The Shape of Things

Why do people seem to harp on about wine glasses and their shape?

Because it makes quite a difference – something good restaurants with their mix of glasses have known for a while.

Starting with Champagne and Sparkling Wine, we all pretty well know it needs to be drunk from tall skinny flutes. And the reason we do this is to maintain those wonderful bubbles as well as the more delicate aromas that sparkling wines have. The flute’s narrow diameter is important in promoting the perception of fresh and delicate aromas. 

Reds are best drunk from large glasses. This is because reds are usually more full bodied and take a longer time to open up. Large glasses allow you to swirl the wine and let you fully enjoy its aromas and flavours.

Whites such as Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are lighter in body and more delicate. Pouring them into a large glass will cause them to loose their freshness and their delicate aromas. Go with a narrower, smaller glass so that the aroma and freshness in maintained for longer.  

Full-bodied whites like chardonnay and viognier are better served in a bigger glass with a straight opening. The larger body and a greater opening will allow a better perception of complex aromas of mature white wines. The straight opening is important because it will direct the wine to the sides and to the back of the tongue, before finally reaching the tip in order to properly appreciate its roundness.

After use, it’s very important that glassware is very well washed and thoroughly rinsed and dried, as any hint of dishwashing detergent can quickly kill the aroma of your wine. If you use a dishwasher then make sure you don’t use any rinse aid and that the glasses are well dried before they are put away.

Finally don’t get seduced by the latest trend of “stemless” glasses. The stem is very important, as you don’t want to over handle the glass and allow your hands to warm up the wine too much.

Look for cut over rolled edges to the glass for a more finished look and pleasant feel for the mouth. And you don’t need to spend heaps to get good glassware – there’s some reasonable priced glassware that you fits the bill.

So cheers - enjoy your wine:)

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