We have a tradition. Well, we have more than one but let’s not get in to that right now. Here’s the thing. We like wine glasses. And by we, I mean my DH and myself. I don’t know why exactly. But, we have glasses to commemorate events both big and small. There are the toasting flutes from our wedding day, the deep cut crystal goblets from our five-year wedding anniversary, the champagne flutes I gave my DH when we were dating. Then, the stemless red wine glasses a good friend had painted for me, to mark our daughters wedding last year. And on Thursday, as is tradition we got our tenth anniversary wine glasses. So, I got to thinking, how about a little “what glass with what wine” post? Yep. I really do know what glass you are “supposed” to use with what wine. And, it does make a difference. I wouldn’t lie to you!
Let me preface this “glassware lesson” by saying… though the glasses do matter some, it’s not entirely necessary to have the EXACT glass to enjoy wine. Wine is fun. It’s not meant to be overwhelming. Ask Dottie and John (but that’s another post entirely).
So, let’s begin, shall we? There are white wine glasses, red wine glasses, sparkling wine glasses/flutes and glasses for dessert wines. Nowadays you can get stemless wine ware which comes in red, white and flutes styles as well. Stemless wine glasses are a favorite of mine. I love them! I would say, they are better for casual, sittin’ ’round the table wine drinking than any sort of formal gathering. Here’s why… stemless wine glasses have to be held in your hand thereby warming the wine (Yeah, temperature is somewhat important too but let’s not get hung up on that right now). Traditional stemmed ware allows you to hold the glass by the stem so as not to warm the wine.
First, the white’s… white wine glasses are tulip shaped. Narrower than red wine glasses and usually taper in a bit at the top. This allows the smell (or aroma, if you are a bit more wine snobbish) to be released. Believe it or not the shape also helps keep wine at the preferred cooler temperature most whites are consumed at. Let’s use the above picture as a reference (you knew it had to be there for a reason). The glass with the white wine in it (you knew this right?) is a stemmed white wine glass. The similarly shaped glass directly in front of it is a stemless white wine glass (which, I am sure you surmised, you smart cookie you). Some white wines to try in your glasses: Vouvray (a french white, sort of green apple-ish in tartness and clean and fresh in flavor), Vigonier (higher in alcohol, crisp, earthy and with a melon-y taste), Sauvignon Blanc (one of our favorites, literally tastes green, great for summer, a bit on the drier side) and of course, Riesling (this is a sweeter, German wine though tons of wineries all over the place make it now).
On to the reds… Red wine glasses are bowl-shaped, rounder with a larger opening. The larger opening is meant to enable you to get right in there with your nose and get a good whiff (yep, me and the DH have done this, in public even). The wider bowl creates more surface area on the top of the wine. This allows more air to reach it, thereby releasing more of the wonderous and heady scent of the wine (is it wine o’ clock yet?). I know you can pick out which one it is in the above photo, but I feel inclined to tell you anyway (since I am taking on the role of glassware instructor)… the one to the right of the bottle of wine is the stemmed version and the stemless version has (what else) red wine in it! Hmmm… might be time for a glass. Some red wines to try out in your glasses: Cabernet Sauvignon (we drink a lot of Cab with its strong, bright flavor, we like the Chilean types), Pinot Noir (is one of my favorites, warm, velvety), Shiraz (this is DH favorite and it’s growing on me… strong, peppery)
Sparklers! I do love sparklers! But, I digress… Sparkling wine glasses/flutes are slim and upright. It is said that this is so because the bubble are more esthetically pleasing. That is to say… ”prettier”. And, I have to admit, they do look really cool going straight up from the bottom of the glass (and taste magically delicious)… it’s a thing of beauty to be sure. The real purpose however is to maintain the carbonation. Even better than all that? There is something elegant about sipping a sparkler from a flute, it just makes it even more special. In the photo the sparkling wine glasses are to the far left in both stemmed and stemless types. Sparklers to try: Prosecco (an Italian sparkler and one of my favorites, delicious and effervescent), Cava (a Spanish sparkler, drier than I like but still really enjoyed it), and one of our guilty little pleasures, a cheap sparkler ($6 per bottle) named Ballatore. It’s an Asti Spumante. I know, I know… for shame. But, it’s just so pleasing ice-cold on a warm evening.
Last but not least, dessert wine glasses. These are smaller versions of wine glasses. Usually stemmed. These are the perfect size for sweeter dessert wines. Mainly because these wines are usually higher in alcohol than other wines (not that it’s a bad thing). Our dessert wine glass is to the far right behind the stemless red wine glass. Don’t be shy, most people don’t think they like dessert wine. Truth is, it’s sweet. Really sweet. But there are some we have liked. Here are some to try: Moscato (nice, sweet, not as heavy as some dessert wines, we enjoy this one), Tokaji (an asian wine, nicely sweet), there are Ice Wines that are nice too.
In the end, what matters most is that you enjoy what you are drinking. And, that the glasses somehow make that whole experience better. We have had wine from a paper cup and it was fun! It’s all about the occasion, the people, the food and the memories!