By Shana Aborn/Sept. 10, 2021 12:53 pm EDT
Winemaking is a major industry with an eager consumer base. According to the Wine Institute, Americans consumed a staggering 1 billion gallons of wine in 2020 alone, with individual wine consumption at 3.09 gallons for the year. But whether you indulge in wine on the regular or partake only at weddings and family holidays, you’ll want to make sure your sipping is as enjoyable as possible. Buying a good quality wine is important, of course, but so is the type of glass you serve it in. Not to dis the big red plastic cup that’s a staple at picnics and casual buffets, but when you want the full wine experience, using a glass specific to the varietal is key.
You’ve probably noticed already that wine glasses come in various sizes and shapes. They range from large and wide to narrow and tall with long stems or none at all. Some are classified as being for red wine and others for white, but does it really make a difference what kind of glass you use for your sip? Actually, yes. Here’s what you need to know before pouring your next glass of Riesling.
Here's why you shouldn't use this kind of wine glass
When it comes to wine, aroma and taste are everything and the right glass can bring out the best in both. Red wines need to be exposed to oxygen in order to release their full flavor. A glass with a wide bowl allows more air to mix with the wine and bring out its full flavor (via Usual Wines). With whites, the best glass to use depends on the varietal. A lighter white wine like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc is best enjoyed from a glass with a narrow bowl. These wines don’t need as much oxidation to release the aromas, and the smaller glass keeps the wine cooler. For a heartier white wine, like an oaky Chardonnay, a glass with a broader bowl is best. The shape helps the wine travel directly to the back of your tongue, where you can taste it more fully.
While stemless wine glasses are attractive — and are often decorated with fun quotes — they’re not the best choice if you’re drinking a white variety. As Wine Magazine explains, white wine is best served slightly chilled. Holding a stemless glass transfers the warmth of your hand to the wine, which affects the flavor. On the other hand, stainless steel wine glasses do a great job of keeping any type of wine cool for hours, which makes them a good choice for picnics, barbecues, or simply chilling in the backyard (via Advanced Mixology).
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