How to Choose the Proper Wine Glass

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Although there are no hard-and-fast rules, choosing the correct wine glass can enhance the enjoyment of your wine greatly. Use these tips and your own personal taste to choose the right wine glass for you.

Large Glasses

  • Choose wider, bowl-shaped glasses for red wines. With the bolder bouquets of red wines, you will want a wider "mouth" in your wine glass to enable you to capture all the aromas the red wine has to offer.

  • Use glasses with as wide a bowl as possible for aged red wines to capture their complex aromas. Red wines that are not aged should still be served in large wine glasses, but the opening can be somewhat narrower.

  • Serve wine accompanying a dinner in large glasses. This ensures that you and your guests will have enough wine in your glasses to enjoy throughout the meal.

Smaller or Narrower Glasses

  • Use wine glasses with a very narrow mouth for young or light white wines. The bouquet of this type of wine is likely to be subtle, so you want to concentrate the aroma in a narrower passage for your enjoyment.

  • Serve wood-aged white wines in slightly wider-mouthed wine glasses (but still on the narrow side). Again, you will want to concentrate the bouquet as much as possible.

  • Champagne should be served in proper tulip-shaped champagne flutes. This allows for maximum concentration of champagne's delicate bouquet. It also adds to the unmistakable visual appeal of champagne to see the bubbles rising to the top in a long and slender flute.

Specialty Glasses

  • Serve brandy in a traditional brandy snifter. The large bowl combined with the short stem allows the drinker to cup the bowl of the wine glass in his or her hand. This action allows the heat of the hand to gently warm the brandy and bring out the aroma in the drink.

  • Serve sweet sparkling wines in what is known as a "cup." These broad, shallow glasses are often mistaken for proper champagne glasses but are really better suited to the aromatic flavors of sweet sparkling wines.

  • Serve port or cognac in slender glasses. Depending on what you have available, a narrow white-wine glass or champagne flute will work nicely.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose clear glasses to best enjoy the color and appearance of your wine.
  • Only fill your wine glass 1/3 to 1/2 full to allow the drinker to swirl the wine and release the bouquet. The air space between the wine and the mouth of the glass allows air to bring out the best in the wine's aroma.
  • Although stemless wine glasses are becoming popular, be careful when using them. Holding your wine in your hand will cause the heat from your hand to warm the wine. This can impede the wine from giving off its best aroma and flavor. If you must use these glasses, put them down between sips to avoid warming your wine.
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