Glassware and Wine Serving Tips
Many people find it hard to believe but even a basic wine will taste different depending on the glass it’s served in. Some glasses mute the flavor, some emphasize nuanced scents and some will suppress taste and smell. If you’re lucky you’ll be drinking from a glass that presents the wine perfectly, showcasing all its characteristics.
So how frustrating it can be when a great wine is poured into an ordinary glass, an occurrence that is all too common at some restaurants, tastings and dinner parties. I think we have all had that unfortunate experience when we arrive at someone’s house looking forward to tasting some good wine only to be presented with blue or green stemware!
Being someone that’s concerned about good glassware doesn’t mean you are a wine snob; it’s simple common sense. Whether you’ve paid $10 or $100 for a bottle of wine you want to make sure you enjoy all its flavors and scents. Investing in good quality stemware will ensure you get the very best out of each bottle you pour and it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune.
If you have shopped in any of the better kitchen supply stores or wine boutiques you will likely know that today you can buy specific glasses made for every major varietal. While these are great the more casual wine enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that you will do just fine with just a few well-chosen glasses that match your wine buying, drinking and entertaining habits.
So when thinking about what glassware you’ll buy consider the quality of wine you’re likely to enjoy on a regular basis as well as the kind of entertaining you like to do. For a picnic where you might be pouring simple wines from current vintages a couple dozen clear glass tumblers might suffice. For better quality wines served at a dinner party or more formal gathering you will want a selection of stemware that lets each guest taste from a flute shaped glass for sparkling wines and champagne, a tapered, ten to twelve ounce glass for white wines and a larger rounder glass for red wines.
Try to avoid colored glass (even if it’s just the stem) as you don’t want anything to interfere with a good look at the color of the wine. If you use a dishwasher, run the glasses through hot water only avoiding the use of detergent. Throw away those small, thick lipped glasses with the rolled rims; use tumblers instead. Oh and remember, size matters! Your glass should be large enough to hold three or four ounces of wine without being more than one third full. This will allow enough airspace to properly show off the wine’s aroma.
So next on your list of good habits when serving wines is temperature. When white and red wines are too cold they will lose all aromas and a good deal of their flavor. Conversely if a wine is served too warm crispness disappears and the alcohol content will appear over-intensified. Of course you will have chilled your desert wines and sparklers but even with these wines if you chill them too much they will lose their valuable characteristics.
Over the course of a dinner party or wine tasting your wines will naturally warm up so starting them out on the cool side is a good idea. Dry white wines, rosés or very light reds can start out at around forty-five degrees. For your big red wines, about 58 to 60 degrees is the best temperature to start from. Sparkling wines and sweet dessert wines can be chilled in the fridge for an hour or more before being served.
When possible try to plan ahead, allowing sufficient time for your wine to arrive at its proper temperature gradually. If you don’t already have one, a wine cooler or fridge with variable temperature controls will serve you well. You and your guests will then enjoy wines showing their best aromas and flavors allowing you to celebrate life in the best way possible!
(Source: Wine Enthusiast)
We've written several times on our blog about Riedel vs Duralex and other stemware conflicts...
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