How to enjoy your wine more

The other day we saw a scene on the TV show we’re watching „The good wife” when a successful lawyer, Will Gardner, drinks an 8000$ wine from a tea mug. I immediately remembered a tasting I did few years ago, when started being initiated into the finewine world: trying the same wines in different type of glasses. Initially I thought it is a marketing scam but even if I was a novice in wine, I could indeed feel a pretty notable difference.

Some may not believe me… some may not believe one could have a wonderful wine in front and if tasted in the wrong glass, the experience could be totally different. For example, a very good, velvety Pinot Noir, tried in a Sauvignon blanc glass may taste…espresso like :)..bitterly.. no kidding. I was wowed as well..

wine glasses 154

From left: 1.Burgundy Grand Cru, 2.Pinot noir, 3./4. Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Shiraz, 5.oaked Chardonnay, 6.Montrachet/ oaked Chardonnay, 7.Sauvignon blanc or Chablis, 8.Sauvignon blanc

my first suggestion :

If trying to understand wine and want to be able to enjoy it at its full potential, then you may need a proper glass. The shape and the texture influence the aroma, flavor and finish of the wine. Wine will display completely different characteristics when served in different glasses. I knew that wine glasses mattered, but had no idea how much.

Shape of the glass determines the flow of the wine into your mouth. A narrow flute will narrow the taste, an ample wine glass will amplify the taste. That’s why in the wrong glass some wines can taste as grape juice or …espresso, too alcoholic and acidic, or unpleasantly rough.

Take for example an oaked Chardonnay served in any other than the wide bowl and wide opening type of glass may seem one-dimensional flavorless or texture-less. The alcohol is usually felt stronger. But when the oaked Chardonnay glass is used, the oaky, fruity tones are revealed. The Cabernet Sauvignon served in the Pinot Noir glass tastes characterless and faded but in the right one, its deep rich flavors are intensified.

Chardonnay glass

Oaked Chardonnay paired with grilled milokopi, violet mashed potato, roasted lemon and a sauce made of butter, chives & parsley

Red Bordeaux1

Cabernet paired with steak and asparagus


Sauvignon blanc paired with mussels

There are different brands to choose from, the gorgeous yet pretty pricey “grape varietal specific” glasses made by Riedel,  the thin and very pricey delicate crystal glasses made by Baccarat or Rosenthal, or some available in the supermarket.

“The effect that Riedel glasses have on fine wine is profound. I cannot emphasize enough what a difference they make”- The wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. Indeed, after years of research Riedel designed the proper glasses that enhance the wine’s aromas deposited therein.

We bought and received some but as their delicacy may determine guests feel uncomfortable in certain occasions where there is a relaxed atmosphere, we had to have good and cheaper wine glasses so one good finding was the range of glasses from Metro Cash&Carry, Stölzle, for about 12 EURO/ a pack of 6. They are obviously not fine crystal, but they work very well to the purpose. These are great to start with your stemware collection.

But enough with my persistence. I suggest you trying your favorite wines in different types of glass, just as a test.

Try first the wine in a plastic glass by smelling it. Pour the same wine in its correspondent glass/crystal one. Then pour it in another type of glass. Do you feel the glass makes a difference? I believe the wrong glass is as much enemy for the wine as is the bad storage. It can completely change its taste.

Now, few drinking tips as well, to fully enjoy the experience :

Drinking TIP 1: Fill the glass just to the point where the bowl reaches its broadest point, leaving plenty of room to swirl.

Drinking TIP 2: Swirl the glass. Swirling serves a purpose: it allows the wine to breathe or oxygenate, opens it up, and reveals the wine’s subtle nuances. Wine needs air to come to its full potential. Look at the color (which comes from grape’s skin), it may give you hints about the grape variety, the age, etc.

Drinking TIP 3: Hold a glass by the stem, as in this way you don’t interfere in the wine’s temperature. Nor leave your fingerprints on the glass. And, why not, it looks like we know about wine :), it’s cool…

Drinking TIP 4: drink it at the right temperature. Otherwise you will feel more the alcohol.

Drinking TIP 5: Sharing the good stuff! Sharing wine is the most fulfilling way to drink it

glasses types

From left: 1.Burgundy Grand Cru, 2.Pinot noir, 3./4. Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Shiraz, 5.oaked Chardonnay, 6.Montrachet/ oaked Chardonnay, 7.Sauvignon blanc or Chablis, 8.Sauvignon blanc

Red Bordeaux glasses

Cabernet/Merlot wine glasses

Red Burgundy glasses

Burgundy Grand Cru wine glass & Pinot Noir wine glass

White Bordeaux glasses

Oaked Chardonnay glass & Montrachet/ Oaked Chardonnay glass

White Burgundy glasses

Sauvignon Blanc glass or riesling or even Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc glass

Another article will follow soon with the weight of the wine and about pairing with food…hope you will enjoy it!


Lacerta Pinot Noir 2010
October 28, 2013

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