A wine glass is something we take for granted most of the time. We drink out of it, its basic purpose is fairly clear and by and large it does what it is supposed to do.
However, being bona fide wine geeks here at Vinterest this is the sort of thing we think about a lot, and we have certainly learnt a great deal over the years how important the glass is to our perception of the wine we are drinking and the enjoyment we derive from it. Read on to find out why.
Imagine drinking a gorgeous, chilled bottle of Assyrtiko on the island of Santorini looking out across the ocean. Here, the visual experience greatly impacts and embellishes our sensory (taste) experience of that wine. In the very same way, with the sense of taste alone, drinking the same wine out of a thin or a thick glass has been proven to have very different sensory experiences. Just try it at home for yourself! So, we are firm believers that high quality glassware is important, nay, essential for enjoying quality wines.
So what are the things to look out for when choosing your next glasses? These are the things we think are most important:
1. Crystal vs Glass
Wine glasses are generally made from standard glass, crystal glass, and borosilicate glass (the stuff used in laboratories). For high quality glasses, the only option is lead-free crystal.
2. Shape and Size
One of the key parts of enjoying wine is having enough volume in the glass to be able to collect aromas to sniff before tasting the wine. Glasses are made in all different sizes for different wines - just see the Riedel range - however practicalities aside and not normally wanting to change glass for every bottle of wine - our view is that a mid-sized/shaped glass (like this Richard Brendon X Jancis Robinson one) will actually work for almost every type of wine.
3. Thickness of Glass Lip/Rim
You don’t want a glass that has too thick a lip because that makes you feel more of the glass in your mouth and ultimately less of the wine. Zalto glass is about a thin as it gets, which is great for enjoyment of the wine, however when you break them almost every time you use them, we feel the practicality is slightly sub-optimal.
4. Glass clarity
We stick with hand blown glasses as they have amazing clarity. Machine-made glasses usually have slight ribbing on the bowl, and this distorts light.
So how many wine glasses do we really need at home and where does the proverbial buck stop? We could go crazy and get a set of wide-bowled glasses for red burgundy and then a set of tall and broad glasses for Bordeaux and so on, but if we go down this road we’d very quickly be running out of space in the house.
Our suggestion is to invest in a high quality set of 'universal' wine glasses, and the best we’ve tried is the Jancis Robinson X Richard Brendon collection. Jancis Robinson is one of the world’s foremost wine critics. So, this particular glass comes with the highest accolades.
Ultimately, we see it as an investment; if you are ever going to drink fine wines from them, such as a bottle costing £50 or over, why would you do so out of cheap glasses?
So, in conclusion; will a certain style and shape of wine glass change the basic taste or quality of the wine? No.
But will it enhance our 'perception' of the taste and improve our overall experience? Absolutely yes.