Ever wondered exactly why wine comes in so many different glasses? Though it may seem like an attempt to seem fancy, there's actually a science behind the design of the glassware for wines. Choosing the correct glass for your wine can maximize its potential by properly aerating, and capturing and delivering aromas.
A wine glass can be separated into three main components: the bowl, the stem, and the foot. The difference between glasses is general in the shape and size of the bowl. Depending on the design, the bowl controls the collection and release of aroma, and in some cases the temperature of the wine while it is consumed.
Red wine glasses typically have larger bowls. This is to increase the surface area of the wine which increases the rate of oxidation. It’s the same science as a decanter, if you’re familiar, and aerates for taste as well as releasing aromas.
Bordeaux glass features a broad bowl for increased surface area, and a long distance between the wine and the lip of the glass for plenty of room to collect the aroma. Bordeaux and similar wines are quite full bodied and the extra space traps the aromas and delivers them to your nostrils as your nose dips inside the glass with each sip.
A “Standard” red wine glass has a slightly smaller bowl and is meant for medium bodied red with lots of spicy notes such as Zinfandel, Malbec, or Syrah.
A Burgundy Wine glass is almost comically huge. Don't be fooled by the large size of the glass, it’s not actually meant to be filled all the way to the brim! It's got an even broader bowl than a bordeaux glass to trap delicate aromas, and a thin lip to appreciate the subtleties in light reds like Pinot Noir, Gamay, or Grenache.
White wine glasses are smaller to keep the chilled wine crispy and fresh and because they need less room to breathe than the bolder flavored red wines. They’re more U-shaped than round to trap the subtle floral smell.
Though white wine glasses are typically smaller than reds, the exception is the chardonnay glass. Since most Chardonnay benefits from a degree of oxidation, these glasses tend to have a wide mouth for more surface area.
Sparkling wine glasses are featured in the iconic tall and narrow glass you’ve undoubtedly seen Champagne in. They’re designed to be held by the stem to prevent your fingers from warming the glass and heating the sparkling wine. The narrow bowl maintains the carbonation of the bubbly as you sip.
If you’re not interested in collecting an expensive series of wine glasses for each and every glass of wine you enjoy, consider investing in a set of “universal wine glasses.” They’re a good middle ground and ideal for enjoying any kind of wine, and you’ll save a pretty penny. Here at Cork Genius, we know you can get a perfectly aerated glass of wine in any glass when you use our bottle top-aerator. It’s affordable and significantly more durable than any glassware you can find!
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