Do the size and shape of a glass affect the enjoyment of the wine? One might think that this is not the case, that the vessel from which we are going to taste the wine is nothing more than a vessel and what really matters is the wine. But we might change our mind after reading this article.
There are many glasses and materials. Some manufacturers even claim that there is a suitable glass for every grape variety and base their theories on scientific studies. But you shouldn’t let yourself go crazy, because it’s simply about the most suitable glass for each type of wine, i.e. one for red wine, one for white wine and ultimately one for sparkling wines.
The size and shape of the glass can influence the perception of the fruity, woody and other aromas of the wine, intensify or soften them, as well as balance them out.
Learn how to choose the right cup
Technical and scientific aspects
First of all, a few simple technical or scientific aspects for a better understanding.
- Humans are able to recognize 10,000 different aromas
- Humans distinguish four basic taste sensations: salty, sweet, sour and bitter.
- The wine contains 500 aromatic substances.
- The aromas develop on contact with oxygen
- The sense of touch influences the way in which we perceive certain impressions
- On the basis of a study by the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, the evaporation of the ethanol in vessels of different sizes and shapes was recorded.
Parts of a wine glass
We differentiate between three basic components of a wine glass: the base, the stem and the bowl.
The base must be large enough to give the glass stability and in proportion to the rest of the glass.
The stem is a very important part of the glass because it should be long enough so that you can comfortably grasp the glass in order to avoid holding the glass by the bowl and thus warming the wine with your own body or hand temperature.
The bowl of the glass is the area into which the liquid is poured and which most affects the sensory aspect of the wine. Depending on the material, thickness, size and shape of the material from which the glass is made, the organoleptic qualities of the wine can be appreciated more or less.
Without going into further details, we can say that the crystal, due to its porosity, is the most suitable material as the flavour particles are retained. The recommended glass thickness is one millimetre, for a gentle sense of touch that has little effect on other perceptions. Also important is the transparency of the crystal, i.e. uncoloured and unpolished, so that the visual characteristics of the wine can be viewed without restrictions. The size and shape depend on the type of wine.
Glasses for red wine
Red wines usually have a higher aromatic complexity, which is why we should choose larger glasses with a bulbous and voluminous shape that offers a suitable chamber for the aromas and at the same time a large surface for ventilation.
The most famous glasses are the Bordeaux or Burgundy glasses.
Bordeaux glasses have a bulbous bowl that becomes slimmer towards the top. This chimney shape of the glass enables the aromas to concentrate inside the glass and rise to the nose with a higher intensity. Bitter and tannins in wine reach the mouth in a softened form. Bordeaux glasses are suitable for young red wines and with a Crianza, as well as for dry white wines or with a Crianza.
The burgundy glasses are round, very voluminous glasses that close a little towards the top. This shape also guarantees a high concentration of aromas inside the bowl. They are especially suitable for heavy red wines and red wines with a long aging process that need oxygen to develop freely.
Glasses for white wines
White wines are generally somewhat fruity, do not have such a great aromatic load and practically develop their aroma when the bottle is uncorked with almost no oxygen contact. In addition, white wines have a low serving temperature, between 7 and 10ºC; and so that you do not lose this temperature, we recommend pouring less and more often.
White wine glasses have a narrower goblet, a long stem and a more open fireplace.
The shape is similar to the Bordeaux glasses, but they are smaller. This prevents excessive ventilation and highlights the sweetish character of some fruity wines. And since the glasses are smaller, the ideal temperature is maintained over a longer period of time.
Glasses for sparkling wines
Sparkling wines are served at a low temperature and it is important that the bubbles remain visible for a long time.
Traditional bowls with a very wide opening used to be used, but these had the disadvantage that the carbonic acid evaporated quickly and you could hardly enjoy the aroma.
A better choice are the elongated glasses with a narrow opening that allow the bubbles to rise slowly. In order to maintain an ideal drinking temperature, these glasses are a little stronger.
For the younger variants among the sparkling wines, glasses with a slightly rounder goblet are suitable, which have a positive effect on the concentration of the aromas; For sparkling wines with a longer aging process, longer flute-shaped glasses are suitable so that the bouquet of these wines can develop better.
We can definitely say that the size and shape of the wine glass matters. So if we want to have a unique experience every time we drink wine, all we have to do is choose an elegant glass and of course an excellent wine.