From Buenos Aires, Argentina to the most northern point of Canada, probably almost everyone can recognize a wine glass. Far fewer people, however, could describe why the wine glass has such a distinct shape, or why different types of wines should be poured in different glasses. At wine tastings in the past, I certainly know that I have found myself wondering why the red Malbec needed to be served in a different glass than the white
One of the standout features of all wine glasses is the long stem handle. The primary purpose of this stem is to allow people to hold the wine glass without having to hold the part of the glass that the wine is in, and thus warm it with their body
Another major feature: the round shape of the cup. This is the part of the glass that changes the most depending on the wine it is intended for. Some people claim that the shape of the glass has little effect on the taste, but others will swear by its impact, and have the following to say for its effects:
- The large size allows one to swirl the wine properly to release the aromas.
- The inward curving of the top of the glass functions to retain the aromas of the wine so that they can be sensed more easily.
- Different shapes direct the wine to specific parts of the tongue, allowing one to detect certain characteristics more precisely.
- Some shapes may emphasize fruitiness, while others emphasize tannins.
- Certain shapes may work to keep champagne from going flat.
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Still, I think there may be yet another reason for serving certain wines in certain glasses – just how the fork should always be placed on the left side of the plate, and the knife on the right – it’s just correct. Even if you can’t quite tell the difference in a wine’s flavor whether it is served from a Dixie cup or its perfect-match wine glass, you will at least benefit to know which glasses are used when so you can keep your guests happy at a wine tasting or dinner party.
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