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Wine Glasses 101

typical red wine glass shape

In addition to looking sophisticated and fun, wine glasses come in various shapes and sizes to bring out the best in your wine.  For instance, a typical red wine glass is larger and more rounded than a glass designed for whites.  A prime example of an excellent red wine glass is the Riedel Vinum Classic Burgundy. This allows more air to come into contact with the wine, provides additional space for adequate swirling when opening, and also better accommodates your nose when enjoying the complex scent of a red.  Some stemless red wine glasses, such as any from the Riedel O Wine Glasses collection, have even larger openings and are particularly nice for these reasons!

White wine glasses, being thinner and taller, keep wine at a cooler temperature for longer.  A good example of a typical white wine glass is the Riedel Sommeliers Chablis/Chardonnay. Sparkling wine glasses, also called flutes, are very narrow.  Even if you’re new to the world of wine, you’ve probably used them at least once when drinking a toast at a wedding.  The Riedel Sommeliers Vintage Champagne glass (right) is a good, typical example. Their narrow shape helps to preserve the wine’s carbonation.

Lastly, dessert wine glasses are almost always smaller than the others.  Designed to rush sweet wine to the back of the tongue so its sweetness is not overpowering, they typically range from near shot glass size to a little smaller than a sparkling wine glass.  They also tend to have shorter stems.  Crystal-clear wine glasses are often ideal, especially when visually inspecting your wine.  Though it’s hard to tell from the picture, the Riedel Sommeliers Vintage Port Glass is a good example of a dessert wine glass.

Blown glass, which is particularly thin, is quite good for both visual inspection as well as tasting; you can take smaller sips of wine because the lip of the glass is not as thick.  (Remember to be gentle if toasting with thinner glasses, though!)  Although it’s not essential to drink wine from the proper glass, choosing the right type of glass to complement your vino will definitely enhance your overall experience.

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  1. Jeffrey Peltier
    June 29th, 2011 at 14:36 | #1

    Wine is fun to drink and to serve. To make a good impresion I like to use a decanter as well as blown glass wine goblets.

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