The essential wine glass etiquette

The essential wine glass etiquette

Which glass goes with which wine?

There’s no two ways about it: whether it’s dinner at a restaurant, a trip to a vineyard or a browse through a wine store, sooner or later, you’re going be faced with the red and white wine glass conundrum: Which one to choose? Read on to find out our tips and tricks and you’ll always be prepared for picking the perfect, gleaming wine glass wherever you may be - even at home.

It’s all in the shape
A wine can reach its full potential only when served in the right glass. This is not only determined by the glass' size, but rather by its shape and style. Expressive, full-bodied wines are best served in balloon glasses, which taper towards the top making it easier to swirl the wine, releasing aromatic notes. When you bring your nose to one of these glasses, you will experience the wine more intensely than with any other shape. This applies to both red wines and full-bodied, potent whites. Chardonnay and Sauvignon, for instance, benefit from the fuller glass as their aromas require ample air to breathe and develop.

Conversely, fruity, acidic whites such as Riesling or Pinot Gris should be savoured in narrower wine glasses which concentrate their bouquets. These glasses are also suitable for lighter reds, such as Schiava or a fresh rosé.
The glass shape affects both our olfactory perception and the wine temperature. Therefore, it's recommended to use smaller glasses for whites and lighter reds.

What about sparkling wines? In this case, the general rule is simple: if it sparkles, drink it from a champagne flute—a long, slim, tulip-shaped glass. The thinner the better. This shape retains carbon dioxide and maintains the effervescence of bubbles for a longer time.

Which glass suits for Lagrein?
Are you a lover of opulent, heavy red wines? Burgundies are always at their best in balloon glasses with a wide rim. This design allows more exposure to oxygen and enhances aromas. When drinking Bordeaux wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, Bordeaux glasses elevate the experience. These glasses have a bowl slightly higher than the Burgundy glasses with a taper towards the rim, which softens the alcohol's intensity Incidentally, these glasses are also perfect for one of South Tyrol’s eternal classics: Lagrein.

Of style and stem
In addition to the shape, rim size and purpose of a wine glass, the stem plays a crucial role in a good wine glass. This isn't just for aesthetics. Firstly, holding the glass by the stem preserves the wine serving temperature and thereby doesn't warm up due to body heat. Holding a glass by the stem also ensures that the glass doesn’t leave smudges and fingerprints. Lastly, the stem creates more distance between hand and nose, allowing senses to focus on the wine without distractions.

Thin and mouth-blown
If you’re starting to think about building a serious wine glass collection, follow this advice: thinner glasses accentuate nuances. A glass should be plain and colourless to avoid a shift in focus. The thinnest glasses available on the market are mouth-blown glasses which have no rivals when the purpose is to enhance subtle nuances. They are also more comfortable to hold and allow you to sense the wine temperature better when drinking. Hand-blown glasses are, however, considerably more expensive than their machine-manufactured counterparts and more fragile. Whether purchasing the more elaborate, hand-made and hand-blown depends on your preferences and budget.

We’ll now give you a few basic care and storage tips to ensure that you can enjoy your glasses and wines for a long time to come. Glasses can be loaded in the dishwasher only if they are explicitly labelled as dishwasher safe. Otherwise, hand-wash them with hot water and a neutral washing-up liquid to keep your glasses sparkling and free from a cloudy patina. Lastly, always take your glasses out of the cupboard well in advance of serving your wines to make sure they are odour-free.

© Photo: Vini Alto Adige/Alex Filz
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