Five Rules About Wine Glasses That You Won’t Want to Break


protea pour

Consider the glass pictured above. What’s not to love about it? Nothing – as a water glass!

The truth is, as much as we adore all things upcycled (and especially protea things!), for wine, we have an issue with the way the dark green color of the glass and the paisley design rob you of the ability to appreciate the wine’s color.

So there’s Rule One on wine glasses: Go clear.

Rule Two: Go thin

We’re not talking about piping hot cocoa here, so there’s no need for a fat, insulated vessel and a thick buffer between your mouth and the liquid. You want the glass out of the way, so you can taste the wine.

Rule Three: Don’t go too thin.

Our experience is that the thinnest, most expensive wine glasses are also the ones most likely to break. So look for a happy medium that combines a thin lip with sturdiness.

Rule Four: Go for a big bowl.

Not so you can fill it up with two-thirds of a bottle of wine, but so a standard, five-ounce pour will leave you plenty of space to swirl, releasing the aromas. Think 20 ounces, maybe even bigger. The bowl should be tapered just a bit, too, to help capture the aromas – and to keep your swirls from sloshing overboard.

Rule Five: Do stems.

Actually, let’s call this a suggestion, not a rule. Tumblers have etched a place in the market in the past five years or so, and they are cool for casual gatherings. Plus, they go in the dishwasher easily and tend to be very durable. But our preference is for stems. Not because we fear warming our chilled Chenin Blanc with our hands when drinking from a tumbler – that sounds dubious. It’s actually a matter of keeping the bowl sparkling clear, free of smudges.

So that’s it – our rules for glasses that will allow for good, consistent enjoyment of wine without too much fuss.

Now, it is true that there are those who believe a more sophisticated approach is in order. The folks at Riedel, for instance, believe you might need as many as six different glasses for red wines alone. The idea is that the size and shape of each glass highlights features of a set of particular wine types, delivering those features to the nose and tongue in just the right way. But even Riedel has economy models that take an all-purpose role, much like the trusty Schott Zweisel Bordeaux glass (12 bucks apiece) upon which we’ve long relied. Another fine brand for good solid stemware is Spiegelau, a longtime rival of Riedel that was acquired by the company about 10 years ago. Check out their Vino Vino Bordeaux glasses.

Do you have a favorite wine glass? If so, let us know!

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