Notice how a wine glass is tilted while you drink? The shape of that glass sends the wine to different parts of your palate. Recently, a few of us at GiftTree headed to a wine glass demonstration hosted by Riedel. We couldn’t believe the difference in taste when transferring the same wine from one glass to another. A French Sauvignon Blanc tasted absolutely divine in its classic egg-shaped glass. But when poured into an Oaked Chardonnay glass, the wine turned watery. The aroma and flavor completely dissipated.  Many wine lovers seem to believe that they “don’t like a certain varietal”. However, the truth is they may not have had it in the right glass! To make certain you are tasting your wine in its true form, using the proper wine glass is especially important. Are you using the right wine glass for your favorite wines? Find out here!

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Sparkling Wine

The classic Champagne flute has been the standard sparkling wine glass for centuries, and for good reason. A narrow bowl allows for the bubbles to stay intact. In recent years, tulip-shaped sparkling wine glasses have gained popularity – the widened lip at the top allows for the wine to breathe a little and develop its flavor and aroma. In the past, coupes were very popular wine glasses. The wide bowl forced the bubbles to dissipate quickly, softening the wine and developing its fruitiness.

Examples of Sparkling Wine: Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, US Sparkling (Brut & Extra Dry), Spumante, Sparkling Rosé. 

Dry White Wine

This tall and slender egg-shaped glass has a wider bowl that narrows at the rim to help focus the floral and fruit aromas. Did you know that the way you hold your glass affects the taste, too? Because dry white wines are served chilled, holding the glass by the bowl transfers the heat from your hands to the wine, warming it up. Keep that wine airy and cool! White wine glasses are tall so that you can hold the glass by its long stem, not by the bowl.

Examples of Dry White Wine: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Vinho Verde, Grüner Veltliner, Albariño. 

Sweet White Wine

Many people know and refer to this glass as a Riesling Glass. Smaller overall, sweet white wine glasses have a narrow rim, which guides the wine towards the center and the back of the mouth, in order to avoid overwhelm from the sweetness. Notice how it’s still tall to hold the glass by the stem!

Examples of Sweet White Wine: Riesling, Moscato, White Zinfandel, Gewürztraminer, Muscat / Muscadet.

Rich (Full-Bodied) White Wine

Notice how the bowl of this glass is the same diameter as the rim? That nice and wide stance allows for lots of aeration to concentrate the aroma while the larger opening balances out the sweetness and acidity on the palate. Perfect for oak-aged Chardonnay!

Examples of Full-Bodied White Wine:  Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussane, White Bordeaux, White Burgundy.

Light Red Wine

Think “light-bodied” red wines. These glasses direct the wine toward the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit and balancing the naturally higher acidity in the wine. Fruit-forward, lighter bodied red wines (including some Rosé and some Pinot Noir) are perfect for this type of glass.

Examples of Light Red Wine: Cinsault, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Lambrusco, Gamay, some Rosé, some Pinot Noir.

Medium Red Wine

A wide bowl and a narrower rim are perfect for medium-bodied red wines. They allow the aroma and flavors to develop inside the opening of the glass, sending it straight to your nose, to inhale as you take a sip. Like the light red wine glass, the moderate tannins and high acidity in medium-bodied reds are directed to the tip of the tongue to get all those delicious fruit aromas and flavors.

Examples of Medium Red Wine: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Barbera, some Pinot Noir. 

Bold Red Wine

The large surface area of big red wine glasses gives the wine more contact with the air and allow for more flavor and aroma to release. The large rim also allows the sipper to get a good whiff of the wine as they taste.

Examples of Bold Red Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah.

Dessert Wine

The high sugar and high alcohol content of dessert wines calls for a smaller glass. Besides reducing the quantity, it concentrates the sweetness of the wine. Complex and very fruity, dessert wines are perfect after a long meal.

Examples of Dessert Wine: Port, Ice Wine, Sauternes, Noble Rot wines.