Believe it or not, the type of wine glass you use does matter! In this minisode we discuss the kinds of glasses you need to have for white, red, and sparkling, and why you want to use different glasses for each. We'll also tell you why you really should not use stemless glasses! Seriously, people! Listen to learn more! Minisodes are fun, short, snackable content of The Wine Pair Podcast where we share with you things you have always wanted to know about wine, wine tasting, and wine etiquette but were afraid to ask!
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Minisode #4: Does the kind of wine glass really matter?
Hi everyone, and welcome to this mini-episode of The Wine Pair Podcast! I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime Carmela. And we are The Wine Pair.
Ok, Carmela, some of our friends out there in listening land might be wondering what a minisode is. Do you know? Minisodes are short episodes - tastings if you will - of our very own Wine Pair Podcast that are meant to be fun and educational and snackable. Like a box of chocolates. You can eat just one, or you can just eat the whole damn thing. Up to you!
In this minisode we are going to talk about whether or not the kind of wine glass you use actually matters.
Carmela, you know I love wine glasses, and you also know that there are a lot of different types of wine glasses.
What different types of wine glasses are you aware of?
- Let’s start with a white wine glass: White wine glasses tend to be smaller and less wide than red wine glasses
- Sparkling wine glasses tend to be in flutes or coupes
- Red wine glasses can come in a variety of shapes, from globes to bowls with tapers, to even squared off tops
- And then there are the dreaded stemless bulbs that I really don’t like
- And the stemless that I really do like that look like little juice glasses and remind me of enotecas or wine bars in Italy.
But do you think the style or type of wine glass really matters?
First, I will say that basically any stemmed wine glass with a bulbed top is actually fine. As we mentioned in the episode on how to hold a wine glass, you really do want a wine glass with a stem so that you are not warming the wine, you can swirl the wine, and you are not clouding the glass with your fingerprints.
The reason the kind of glass matters really comes down to being able to smell the wine as much as aesthetics. There have been studies that show that the shape of the wine glass really does matter, and it has to do with the temperature of the wine, or specifically the alcohol concentration of the wine in the middle of the glass versus the rim. In other words, the more the alcohol can congregate at the rim, the better, and that means that glasses that taper or get smaller at the top than at the bottom really do help us smell and taste the wine.
In addition, the wider or bigger the bulb, the more air can get to the wine, especially when you swirl it, and that is a good thing.
And remember that smell is the most important part of tasting.
For red wines, you would like to have a larger glass with a wider bottom of the bulb. This helps get more air into the wine. I prefer wine glasses that taper at the top, almost like the glass is shaped like the bottom two-thirds of a pyramid, but with rounded corners and bottoms rather than straight. This is more of the burgundy or pinot noir style than the cabernet or bordeaux style which tends to be not quite as wide at the bottom and so not as tapered at the top. But ultimately that is preference. You can check out our Instagram and our show notes to learn more.
For white wines, I do still like to have that pyramid-like shape, but they don’t need to be as wide or big as the red wine glasses.
And for sparkling, I do prefer a coupe glass - which is like the champagne glasses from the 30s and 40s which look like cocktail glasses - over the flutes. I think you can smell the wine better, but they are also a bit more clumsy.
And, in case you think that this is not a real thing, I encourage you to smell and drink wine from different glasses, including regular drinking glasses and you will be able to tell the difference.
I don’t think you have to go too crazy on matching the specific glass to the specific wine. Other than the general rules for red, white, and sparkling, there is not that much difference between the types to make a really noticeable difference unless you are really getting particular.
ARTICLES AND LINKS
Ok, that’s it for this minisode. Check out our other minisodes to learn more, and send us a note if you want us to cover other subjects. You can follow us on Instagram and Twitter, you can visit our website thewinepairpodcast.com and in any of those places you can reach out to us directly. We also will have our show notes on our website, and we will include links to articles on this topic as well.
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