Wine glasses come in so many different shapes and sizes, each one claiming to enhance the unique characteristics of a specific type of wine. But do they really make a difference? Let’s have a look at how the shape and size of the glass can affect the way a wine smells, tastes and feels in your mouth.
Let’s start with a red wine glass. Have you ever ordered a red wine in a restaurant only to have the waiter whisk away the wine glasses that were sitting ready on your table? This can be a little disconcerting until they return to the table armed with larger, altogether more beautiful wine glasses to serve your wine in. The reason a red wine glass typically has a larger bowl than a white wine glass is because red wine is served at a higher temperature than white wine and the larger bowl allows more room for the wine to breathe and release its complex aromas. Additionally, the bowl of a red wine glass is often tapered at the top, which concentrates the aromas of the wine, making it easier to detect the different scents of the wine (and less easy to cover yourself in red wine as you expertly swirl your glass).
White wine glasses on the other hand, tend to have a smaller bowl and a narrower opening than red wine glasses. This is because white wine is typically served chilled and the smaller bowl keeps the wine cool for a longer period of time. Additionally, the narrow opening of the glass helps to preserve the delicate aromas of the wine, which can be easily lost if the wine is exposed to too much air.
Champagne glasses, also known as flutes, have a tall, slender bowl and a narrow opening, which helps to preserve the bubbles of the wine. The narrow opening helps to maintain the effervescence of the wine, and the tall bowl allows the bubbles to rise to the surface, creating a sparkling sensation on the tongue.
So whilst it may seem to be just another way to confound the average wine drinker, using different shaped glasses for each type of wine can really bring out the best in a wine. If nothing else, it’s a fun thing to try the same wine in a range of different wine glasses. You may be surprised, or not! In which case you can safely stick to your vegemite jars!