In any field, experts are the people you turn to for the most trustworthy advice. They are the most knowledgeable in their field and can offer the best recommendations. In the area of wine, sommeliers are the go-to people. Sommeliers are the experts in all things wine. Beyond their understanding of the wine itself, they also know what wine glasses are the best for the ultimate wine and dining experience.
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Sommeliers are experts on fine wine dining experiences, which means that sometimes the recommendations can be rather expensive. Although, they can also give more affordable options that won’t break the bank. In general, they will look for specific characteristics of the wine glass regardless of the price, including:
Perhaps you enjoy all types of red wine and don’t want to commit to a specific glass, or maybe you drink white wines as well and need to keep your glass collection under control. Either way, a sommelier may recommend a universal red wine glass as an excellent option. These glasses typically will be sized in the middle of the range between large and small red wine glasses. It will have a broader and taller bowl than a white wine glass to aerate the wine and expand its aroma.
Depending on the body of a particular red wine, a sommelier will recommend a specific red wine glass. They will opt for a glass with a broader bowl for full-bodied red wines, which allows for more aeration. For lighter reds, sommeliers use a glass with a smaller bowl, which will keep delicate aromas concentrated.
A sommelier would recommend a universal white wine glass as an excellent choice for those not partial to any one type of white wine. Universal white wine glasses typically will be sized between a small and large white wine glass. The bowl should be somewhat short to bring aromas closer to the nose and a narrow mouth to concentrate these delicate notes.
Depending on the body of a particular white wine, a sommelier will suggest a specific white wine glass. For example, they’ll opt for a glass with a broader bowl for full-bodied white wines, which allows for more aeration. They’ll use a glass with a smaller bowl for lighter white wines, which will keep delicate aromas concentrated.
For a Champagne glass, a sommelier will look for a wine glass that will maintain the bubbles for a long time. This is the key to finding a good champagne glass.
For the infrequent celebratory toast, a sommelier likely would recommend a traditional champagne flute. This is the tall, slender glass most commonly associate with champagne drinking. The small surface area helps to preserve the carbonation. A wider bowl and mouth, such as those found on red wine glasses, would allow the carbonation to dissipate too fast.
If champagne is your bread-and-butter or the wine world, or you enjoy a specific type of champagne, a sommelier will recommend the perfect glass to pair with each type of bubbly. For dry champagnes such as a Brut, a flute is best. For fruity champagnes such as a Rosé, a tulip glass with a broader bowl helps bring forward the floral notes. As the name indicates, a wide tulip glass is wider than a standard tulip glass. This helps to capture the subtle notes of vintage bottles. Lastly is the coupe glass, which is a vintage design with a large, shallow bowl. Counter to modern champagne glasses, this glass was designed to dissipate bubbles quickly and soften the taste.
A true sommelier knows there’s a perfect wine glass for every occasion—even dessert! Sommeliers look for petite sipping glasses to use for dessert wines. This is because dessert wines are both much sweeter than regular wines and much higher in alcohol content. The goal of the dessert wine glass is not to overwhelm the senses.
For those only sipping dessert wines on special occasions, a sommelier could recommend a universal dessert wine glass.
Suppose you particularly enjoy a single type of dessert wine of a regular basis. In that case, a sommelier may recommend a specific type of dessert wine glass such as a port glass, sherry glass, or Madeira glass. Although each is relatively similar in size, their shapes vary. This helps to accentuate the subtly different notes in each type of wine.
If you’re short of space or sipping on a budget, you need one wine glass that can do it all. Look for a functional glass that checks off all six boxes on our list at the top of this blog. A universal glass will typically be sized somewhere between a large white wine glass and a small red wine glass to capture the best of both wine types. You can also drink champagne and dessert wine out of a universal glass, but these glasses aren’t optimized for either.
Whether you’re dipping your does into the world of grapes, or you’re a long-time connoisseur, and whether you’re on a budget or expanding your crystal selection, sommeliers can guide you to the perfect glass.
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