Age isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to your wine. Experts say that you also need to worry about the size, shape and quality of the glasses you pour your beloved reds and whites into.
Christine Deussen, founder of Deussen Global, a New York City–based wine and spirits marketing firm, believes that the occasion and the company have a great deal to do with enjoying wine. “For example, a simple Beaujolais out of a jelly jar at a picnic can be just right, but more serious wines are, to me, much more pleasurable out of proper stemware.”
Here are some tips for choosing the proper glasses for your special wines and Champagnes:
• Deussen prefers using crystal or very thin glass because it better maintains the temperature of your beverage.
• Non-stemmed glasses have become popular for wines, but Deussen recommends stemmed, as they keep the heat of your hand from warming the wine, which can affect the flavor.
• Deussen is not a fan of trendy fishbowl-size glasses. You may feel glamorous drinking from them, but because they are top heavy, they’re prone to tipping. And a spilled glass of wine is a bummer!
The standard red wine serving size is 4 to 5 ounces. However, red wine glasses come in two styles: Bordeaux and Burgundy. Both glasses have a broad bowl and narrow opening, which allows you to swirl and aerate the wine without spilling it. This motion enhances the taste and captures the wine’s aromas.
• The Bordeaux glass is for full-bodied wines like syrah and cabernet. It is taller and has a smaller bowl than the Burgundy glass. This design naturally leads the wine to the back of your mouth, which is better for enjoying those fuller flavors.
• The Burgundy glass is for softer wines like pinot noir. This glass is shorter in height and has a larger bowl than the Bordeaux glass. The Burgundy design directs the wine to the tip of your tongue, which is more ideal for softer flavors.
The standard serving size of white wine is 3 ounces. White wine glasses are typically smaller than those for red wine, and they are narrow and straight-edged. White wines should be served chilled. The narrow opening and smaller serving size help maintain the proper temperature, which allows for ideal tasting conditions.
Sparkling Wine or Champagne
• As with white wines, Champagnes and sparklers should be enjoyed chilled, so your glasses (or flutes) should be narrow-sided, with a serving size of about 3 ounces.
• Ideally, your flutes should curve slightly inward at the top; the small surface area will allow the bubbles to stay extra bubbly.
What and Where to Buy
So what brand of glasses should you buy? Riedel is a favorite of wine connoisseurs, and I like this brand, too. Known for its high-quality glassware, the company has glasses to suit every wine variety. For newbies (or for us regular folk trying to keep it simple), Riedel created the Ouverture Collection, which includes the basic shapes for red wine, white wine and Champagne.
Big Kitchen is great for one-stop shopping. You’ll find everything you need from glasses (including the Riedel Ouverture glasses), bottle openers, wine preservers, stoppers and racks. (Get Big Kitchen coupons.)
You can also find Riedel at Williams-Sonoma ($24.50–$399) and Target ($19.59–$38.29). (Get Williams-Sonoma coupons and Target coupons.)