The Matter of Wine Glasses

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.a


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.


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