A wine glass has a double purpose: it both contains and shows off the wine. For this reason, it must be glass or crystal, not colored or decorated. It is important that the glass allows for the proper analysis of the transparency, color and viscosity of the wine.
In order to easily hold the glass, it should have a thin, long stem so that your body heat doesn’t affect the temperature of the wine and you don’t leave thumbprints on the glass, which could cloud you visibility of the color of the wine. Each type of wine calls for its own glass with special characteristics, but there is also a “universal” tasting glass that has the shape of a tulip.
The shape keeps the aromas of the wine trapped inside the glass, allowing you to smell them directly and taste the wine.
If you do not want to use the universal glass, but a special glass for each wine, here are principal wine to wine glass pairings:
- Fresh, aromatic whites should be served in a tulip glass that tapers open slightly at the top.
- Structured whites: a tulip.
- Young, medium-structured reds: a larger tulip
- Complex, older reds: a rounder, more convex glass.
- Champagne and dry sparkling wine: a tall, thin flute with a long stem.
- Sweet wine: a wide coupe
- Passito: a small tulip.
To properly taste wine, the glasses should be filled to only a third of their capacity, allowing you to easily swirl the wine to bring out its aromas and to observe its viscosity. After service, wine glasses should be washed with hot water and scentless soap. The glasses should not be dried with a cloth, but left to drip dry upside down. Store them in a cabinet right side up.