Wine Glass Styles | Every Wine Catered For
Originating from the Medieval times in the city of Venice, the wine glass as we know it today was formed. Since the 1400s, the general shape and design of the wine glass has remained the same, with a stem, bowl and foot. Yet, within the last century a whole array of different designs and alterations have come onto the market to accommodate almost every major grape variety.
Why have they created so many different kinds of wine glasses? Different shaped glasses express different aromas and flavours of wines, that all need their own expressive qualities accounted for. For those that argue there is no difference in the flavour of a wine when drunk from a slimmer or wider glass, it has now been proven otherwise.
Through the use of a Sniffer-Camera that visualises the ethanol vapour, a Japanese research group found the density of vapours altered between different glassware used. The smaller opening concentrates the vapours across the whole top surface of the wine, with the wider-opening glasses only capturing the vapours (and therefore flavours) around the rim where the higher alcohol content is visualised. These wider openings allow more oxidation across the surface, with the ability to smell the full bouquet primarily along the rims.
Structure of a wine glass
There are 4 elements to a wine glass that can be altered to accommodate the different styles of wine.
The flat circular section at the base of the stem. This holds the glass upright, with a smaller foot increasing instability and a wider foot ensuring sturdiness.
The long, thin section connecting the foot to the bowl. It is where you usually hold the wine glass to prevent heating up the wine with your fingers.
This is the large round section that holds the wine. This is where you will see the most variation between wine glasses as it is sculpted to suit the aromas of the wine style.
Whether thick or thin, it is the top of the bowl that touches your lips when tasting the wines. Thinner rims allow a smoother sip of wine and is generally considered to be best.
WINE TYPES AND RESPECTIVE GLASSES
Light-Bodied & Young White Wines
As young white wines generally need less oxidation and “breathing room”, the glassware typically has smaller bowls. This helps to preserve the aromas while allowing more of the expressive acids to come through. The narrower rims also aid in maintaining the cooler temperature that white wines are served at, maintaining the fresh crunchiness for longer.
Full-Bodied White Wine
For the oak-aged and full-bodied whites, a slightly larger bowl is suggested. Still smaller than any red wine glass but slightly fatter at the base of the bowl to increase surface area and maximise aeration that the young wines don’t need. The slightly winder mouth also enhances the sensation of a creamier texture often found in Burgundy whites.
RED WINE GLASSES
For red wine there are three main types of glasses for the three major products of red wine; Full-bodied Bordeaux, Standard medium-bodied reds, and light, delicate red wines. Generally speaking red wines taste a lot smoother when drunk from a glass with a wide opening, but when it comes to the aromas (which heavily affect the taste) there are more options based on the bottle.
Bold Bordeaux Glass
The bold, powerful red wine blends of the Bordeaux region and all of its imitations across the world often need decanting even before reaching your wine glass. Yet by having a larger bowl and wider rim the wine can continue to breathe and decant once in your glass. This can be truly impressive when having a meal over a few hours to taste and smell how the wine develops in your glass. A wider bowl means less height within the glass for a standard pouring, this allows more air to be between your nose and the wine, lowering the impact of ethanol from these bold blends.
Standard Syrah Glass
For the step down in boldness, for your Syrahs, Malbecs, and Zinfandels, a standard red wine glass will often work best. These grapes produce higher alcohol percentages that still require time to breathe, yet not quite to the extent of a Bordeaux. The bowl tends to be taller and slightly slimmer to encapsulate the fruit forward notes, with the rim slightly tapered.
Burgundy Pinot Glass
For the delicate red wines, Burgundy Pinot Noirs for example, their subtle aromas love an extremely large bowl to bring out all the aromas. Paired with a tapered rim, it not only releases aromas but holds them in for you to smell the full profile of the rich fruits often found in these bottles.
When popping a bottle of Champagne, most wine drinkers (and non drinkers) know to select a tall flute to hold the bubbly delight. Yet, there is a large movement away from the traditional Champagne flute and steered towards a tulip shaped glass. These tulip glasses allow the bubbles to flow for longer, releasing more of the intense aromas. The flute shape is focused more on keeping the wine fresh and maintaining bubbles for longer but can also slightly mute the aromas that can’t escape quick enough.
After all of these new creations, there are still many wine drinkers that only have the cupboard space for one type of wine glass. Therefore many major glass making companies have also produced versatile glasses that is the best of both red and white wines. If you are someone that generally only drinks one or the other then it is still suggested to go for your “standard” red or white glass as the subtle difference can be note. The versatile glasses sit somewhere between a medium-bodied red wine glass and full-bodied white wine glass.
Grassl Glassware offer the Versatile glass for this reason.
“Stemless isn’t sexy” - Tristan Vinson. As said by one of our talented wine experts, stemless is no friend to an avid wine enthusiast. Of course, for those that drink socially and need space saving options then a stemless glass is perfect. But without a stem, you can only hold a glass by the bowl and automatically start heating up the wine as soon as its in your hand. Less noticeable for red wines, but can heavily impact the drinking experience for white wine drinkers. We always suggest a stemmed glass but ultimately it is the drinkers choice!