Wine glasses, for many, are just another household item – a necessary cupboard staple no different than a dishcloth, frying pan or can opener. They serve a purpose, your guests expect them, and that’s it. As one begins to develop his or her interest in wine, however, something quite funny happens: Wine glasses become more than that. A lot more. As you get bitten by the wine bug, you begin to tell your Ribera del Duero from your Rioja and understand the differences between Champagne, Cava and Prosecco, you will find that your care a lot more about your wine glasses. You will find that you really do care about the type of glass you use to serve your guests – and yourself!
Wine glasses: What do you need?
There’s no short answer to that question. It’lll vary considerably based on your interest in wine, your living situation, your tendency to entertain guests regularly (or not) and, ultimately, your budget. Let’s imagine that you are stocking up on wine glasses for home use, and use the above criteria to figure out what you need.
- You’re on this site and reading this blog, so let’s assume that you have at least a passing interest in wine. Good, so we’ll suggest that instead of the generic grocery store glasses, you should consider a quality producer such as Stölzle or Riedel. You’ll taste the difference for sure.
- Your living situation matters. Do you live alone, with friends, with family? And, in addition, how often do you entertain guests? How many people regularly drink wine at your place should influence your decision. If you’re living by yourself and don’t have guests all that often, you probably don’t need a huge amount of glasses. By contrast, if you’re living in a large household of wine lovers, you’ll need more. If you regularly throw dinner parties and cocktail parties, you’ll need to look at quantity too.
- Your budget matters, more than anything else. The best quality wine glasses don’t come cheap, but when treated with care, they will last you a long time and really enhance your pleasure when it comes to wine.
How many different wine glasses do you need?
There are a whole variety of different wine glass styles out there, each with its own specific purpose and particular style of wine. A fine Bordeaux like Château Cos d’Estournel 2005 will be best enjoyed from a purpose-made Bordeaux glass, the large bowl designed to best represent the complex nature of such a powerful wine. Stölzle Exquisit Bordeaux Set of 6 will get your glass cupboard amply stocked quickly, while those looking to really treat their senses might consider the Riedel Sommeliers Bordeaux Grand Cru. The Bordeaux glass is quite versatile and can cover a wide range of other red and white wines. Those just starting out could do a lot worse than simply keeping a stock of Bordeaux wine glasses. However, those with adventurous tastes may want to consider the multitude of other styles available:
- Riedel Vinum Syrah will cover you for a range of robust, full-bodied reds from the Syrah (also known as Shiraz) grape and others. Anything from the Rhône Valley, for sure, or with an Australian Shiraz or a Spanish equivalent such as Enate Syrah-Shiraz 2007.
- Riedel Sommeliers Sauternes is a smaller glass, designed to accentuate acidity in the sweet wines of Sauternes and other regions, to balance out the otherwise potentially overpowering sweetness.
- Riedel Vinum Cuvée Prestige is a high quality Champagne flute that will be perfect with any sparkling wine that you may get your hands on, including a Cava or Prosecco. The design encourages the bubbles to last longer in the glass.