Buying wine tasting glasses is perhaps not the most glamorous aspect of being a wine lover. Shopping for wine glasses is certainly not as much fun as browsing the Rioja or Ribera del Duero sections of your favourite wine store. Make no mistake, though: Glamorous or not, the sort of stemware you taste wine from matters. Owning the right wine tasting glasses is vitally important if you are serious about your wines!
The best wine tasting glasses
Learning to taste wine correctly is very useful for wine professionals and wine lovers alike.
Wine tasting is part art and part science, and one of the most important aspects is the wine glass itself. Tasting from the right sort of glass will allow you to assess the wine’s appearance and aroma, and will heighten the flavours on your palate when you actually take a sip.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) recommends the ISO glass for its students, though acknowledges that there are many suitable alternatives. All good wine tasting glasses should meet the following criteria:
- The bowl should be round, in order to help swirl the wine in the glass and release the wine’s aromatic character.
- The walls should slope inwards, in order to capture all of that aromatic character and help you to identify what’s in the glass.
The 3 wine tasting glasses any wine lover should own
With the above criteria in mind, we have chosen what we think are the three most important glasses for any serious wine taster’s collection.
1) The Riesling wine tasting glass
For dry white wines and rosé wines, we recommend a Riesling wine tasting glass. Riedel Vinum Riesling will do the job nicely, with its rounded bowl and inward-sloping walls. This one has been specially designed for Riesling, though is versatile enough to handle all white and rosé wines too.
2) The Bordeaux wine tasting glass
The best red wine glass is surely the Bordeaux wine tasting glass. The Bordeaux glass has a classic design that is elegant and hugely practical. Its shape is designed to highlight the best of complex, dry red wines. The glass will minimise the rougher edges that these wines sometimes have, and instead emphasise the fruit aromas.
3) The Stölzle Exquisit Champagne
Tasting sparkling wines can be tricky, though we recommend Stölzle Exquisit Champagne. This design satisfies the criteria of a rounded bowl while sloping inwards at the top, yet is still optimal for keeping sparkling wines fresh like a traditional Champagne flute.
Other considerations beyond wine tasting glasses
Keep in mind that even the best wine tasting glasses will be less effective if you haven’t taken the time to prepare your tasting environment. Other aspects to remember include:
- You should always taste in a well-lit tasting area with plenty of natural light, so that you can observe the wine’s true colour and appearance without it being obscured.
- Your tasting space should be free of any strong odours – and so should you! Your area should have no odours from cooking, smoking or cleaning. You should also ensure that you are not wearing any strong perfumes or aftershaves. Strong odours, whether pleasant or unpleasant, can interfere with the aromas coming from your wine tasting glasses and lead to a poor tasting.
- Keep a notebook and pen (or digital equivalent) to hand, so that you can record your own wine tasting notes as you taste.
What wine tasting glasses do you own? Can you recommend any styles that we have missed?