Just how important is a proper wine glass?
According to the team at Cofield Wines, ‘people are generally in one of two camps, either very particular about which glass is right, or would happily drink straight out of the bottle if it was socially acceptable!’
But firstly, does it really make a difference?
Yes, definitely, says Warrabilla Wines.
‘Good glassware absolutely does make a difference, but good glassware doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Varietal specific glasses are great, but practically speaking who has the budget or space for cabinets full of wine specific glasses?’
Warrabilla’s advice? ‘Seek out a good all-rounder for ‘everyday’ drinking such as the Riedel Overture series’.
Over at Pfeiffer Wines, and after some initial hesitance, they are firmly onboard, recalling the time when they were ‘invited to a Riedel masterclass to see the effect of different glassware on different wine styles. We were sceptical but after the first taste we were convinced that the glass does make a huge difference!’
So, if you want to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to choosing a wine glass, we have you covered, from wine glass shapes and what they do to the different wines they suit.
Does size matter?
If you want to get the best sensory experience from the wine, then the size and shape of the glass does matter according to Cofield Wines, explaining that ‘the size of the bowl (the bit that actually holds the wine) is most important. If you only fill your glass to the widest point of the bowl, this will maximise the wine’s contact with the air, and allows the aromas to circulate and open up.’
The All Saints Estate team also recognise that ‘the bowl helps to bring out great aromas in a wine and direct the wine on to the palate.’
The best glass for red wines?
As we’ve heard the size of a wine glass bowl can drastically change the taste of the wine itself. A quality red wine glass will have a large bowl, narrowing to the opening and a stem that feels good in your hand.
Red wine glasses vary in shape and size, from the standard red wine glass perfect for medium to full-bodied wines to the Bordeaux glass with its wide opening delivering the wine smoothly to your palate, whilst the Burgundy wine glass is ideal for more delicate reds with its large, aroma collecting bowl.
Here’s a few of our favs.
The Bordeaux Glass
One of the classic wine glass shapes which is perfect for full-bodied, complex red wines that are high in tannin like Durif and Shiraz. The generous size of this glass allows the bouquet to develop fully, and emphasises the fruit, playing down the bitter qualities of the tannin, and allows wines to achieve balance
The Burgundy Glass
For a more delicate red, such as a Gamay, Sangiovese or Pinot Noir, the burgundy glass is perfect to support the balance of fragility and fresh compact fruit in light-bodied wines. Featuring a wider bowl that allows the aroma to accumulate before the narrower neck, this red wine glass will deliver the wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the delicious red nuances.
I love whites and rosé! Which glass should I choose?
When considering what wine glass to use for white wine or a Rosé, it’s important to think about the temperature of the wine and consider a smaller bowled glass to exemplify the more subtle and floral aromas of the lighter coloured wines. These two are staples of any wine glass repertoire.
The Chardonnay Glass
Chardonnay is hands down the most popular white variety in Australia and the array of glasses is almost overwhelming but look for a glass with a larger volume – a wide open-mouthed bowl enables the rich bouquet to develop its wonderfully diverse range of aromas, emphasizing the finesse while minimizing the risk of richer style white wines becoming over-concentrated.
The Sauvignon Blanc Glass
This one is just a little different. Its unique flat-bottomed design underscores citrus aromas with herbaceous notes, allowing complexity to shine through. This style of glass offers freshness and harmony with an excellent balance of high acidity and minerality. It’s perfect for all styles of this variety, from the grassy and fruit-forward to oak-aged and honeyed.
Best glasses for fizz?
Sparkling wines should be a visual feast, as well as exemplifying the flavour of your chosen drop, and most importantly, your glass should make that cheerful “ding” as you charge your flutes together.
The champagne flute is designed with both aesthetics and taste in mind. A champagne flute allows you to see the carbon dioxide bubbles rising to the surface of the wine, making it appear particularly celebratory.
Secondly, champagne flutes retain the champagne’s bubbles longer than a standard glass, as the surface area at the top of the glass is far smaller. Cofield Wines share this sentiment, saying that ‘if you are drinking a sparkling wine, the best bit is quite often the bubbles, and you want them to last as long as possible. Champagne flutes are designed with less surface area, as it will allow the sparkling wines to hold their fizz longer.’
Anderson agrees that the traditional tall, slender Champagne flute is designed to minimise the surface area of the wine and so retain the bubbles for longer.
However, this small surface area also means there is less room for the wine’s aromas to express themselves. So, for more complex sparkling whites and for sparkling reds Anderson recommend using a wider champagne flute or just a regular wine glass.
Just need the one?
As the Warrabilla team pointed out, sometimes you just need a good all-rounder to do the job. But what to look for?
The Everything to Everyone Glass
It’s not rocket science, really something that has been designed to work as a functional and universal glass for simple wine enjoyment. A glass that helps to release the aromas of wines, emphasise fruit, and balance tannins in red wines, and balance fruit and sweetness in white wines to provide structure.
Drinking wine is deeply personal and done in celebration, to complement good food and make great company shine, so whether or not you choose to match each and every wine with the right glass or go with some far less extravagant, just ensure you’re enjoying the moment and loving the wine!