We ask the experts – in making, tasting and serving – to suggest their favourite wine glass shapes and why.
BY: VIVIAN VASSOS
Red or white, sparkling or sweet. If you enjoy wine, does the glass from which you drink it really matter? Yes – and no. It’s all a matter of personal taste – esthetic and sensory. “The size and shape affect our perception of aroma and taste,” says Ingo Grady of Mission Hill Family Estate in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. “The more you care about that sort of thing, the more discerning you should be about the [glass].”
So why is a white wine glass best for white wine? “It’s all about the fruit, acidity, mineral components, tannin and alcohol in the wine and where the wine falls on your palate when it goes into your mouth,” says Cindy Wilkes, director of corporate, trade and retail sales at The Wine Establishment Limited in Toronto. “So, when you say a white wine glass, that does not necessarily mean one glass.”
For instance, a big buttery Chardonnay would do well in a [rounder, balloon-like] glass, such as a Riedel Montrachet glass. “Essentially, the right-shaped vessel will act as a guide for the wine’s path,” she says. “It allows the sweetness to fall onto the front of your tongue, which is where you will taste sweetness. If you use a [narrower, taller] glass, you will miss the sweetness of the wine and get a closed acidic taste. The wine will fall further back on the tongue on the first sip, then flow to the sides of your tongue and you will only taste acid and not the sweet fruit.” A narrower glass is better for moderately acidic Chardonnay, adds Wilkes, as it directs the wine to the centre of the tongue, creating perfect harmony.
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