It’s an oldie but a goodie – what’s the best glass for wine? The one in your hand.
Not always true, of course. Ever wondered why the big red served in the small glass never quite tastes the same? Or how the same pinot noir seems different when it’s in another type of glass?
Well, a lot of it comes down to swirls, surface areas and your surroundings. And when you’re talking about glassware and wine, size definitely matters.
Selecting the right glass is vital
Glassware is crucial if you want to really appreciate wine. The container you’re drinking from influences the taste and aromas, and your overall perception of the wine.
A chunky water glass can work sometimes – if you’re in a rustic Italian taverna, for instance, and the wine is a good quaffer. In that situation, the tumbler provides authenticity. It adds to the atmosphere and your experience.
But you wouldn’t be impressed if we served one of our signature chardonnays in one of those glasses in our award-winning restaurant. So context, as always, is important.
How big is your wine glass?
As Simon explains in the video, size matters. The bowl needs to be big enough so you can swirl the wine in the glass, releasing the aromas.
It’s not the same, though, for the top of the glass. If the opening is too large, there’s a danger your wine swirling will turn into wine spilling.
Importantly, a smaller opening means less of the “volatiles” escape and the aromas you smell are more intense.
A glass which tapers in at the top is great for a delicate red like a pinot noir. The large surface area releases the aromas and channels them towards the smaller opening.
If it was a bigger red, that aroma might be too intense, so you’d possibly consider a glass with a larger opening.
Clear and thin wins every time
When it comes to tasting wines with the kind of complexity and character we produce at Montalto, little things can influence your perception.
Is it a thick wine glass, where you are almost as aware of the glass as the wine? That will likely affect your perception of the wine.
Is the glass frosted, so you can’t see it’s true colour? That will likely affect your perception of the wine.
Perception is important. As Simon says: “Your initial perception of the aroma is going to affect your processes when you go to taste. What smells hot [higher alcoholic content], will taste hot.”
It’s all about taste
Is a plastic glass acceptable? Sure, if you’re having a barbeque and you’re more worried about breakages than appreciating the finest of wines.
Should you drink from one of the popular stemless glasses? It’s up to the individual, although serious wine drinkers tend to opt for a glass with a stem.
How many glasses do you need? Again, that’s a matter of individual preference, but most people could probably exist quite happily with a more “standard” size glass for whites, a bigger glass for reds and, of course, the flutes for sparkling wine and Champagne.