Do you own any Port wine glasses? Many people don’t, but we think you should. Wine glasses come in all shapes and sizes, and with good reason: Individual wines have distinctive aromas and characteristics, and certain glasses are better at highlighting these than others. Of course, some wine glasses are more common than others. Cava and other sparkling wines are best enjoyed from Champagne flute glasses, whose thin design preserves the freshness of the bubbles for longer. Bordeaux wine glasses are great for Bordeaux and other full-bodied red wines. Port wine glasses are not quite so common, but we’d like to see that change!
Port wine glasses: What’s the point?
Port is Portugal’s leading fortified wine. These are high-alcohol wines with a lot of sweetness and a lot of bold fruit flavours. Port, and fortified wines generally, can be overwhelming for many wine lovers because of its high alcohol content. For some people, the alcohol burn from drinking Port can overpower the fruit flavours and make for an unpleasant drinking experience. This is unfortunate, and leads many people to overlook Port wine altogether. Luckily, Port wine glasses are specifically designed to address this problem.
What do Port wine glasses do?
You could serve Port (and any other wine for that matter) whatever way you like it, but in order to get the best from it you should serve it up in specialty Port wine glasses. A good Port wine glass will:
- be small enough to concentrate the fruit flavours, yet;
- be big enough so that you can comfortably swirl and smell the wine.
By meeting these criteria, these glasses make for a more pleasant tasting experience by playing down your perception of the alcohol (and the harsh alcohol burn sensation), while emphasising the gorgeous concentrated fruit aromas. This brings the wine into balance and really illustrates why Port is such a high quality wine. Trust us, you really haven’t tasted Port until you’ve tasted it from the right glass. Forget everything you think you know about Port wine, grab some Port wine glasses and a good bottle, and see for yourself!
Can you serve other wines in Port wine glasses?
Yes. Of course, you could serve any wine at all in any glass at all. That’s entirely up to you. Don’t let us put you off serving Port in a pint glass or Champagne in a tumbler! In terms of what you probably should do, though, here’s what we recommend:
- Port wine glasses are great for other fortified wines, too. Try Sherry, Marsala or Rutherglen and prepare for a well-balanced flavour explosion in the glass!
- Use your Port wine glasses for any other high alcohol wines. Serving a heavily alcoholic Priorat or Australian Shiraz in a Port glass may be unconventional, but it’ll help you alleviate that excessive alcohol perception and play up the bold fruit flavours instead.
- Don’t have any Cognac or other Brandy glasses? Don’t worry, those Port glasses will make a halfway decent substitute!
So that’s it. Port wine glasses have a very specific use when it comes to Port, and they’re versatile: Use them for several other fortified wines, table wines and even spirits. Do you own any Port wine glasses? Do you have any other ideas for unconventional ways to use wine glasses?