As far as most people are concerned, the only thing that matters about a wine glass is its ability to hold the desired measure of the desired tipple. Other than that, it’s all pretty inconsequential – except of course for the glass being free from chips, cracks and sharp edges, of course.
However, try and tell the same to an expert, and chances are they’ll be left cringing in horror – there is so much more to the choice of glass made than its bowl-bearing properties alone. This doesn’t always translate into the price you pay – it’s easy to massively overpay for a low-end wine glass, just as it is possible to take home the best possible wine glasses for a bargain price.
Crystal wine glasses make for a tastier drink.
So as far as the so-called Average-Joe is concerned, what is it that makes some wine glasses better than others? Or, more importantly, why does it make sense to perhaps shell out a little more for the better articles than the bargain-basement wares?
It’s all about the taste of the wine in the end – here’s a look at a few pointers to be aware of from the world’s wine pros:
Bowl Size and Shape:
A larger bowl presented by the wine glass means more room for the aromas of the wine to circulate, distribute themselves over the surface, and release themselves for your enjoyment. This is precisely why if you intend to use the glasses for drinking red wine, you should be looking at examples with much larger bowls – red wine demands more exposure and oxygenation to develop its full flavor. However, the actual shape of the bowls and, to some extent, the size all comes down to personal choice – there’s no need to go too massive, after all!
Length of Stem:
As there are thousands of different stem lengths doing the rounds on the world’s crystal wine glasses, you’d think they all made some difference in their own right. In reality, though, the stem of the glass is for no reason other than to ensure that the temperature of your hand does not in any way influence the temperature of the wine. As such, just as long as you can hold the glass comfortably without touching the bowl, it doesn’t matter how you choose. That being said, very thin stems are very fragile and much likelier to break, so beware.
Does the above mean that stemless wine glasses are completely useless? Not at all – for casual, everyday wine drinking occasions, they are just fine and can be some of the most dependable and robust out there.
Regular Glass or Fine Crystal:
Chances are you’ll be thinking you already know the answer to this, and chances are you’re right too! Whichever way you look at it, a fine crystal glass does enhance the wine drinking experience in almost every way. Does it affect the taste of the wine itself? Not necessarily, but at the same time, neither would a bog-standard teacup, and it’s not like you’d be too happy to drink your fine wines from one of those!
Coloured Glass or Plain:
If you intend to get serious with your wine, then a plain glass is the only way to go. Why? Simple really – this is the only way you can fully experience and take in the color of the wine as if you were to use say a red, black or blue wine glass, you’d be unable to tell precisely what color the wine was. As for flavor, the color of the glass doesn’t make a difference as such, but it can certainly trick your senses.
Is it really necessary to invest in separate champagne flutes just for the odd occasions that call for the bubbly? Indeed it is, as the shape of the champagne glass has been crafted to help the liquid develop in flavor by manifesting its bubbles. Interestingly though, some recommend using standard wine glasses for champagne as the larger bowl allows for much faster developing of the champagne’s aromas. In essence, though, there are benefits to both, so it’s again down to personal choice.
Wine glasses can be pieces of art.
Last but not least, if you invest in some truly top-quality wine glasses made with only the best crystal, they will continue bringing you untold joy for years and decades to come. By contrast, even a fine-looking glass made from the cheapest materials out there will only last a few occasions before becoming dull, dowdy, and perhaps even dangerous.