Many people debate about whether selecting the right wine glass can enhance their enjoyment of wine. You can drink wine out of any glass, just as you can enjoy wine with any food. However, if you are enjoying a good wine, you should serve your wine in stemware (glasses with stems). You may also want to consider color, size and glass shape when deciding how to serve your fine wine.
Different areas of the tongue are sensitive to distinct tastes -- bitter, salt, acid and sweet. Appropriate glasses can actually accentuate a wine's character by delivering it to the appropriate taste bud zones on your tongue. For instance, a glass that is designed for red wines directs wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit taste while balancing its natural acidity.
The perfect wine glass has a bowl that narrows towards the rim of the glass. This channels the aromas and flavors into the nose when you sniff the wine. Glasses should ideally be made of clear glass so that the wine's color and clarity can be appreciated. To avoid raising the temperature of a cooled wine, hold the glass by its stem.
Common glass selections for sparkling wines include a tulip, flute or trumpet glass.
A balloon glass with a wider shape is commonly used to aerate red wines and is especially good for Burgundies and Pinot Noirs. An oval-shaped glass that is narrower toward the mouth works well for other red wines (such as Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel). When pouring your fine wine, white wine glasses may be filled halfway while red wines should be filled to one-third capacity. Sparkling wines are served three-quarters full.
Ideally, white wines should be served slightly chilled and in narrower glasses. Often these wines are served too cool, which inhibits the expression of flavors and aromas. Red wines, which are served in larger, wider, glasses, need more exposure to air to bring out their full bouquet. Most red wines are best served at cool room temperature (62-65 degrees F).
Blush or “Rosé” wines reflect the style of a white wine, but they are made using red grapes. Because they are in contact with the red grape skins for a short time, they take on a delicate pale pink color. Blush wines are best served in a glass with an unusual curved design and a narrower base. This glass shape accentuates the wine’s acidity, helping create a balance for the wine’s sweet character. At the same time, the distinct design emphasizes the ripe peach and apricot flavors often found in blush wines such as White Zinfandel, White Grenache or Mountain Rosé. The best glass shape ensures your wine will be the soft, sweet reward you desire your blush to be.