Wine Culture and Information - Volume 15
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Wine Glasses


The appreciation of wine's characteristics can be exalted, or penalized, by the glass chosen for it service. The valuation of a wine is expressed in the perfect shapes, volume and geometries of these essential companions of crystal.

                            
Wine glasses and their proportions. Click on glasses' image to get a description.

Young and Crisp White Wines


The main characteristic of this glass is the shape of the opening which tends to enlarge in respect of the body. When a wine is introduced in the mouth, this particular shape directs the liquid mainly to the tip of the tongue, more sensitive to sweetness, and therefore to the sides of the tongue, more sensitive to acidity. This glass is also suitable for young and crisp wines having a certain quantity of residual sugars that should be emphasized. The shape of the glass also allows the concentration of aromas towards the nose while emphasizing the perception of delicate and fruit aromas of young wines.

Bodied and Mature White Wines


The larger body and a greater opening will allow a better perception of complex aromas of mature white wines. Structured and mature white wines will be properly emphasized in the mouth because of the straight opening which will direct the wine to the sides and to the back of the tongue, and finally reaching the tip in order to properly evaluate its roundness.

Young and Crisp Rose Wines


In this kind of glass are valid all the considerations expressed for young white wines' glass; the enlarged opening directs the wine to the tip of the tongue, more sensitive to sweetness, in order to make the wine appear more balanced. Another characteristic of this glass is the large body which allows an adequate oxygenation and therefore a correct development of aromas.

Bodied and Mature Rose Wines


In this kind of glass are valid the considerations expressed for structured and mature white wines. The larger shape of the body allows an adequate oxygenation of wine as well as the development of aromas.

Young Red Wines


This glass is fundamentally the same used for bodied and mature white wines, as a matter of fact it can be used the very same glass. This kind of wine, having rather aggressive tannins, when present, must mainly stimulate the inner parts of the mouth while avoiding, at least in the initial phase as the wine is introduced in the oral cavity, the contact with gum because the astringency would originate an unpleasing tactile sensation. The body of the glass must also be large in order to allow an adequate oxygenation and development of aromas.

Bodied or Mature Red Wines


The considerations expressed for the previous glass are also valid for this one. The differences are to be found in the height and width of the glass, in this case greater, as well as the opening which is narrower in order to concentrate complex aromas, originated by the aging of wine both in bottle and in cask, towards the nose.

Full Bodied and Very Mature Red Wines


The characteristic of this glass is its large size, with a rather wide body in order to allow a proper oxygenation of red wines aged for a long time in bottle and with tannins that reached a milder and rounder state. The wide shape of this glass also allows to avoid, when possible, the decanting of wine, thanks to its width it makes possible a proper oxygenation of wine while developing complex and tertiary aromas which will be concentrated towards the narrow opening. Moreover, the opening is tall and straight in order to direct the wine to the back of the mouth, exactly for the very same reason applied to every other glass for red wines. Because of its characteristics, this glass is to be used for wines produced with very robust grapes such as Sangiovese or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Full Bodied and Very Mature Red Wines


This glass represents a variant of the previous one and the difference is to be found in its opening which tends to enlarge. This characteristic directs the wine towards the tip of the tongue, more sensitive to sweetness, and is useful for those wines that after a long time of aging tend to exalt their acid component, such as Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo.

Sweet Wines


This glass has little size having a wide body and a narrow opening in order to exalt both the development of aromas and their concentration to the nose. The reduced size suggests the service of a tiny quantity of wine which is also a common habit for these kind of wines. The straight opening allows the wine to be directed towards the back of the oral cavity in order not to excessively exalt the sweetness and therefore avoiding the wine to appear "sickly".

Fortified Wines


As opposed to the previous glass, the height of the body is greater and the opening is accentuated, however the size of this glass is rather little. Its longer height allows a better development of complex and intense aromas of fortified wines, such as Marsala, Sherry (Jerez), Porto and Madeira. The accentuated opening makes this glass particularly suited for dry fortified wines because the liquid will be directed to the tip of the tongue, more sensitive to sweetness, in order to better contribute to wine's balance.

"Charmat" Method Sparkling Wines


This glass, called demi-flûte, has a narrow and tall body in order to encourage the development of perlage in sparkling wines. Its height, which is shorter than a regular flûte, makes this glass suitable for dry sparkling wines produced with the Charmat or Martinotti method, which usually have a less refined perlage with coarser bubbles. The very narrow diameter favor a slow and continuous development of carbon dioxide as well as allowing a good concentration of delicate aromas towards the nose.

Classic Method Sparkling Wines


This glass, called flūte, has a narrow and tall body in order to favor and appreciate the development of the refined perlage typical for this sparkling wines produced with the classic method. Its narrow diameter also promotes the perception of fresh and delicate aromas, therefore this kind of glass is suitable for young and non vintage classic method sparkling wines.

Mature and Vintage Classic Method Sparkling Wines


This is a flûte having a larger body and narrow opening, characteristics which allow the oxygenation of wine and therefore a proper development of complex and tertiary aromas of the mature and vintage classic method sparkling wines, without compromising the development and the appreciation of perlage.

Aromatic Sweet Sparkling Wines


This glass, simply called cup, is particularly suited for aromatic and sweet sparkling wines, such as Asti Spumante. Because of the aromatic richness of these wines, it is better to serve them is glasses having very large opening, instead of flūte, in order to mitigate the aromatic strength of the grape while allowing other aromas to develop. These sparkling wines, usually produced with the Charmat method, does not have any particular qualities of finesse in the perlage, therefore this is a factor that can be neglected. The opening of the glass, which slightly tends to narrow, will direct the wine to the tip of the tongue in order to exalt wine's sweetness.

ISO Tasting Glass


This glass is used to the organoleptic evaluation of wines and thanks to its shape and geometric ratios of its volume and areas, is a glass capable of exalting qualities and defects of any wine.


To Know More

  Issue 6, March 2003, Corkscrew
  Issue 2, November 2002, Wine Tasting



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