"/>Fine Wine Tasting Products and Accesories , Hints and Tips, The Right Wine Glass

The Right Wine Glass

Selecting the right wine glass involves more than just an aesthetic choice based on style.  The design of the glass can significantly enhance or detract from your enjoyment of the wine. Therefore, given the effort you've put into selecting your wine, it makes sense to pay proper attention to the vessel from which you drink it!

SHAPE:

The shape of the glass impacts the flavor in three distinct ways.  First, the diameter of the bowl (the widest point of the glass) determines the amount of wine surface area that is exposed to the air; the size of the bowl determines how much or how little liquid can be swirled, which also affects the exposure.  Secondly, the diameter of the opening concentrates or expands the aroma of the wine.  Lastly, the thickness and shape of the rim affects where the wine lands on the tongue. 

While there are many shapes and styles available, most fall into one of four basic categories:

Tulip:              

A wide bowl, narrowing at the top.  This is the classic shape for red wine, as the large diameter allows for adequate swirling to aerate the wine, and the narrow opening concentrates the bouquet.  Many wine-drinkers will choose this as their all-purpose glass.

Small Tulip:                

Also commonly referred to as a White Wine Glass, it is similar to the Tulip, with a narrower bowl.  The smaller diameter limits air exposure and helps maintain a chill, making it appropriate for younger and white wines.

Large Magnum:                      

A larger Tulip shape with a very wide bowl.  Magnums allow the maximum exposure to air, making them appropriate for "big" wines.  These dramatic glasses can enhance the presentation of rare or special wines.

Champagne Flute:

A narrow bowl with straight sides.  The shape prolongs the bubbles and preserves the chill of sparking wines.

STEM:

In addition to elevating the wine so its color cam be appreciated, the stem prevents the heat from the wine-drinker's hand from affecting the temperature of the wine.  A stem should be long enough to be held comfortably.  Although very lengthy stems may look elegant, they should be avoided, as their instability makes them more prone to tipping and snapping.

LEADED VS. UNLEADED:

Traditionally, all fine wine glasses were made from lead crystal.  The inclusion of lead in the manufacture of crystal serves both to make the materials easier to work with, and to increases the refractive index of light, giving lead crystal its characteristic sparkle.  Some have also noted that lead crystal has a microscopically rough surface, which is why it stains with red wine, and perhaps this coarse area of contact subtly enhances the release of aroma and flavor. It clearly improves the beading of sparkling wines, as the bubbles form at the point of these tiny surface imperfections.

However, given that lead is toxic to ingest, and wine-drinkers are understandably looking for alternatives.  The newest high-tech material for wine glasses is titanium crystal. This is advertised as stronger, clearer, and less toxic than lead glassware, but also lacks its characteristic surface texture.

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