The wine glasses as we know them today did not appear until the beginning of the 14th century. At the time, they were a reflection of the Venetian know-how of the island of Murano, which exported them all over Europe.
After that, during the 18th century in France, people sometimes tasted several wines during the same meal. This is how in the 19th century glassware services became popular. Each glass then had its own use. Moreover, at that time the glass became more democratic and was no longer reserved exclusively for the bourgeoisie, its use became more common.
Furthermore, in the 20th century, Claus Riedel was the first to acknowledge a correlation between the shape of the wine glass and its influence on tasting. He then completely changed the style of wine glasses to blown, uncolored and very thin glasses. After that, he launched the « Sommeliers » collection, the first series of glasses based on the style and character of each wine.
Choosing your wine glass
During the tasting, 3 of our senses are activated: sight, smell and taste. And the wine glass plays a decisive role for each one. Some characteristics are particularly important to consider when choosing a glass.
- The transparency influences the visual analysis. Indeed, it is important to see the color, the robe of the wine to fully appreciate the tasting.
- The size and shape of the glass which influence the gustatory and olfactory analysis. For example, with the diameter of the container larger than that of the opening, the aromas (volatile molecules) of the wine spread and reach the taster’s nose. Be careful however not to have an opening that is too closed because the aromas will not be perceived.
- Be careful when choosing the glass because its thickness also plays a role in the tasting. For an optimal olfactory analysis, the rim must be as thin as possible. The finer it is, the more the taste will run through your mouth.
Burgundy Wine Glass
- Type of wine: lighter, more delicate red wines, like Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, red Burgundy, and Dolcetto
- Large bowl (broader than Bordeaux glass) with narrower top directs wine to the tip of the tongue, allowing the drinker to detect flavor nuances
- Broad bowl allows aromas of delicate wines to accumulate
- Thin rim makes it easy to drink from
Pinot Noir Glass
- Type of wine: Pinot Noir and other light red wines
- Similar to Burgundy glass; easily interchangeable
- Wide bowl which enables the wine to come into contact with plenty of air, improving flavor and aroma
- Type of wine: full-bodied, heavier red wines with high tannins, like Bordeaux blends, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec
- Tallest red wine glass; has a broad bowl, but not as broad as other red wine glasses
- Height of the glass creates distance between wine and mouth, which enables ethanol to dissipate on the nose, allowing more oxygen to soften tannins (tannins contribute to wine’s bitterness)
- Directs wine to the back of the mouth, minimizing bitterness and maximizing the flavor spectrum
Cabernet Sauvignon Glass
- Type of wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and other bold wines
- Tall glass, though not as tall as a Bordeaux glass
- Broad bowl; some variations have a very narrow rim
- Enhances the smell of the wine. Broad bowl enables wine to breathe, and the aroma is subsequently accumulated by the narrow mouth
Standard Red Wine Glasses
- Type of wine: medium- to full-bodied red wines with or without spicy components, like Zinfandel, Shiraz, Carignan, Merlot, Chianti, and Malbec
- Due to the small opening, flavors meet the tongue in a continuous flow as opposed to all at once, which softens the spiciness and rich flavors
Below are the typical characteristics of a white wine glass:
- Bowl is more u-shaped and upright than a red wine glass
- Slightly smaller bowl than red wine glass
- The shape enhances and preserves aromas while also maintaining the wine’s cool temperature
Sauvignon Blanc Glass
- Type of wine: Sauvignon Blanc and other light- to medium-bodied, fruity or floral wines, like white Bordeaux, Fume Blanc, Loire, Vinho Verde, Chenin Blanc, Muscadet, Muscat Blanc, and Pinot Grigio
- Tall glass with slender bowl, which captures the nuanced, delicate floral and fruit aromas and guides aroma straight to the nose
- Sides of the mouth detect acidity the most; this glass causes the tongue to form a U-shape, directing the wine down the front towards the center of the palate, causing a smoother sip
Chardonnay Wine Glass
- Type of wine: Chardonnay and other full-bodied wines, like Semillon and Viognier
- Larger opening guides wine to the tip and sides of tongue, enabling the palate to detect the sweetness of the wine
- It’s a balancing act: bowl provides just enough aeration to concentrate the aroma while the larger opening balances out the sweetness and acidity on the palate
Riesling Sweet and Standard Sweet Wine Glass
- Type of wine: Riesling sweet and other sweet varieties, such as Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gruner Veltliner
- Smaller overall, including a smaller rim, which guides wine towards the center and the back of the mouth to avoid overwhelm from the sweetness
Rose Wine Glasses
The best rose wine glass depends on whether you are drinking a young or mature rose. Below we go through the characteristics of a flared lip glass or a glass with a slight taper.
Flared Lip Rose Glass
- Type of wine: young, crisp rose or young white wine
- Long stem ensures that heat from the hand will not warm the wine
- Flared lip directs the wine first to tip of tongue where taste buds are most sensitive to sweetness. Enhances the sweetness of crisp wine; balances flavor and minimizes any bite
Slight Taper Rose Glass
- Type of wine: mature, full-bodied rose
- Short bowl that is rounded at the bottom with a slight taper instead of a flared lip
P.S. Wine of the Friday mood – ENO Reserva!