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Glassware, when, what

A brief discussion (I could go on a lot longer!) about glassware and how it makes a difference to your wine tasting/drinking experience. Originally featured in TWD Magazine January and February Issues.

Does glassware make a difference? The answer is yes, no and maybe. The hardest part about glassware is a lot of it comes down to personal preference, although it is quite a fascinating topic once you delve into it. A lot of factors effect how a glass can change the way you perceive a wine; the size and shape of the bowl, the size of the aperture, the lip – is it a cut or rolled rim and how it is shaped to deliver the wine onto your palate. And not to be overlooked is aesthetics. If it looks good before you’ve taken a sip, you will probably receive the wine more favourably. Thankfully there is no right or wrong on this topic as stated before, a lot of it comes down to your preference.


The allrounder. Aromatic whites and mid-bodied reds in particular.
Riesling Style Glass

To continue our study on glassware, this month we will focus on shapes and styles. First up, everyone really needs the classic Riesling/Sangiovese shape as modelled above (Riedel Vinum Riesling Grand Cru glass). It is a great shape for most varieties and most occasions. It is especially good for aromatic whites – Riesling, Pinot Gris and lighter reds – Sangiovese and Gamay. If you were going to buy one glass, this is the one.



Aromatic reds and full bodied whites.
Burgundy Style Glass

Aromatic reds such as Pinot Noir, Grenache or Nebbiolo and fuller whites like big Chardonnay or Viognier benefit from large bowled glasses that are akin to brandy balloons to allow the aromatics to shine. I’d recommend a shape like the Burgundy glass above.



Great for structured reds.
Bordeaux Style Glass

For more structured reds – Cabernet, or Shiraz, taller glasses with a smaller opening do the trick, putting the focus on the structure. They tend to deliver the wine is such a way to focus the structure on the palate. The Bordeaux style glass above is the go.

For Champagne or sparkling wine, flutes are great for traditional styles. But when I am drinking Grower Champagne or sparkling with a really interesting base wine, it has to be in a proper wine glass like the Riesling style. Is that wrong? No, I feel it allows the bubbles to die off and the more interesting characters in the wine to flourish. But ultimately it comes down to my preference. I would recommend you give it a go: The worst that could happen is you drink some Grower Champagne!

Not recommended is drinking from the following wine ‘glass’…

It was a long day...

Not crystal clear? Let me know what you think