Wine Glass Guide

What’s In A Shape?

The 2024 Winelover Guide To Wine Glasses 
Does the shape of a wine glass really make a difference to taste? Most definitely. The shape, size, volume and even the type of glass used make a huge difference to how the wine is presented to your palette and your nose. The wine glass is the delivery system. Modern wine glasses are designed with specific shapes that take account of the characteristics of specific groups of wine, grape varietals and regions. There are reasons behind every shape that go beyond aesthetics. Every manufacturer strives to produce the perfect glass.
 
Wine glasses can be divided into six basic shapes: Red Wine, White Wine, Bordeaux, Burgundy/Pinot Noir, Spakling Wine/Champagne and Universal. Some manufacturers go further and offer shapes that are grape specific, even the not so common varietals. 
 
In this article we’ll delve a little into the reasons for each basic shape and hopefully provide you with a little guidance when it comes to picking the perfect glass for your tastes. 

Red Wine Glass

Red wine glasses are large with full, round bowls and big openings that enable you to enjoy the aroma of the wine. The full shaped bowl provides air contact across the surface of the wine in order to draw out its complex aromas and flavors. The design also maximises the oxidation rate, which smooths out the tastes of red wines.

Perfect For: Rioja, Malbec, Chianti, Rhone, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese

White Wine Glass

Immediately the first thing to notice about White Wine Glasses is that they are smaller than Red Wine Glasses. The shape focuses more on preserving the wine’s aromas than allowing the wine to breathe. The smaller bowl also contributes to maintaining a cooler temperature.

Perfect For: General purpose wine glass for unoaked white wines. We suggest using a wider bowl for Chardonnay or other oaked white wines.

Bordeaux Glass

A Bordeaux glass visually looks like a scaled up Red Wine Glasse. It has a long stem and a broad bowl, though not as wide as other red wine glasses. The larger bowl creates a distance between the wine and the mouth and this allows ethanol to dissipate on the nose. This characteristic also allows more oxygen to soften tannins. 

Perfect For: Big full bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot based blends from regions such as Bordeaux, Tuscany, California etc. 

Burgundy/Pinot Noir Glass

A Burgundy wine glass has a large bowl, broader than the Bordeaux glass, with a narrow top. The broad bowl exposes the maximum surface area  encourages the aromas of delicate wines to accumulate.

Perfect For: Burgundy, Beaujolais, Valpolicella, Barolo, Nebbiolo, Pinot Noir, Gamay

Champagne Glass

Often associated with champagne, a flute glass is ideal for serving sparkling wine or champagne. It has a short-length to medium-length stem with a long, narrow, upright bowl that’s relatively straight in design.

Perfect For: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, Sparkling Wine

Universal Glass

A Universal Wine Glass combines elements from other glass shapes together in order to produce a glass that performs equally well for all varieties. Suitable for Red, White and Sparkiling wines, a universal glass is perfect for anyone with limited shelf space that enjoys a wide variety of wines.

Perfect For: General Purpose Glass for Red, White and Sparking Wines.

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