Just like coffee always tastes rounder when served in thick-rimmed diner mugs, wine gets a boost from the serving vessel too. It’s true, matching glassware to your wine does improve the flavor!
Of course, it’s possible to totally geek out on this subject. Be warned though, you might end up in a dark hole surrounded by hundreds of different types of wine glasses!
(I would know, I live in that dark hole).
So instead of slowly losing your mind to the silica goddess, here are the six main types of wine glasses and the wines to match with them.
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- The best choice for preserving bubble finesse in sparkling wines
- Classy as heck!
- Really tricky to wash
- Very poor balance, easily topples over
Did you know? Flute glasses are not particularly popular right now in the world of high-end Champagne. This could be because flutes are not particularly good at expressing aromas, which is the appeal of extended tirage Champagne. Use a white wine or universal glass instead!
White Wine Glass
- Helps maintain chilled white wine temperature
- Does a good job at highlighting floral and citrus aromas
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Not fun for red wines (makes them taste more tart, and less rich)
Aroma Collector Wine Glass
- Very good at communicating aromas
- Not good for lean, dry whites, or most sparkling wines (makes them flat)
- Very impressive to look at and stick your nose into
- Be warned, they tend to be delicate and easy to break
Universal Wine Glass
A fantastic all-around glass that works for just about any wine. That being said, we’ve observed standard glasses perform really well on spicy red wines (e.g. “food wines” like Tempranillo and Barbera) and middle-weight whites (like Vermentino!). This would be a great glass choice for a chef.
- Great for spicy wines and food wines
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Good for red, rosé, and white wine
- Does everything well, but tends to make reds taste “spicier.”
Oversized Wine Glass
The oversized glass is also referred to as a “Bordeaux” glass.
This glass is an absolute must-have for the most opulent red wines. The large opening helps mitigate the tannin across your tongue, making wines taste smoother and more supple. Thus, this shape is a standout choice for bolder red wines such as Sagrantino, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Touriga Nacional.
- Great for bold red wines with high tannin
- Tend to make wines taste rounder
- Very impressive to look at
- Hard to clean (if you have big hands)
Dessert Wine Glass
Let’s be honest, you don’t really need a dessert wine glass. That is, unless you happen to love dessert wines! Dessert wine glasses are crafted to be a lot smaller in size and definitely help with portion control! This is good because many of the world’s top dessert wines are particularly high in alcohol.
Tips For Choosing The Best Glassware
Truthfully, you don’t really need all six types of glasses (unless you have an obsessive problem, like I do). You only really need one or two styles. Choose your glass based on the wine you drink most.
It’s easy to fall in love with the look of a glass only to discover it doesn’t work for you. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing your type of wine glass:
- Be sure to factor in the cost of replacing a glass due to breakage. Mistakes happen.
- Have a lively household? Consider stemless versions of the aforementioned styles.
- Consider how hard it’s going to be to wash your glasses by hand. (Hand-washing is still the best, unless you have a super fancy dishwasher and unscented soap.)
- Will those wine glasses fit in your cabinet?
- Crystal is better than glass, but glass shape is more important than material.
Wine Folly’s Glassware Freakout (Video)
Want to geek out a bit more on glassware? Watch Madeline Puckette test five of the world’s top wine glasses.