Is it an insult to offer someone a glass of wine in the wrong type of wine glass? Probably not, but some people may consider it a disservice to the wine to serve it in an inappropriate glass. When serving wine for the best taste experience, wine glasses should be chosen based on the wine that is being served.
There are distinct differences and precise reasons why certain wine glasses should be used to serve particular types of wine. Particular sizes and shapes enhance aromas, direct the flow of the wine to certain parts of the tongue and keep sparkling wines from going flat. Blown glass or thin crystal are considered more complimentary to the wine-drinking experience than heavier glass, although some people like glass or cut crystal for the refractive qualities when observing the wine. Tinted, colored or decorated glasses may interfere with enjoyment of the color and clarity of the wine being served.
Wine glasses are made up of a bowl, a stem and a foot. There are also stemless tumblers available, but they seem to be less desired by most avid wine drinkers. The opening of the bowl should not be wider than the bowl of the glass. The stem of the glass is the part of the glass that should be held, as it keeps the temperature of the wine from being altered by body heat from the hand. Holding a wine glass with the stem also keeps the glass from being marked by fingerprints, which would interfere with the appearance of the color and clarity. The foot of the glass allows one to sit the glass down.
There are three commonly used types of wine glasses classified as stemware: red wine glasses, white wine glasses and champagne flutes. Less common are sherry glasses and wine-tasting glasses made specifically for that purpose.
Red wine glasses tend to have wider bowls to allow the wine to breathe. Red wine glasses can be classified into Burgundy and Bordeaux styles. These are slightly different and are designed for different types of red wines.
White wine glasses are generally smaller with straight or tulip-shaped sides. They have a narrower bowl and a narrower opening. Their size allows chilled white wine to stay cold longer since they have a smaller surface for air and touch to warm them.
Champagne flutes have long stems and tall, narrow bowls to contain the carbonated sparkling bubbles while you drink it. The tall stem is to keep the heat from your hands away from the chilled wine.
Sherry glasses are considered drinkware and are used to serve various alcoholic beverages, such as sherry, port and liqueurs. They generally have a narrow, tapered bowl.
Wine-tasting glasses are designed specifically for wine tasting, have elongated bowls and stems and are part of a designed series in specific sizes.
The benefit of using the correct wine glass for a specific type of wine is that the flavor, bouquet and overall wine-drinking experience will be the best possible for the wine served. True wine connoisseurs pay attention to aromas, fruitiness, tannin, color and clarity. All of these are enhanced by being served in the glass that is the best choice for the wine.
If you are going to serve various types of wine and are unable to invest in all of the different types of glasses, experts suggest that the best choice to use for reasonable results would be the narrow tulip-shaped glass. While not giving the optimum results, the results should still be both acceptable and pleasurable.
- Photo Credit Man with wine and glasses image by Allen Penton from Fotolia.com
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