The maximum enjoyment of fine wines can only be accomplished by observing certain basic guidelines about how they are served. The service of wines includes the consideration of optimum temperature, the age, the uncorking of the bottle, and the pouring of the wine into the glass. The question is…which glass? Other than the closest drinking vessel at hand, the answer may not be so obvious. Let us look at some of the elements of a glass that could affect the enjoyment of wine.
Clear glass is the best. I avoid china, ceramic, pottery, metal and plastic. You cannot see through most of them, and some impart a taste. (I saw a student bring Styrofoam coffee cups to a wine class! and, recently, at a wine tasting/dinner, the tables were set with six plastic wine glasses).
The best wine glass is stemmed, so it can be held and the wine swirled inside without spilling. The bowl should curve inwards at the top, so that when you swirl the wine, you capture the aroma and bouquet vapors as they evaporate while swirling.
The glass should not be too small. It should be 1.5 times the size of the portion you like to serve. Most portions for meal wines should be 5-6 ounces. About 3-4 ounces of sparkling wines and 2 to 3 ounces for fortified or dessert wines.
A variety of shapes exist. Some have a traditional history of usage in various wine producing regions of the world. Use the shape that pleases you most. The illustration below outlines the important shapes. Some say the correct wine in the correct glass tastes better. That’s O.K. with me, it is nice to have a variety of service for correct presentation.
Please… no color to the glass or stem. It distorts the perception of the true color of the wine. Try to keep etching and designs to a minimum.
I am most fussy about this. Prior to use, wine glasses should be inspected for absence of “wooden cabinet” smell or “dirty dish rag” smell. Best to use freshly washed and rinsed glasses. Rinse several times after washing with warm water. Dry with a lint free towel.