Having an assortment of stemware for different varieties of wine is a must for entertaining. I always recommend that people have some larger oval glasses for red wine, a smaller, narrow glass for white wine and Champagne flutes. Believe it or not, there are good reasons for why wine glasses come in all shapes and sizes. Of course it takes time to build up a cabinet full of different wine glasses. As you get ready to add more glasses, here are a few tips for choosing the right stemware.
General tips for choosing a wine glass
- Stay away from a rolled rim. It won't kill the wine, but it's much less enjoyable than a good wine glass that has no roll on the rim. A good wine glass allows the wine to just flow into your mouth seamlessly and makes a difference in heightened aromatics & flavors.
- Make sure it's a tulip shaped glass. The shape helps catch and concentrate the aromas and bring them to your nose. Enhanced aromatics lead to more enhanced flavors and therefore, enhanced enjoyment.
- Don't stick your nose up at stemless glassware. Stemless glassware fits the two requirements above, just without a stem!
Wine glass must-haves
The flute is a tall narrow glass used for serving sparkling wine. The limited and smaller surface area exposed to the air means longer lasting bubbles.
STEAL^ Head on over to Target and purchase the Riedel Vivant Champagne Flutes, Set of 4 for $40.
Splurge^ Check out the Riedel Vinum - Set of 2 Cuvee Prestige Champagne Flutes at Wine.com. The magic of this glass is its ability to highlight the full spectrum of aromas and flavors offered by fine Champagnes and sparkling wines while preserving their elegant effervescence.
The classic white wine glass
There are typically two types of white wine glasses. One for crisp white wines such as sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio — and one for more full-bodied white wines, such as chardonnay, vioginier and chenin blanc. A narrow glass with a smaller opening enhances the bright flavors and crisp acidity of wine while a glass with a slightly larger bowl will allow more air to interact with the wine bringing out aromas of more full-bodied wines. Both of these white wine glasses will get the job done, so to speak!
STEAL^You can't go wrong with Target's Riedel Vivant collections. Try the Riedel Vivant White Wine Glasses, Set of 4 for $40.
Splurge^I adore the Riedel Sommeliers Chardonnay Glass. This glass showcases the best characteristics of superior-quality light, dry white wines, including chardonnay (especially lighter style white Burgundy such as Chablis), chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio and viognier. The bowl brings out complex aromas, while the narrow rim directs the flow of wine to the center of the tongue, which allows you to appreciate the balance of acidity and fruit flavors. Available from Williams-Sonoma for $68.
The classic red wine glass
As with all red wine glasses, the opening is slightly larger to allow more air to interact with the wine in both Burgundy/pinot noir glasses and Bordeaux or full-bodied red wine glasses. Some red burgundy glasses also have a flare at the rim to allow the wine to spread onto the tongue more. A big hearty wine glass with a wide opening allows air to interact with the red wine. This is a very popular, widely used wine glass for cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux, zinfandel, merlot, and syrah & shiraz. These two classic red wine glasses are perfect to serve red wine in, no matter the variety.
Splurge^I love the Riedel Vinum Burgundy Wine Glass, Set of 2, or the Riedel Vinum Bordeaux Glasses, Set of 2 both from Williams-Sonoma for $50. The Burgundy glass' generous bowl provides ample breathing space for the bouquet to develop, while the slightly flared rim directs the flow of wine to the tip of the tongue, which allows you to appreciate the balance of fruit flavors and gentle acidity. The Bordeaux glass' bowl allows the bouquet to develop fully. The tapered rim directs the flow of wine to the tip of the tongue, which perceives sweetness, allowing you to appreciate a harmonious balance of fruit flavors and supple tannin.
All around best bang for your buck
Williams-Sonoma Essentials Wineglasses, Set of 8 for just $35 is the perfect set of wine glasses to buy for those large gatherings. The stemware is ideal for enjoying both red and white varietals year-round, whether you're dining alfresco in the summer or serving a houseful of guests at the holidays.
And don't forget… go stemless! I love these stemless glasses from Cost Plus World Market. For just $8 for a set of 4, these are perfect to use for large parties or get-togethers!