Did you know the shape of your wine glass actually impacts the taste of the wine?
This is because different wine glass shapes impact the density and positioning of wine vapours. Vapours are important for the taste of wine as they carry aromatic properties which largely determine the unique flavours of different types of wine. This is also why wine glasses are not filled to the brim, as the wine requires space above in the glass to collect aroma and strengthen flavour.
This is why there are so many different wine glass shapes, as different shapes are designed to suit different wine varieties.
What glass shape is right for your wine?
White wines, like Chardonnay or Viognier, are typically suited to smaller bowled glasses. This is because smaller glasses maintain a cooler temperature, allow more acidity in wine and allow the floral aromas to concentrate.
The main choices of red wine glasses revolve around softening the tannin to create a smooth tasting wine. Red wines with higher tannin generally pair well in a traditional red wine glass, which is taller with a wide opening. A larger bowl with greater height allows the ethanol to evaporate and tannins to soften.
Large Bordeaux Glasses are great for bold wines high in alcohol and tannin like Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blends. Tall glasses with a more tapered rim and wide bowl is also suited to red wine variations such as Shiraz and Pinot Noir, as the glass allows plenty of aeration to mellow tannins whilst also concentrating rich fruit flavours.
Sparkling wine glasses importantly need to preserve the effervescence of the wine. The narrow design of Champagne flute glasses are perfect for this, allowing the effervescence to remain fresher for longer, whilst concentrating the fruity aromas of sparkling wines.
Overall, choosing the right glass is important in creating the overall character of the wine by emphasising unique flavour properties. Generally, the smaller the bowl the more concentrated aromas will be, and larger bowls allow for more aeration and swirl.