name suggests, have a higher alcohol content and tend to be sweeter than most of their counterparts.
The glass designed for them is simply a smaller red wine glass, to facilitate smaller servings. Also, the shape is created in a way that facilitates the beverage towards the back of the mouth.
If you do not have much space in your kitchen or do not bother much about subtle differences in flavour or aroma, invigorated by minor design nuances between multiple wine glasses, a universal glass is the way to go.
They are cost-effective, classy and go with most wine types.