What is the best glass to serve each wine?

by Jun 12, 2020News0 comments

Different shapes, different experiences in wine tasting (photo credit to Shrarad Jadvani, Pixabay)

Different shapes, different experiences in wine tasting (photo credit to Shrarad Jadvani, Pixabay)

Hi, everyone, I’m Breno.

As many of you know, the wine world is always a big playground to explore. Don’t matter if someone implies they “I know it all”: there’s always so much more to learn.

I’ll try to show you how this in an everlasting process here, speaking about the right glasses to serve certain kinds of wine.

Just the other day, I accidentally broke one of my favorite wine glasses at home and still haven’t been able to find its exact reposition. Well, who hasn’t gone through such frustration? It led me to search more for what makes each glass adequate for each wine.

The big thing about having the right glass for each wine (and even by grape variety) is to maximize or mellow the aromas and flavors in the poured wine.

An example? If you have a glass with a smaller bowl, the wine’s aromas will hold up better in it. Instead, larger bowls will help you aerating your wine by making swirling easier. And taller bowls help evaporating excessive alcohol, while smaller ones preserve it.

I’m not going through the big details – just what you need to know for some important varieties:

Reds: taller, with tannin-driven variations

julien burgundy noir 1.jpg

When thinking of red wines, the immediate thought is of a large, tall bowl. It relates especially to Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux (such as these options, with a fantastic vintage from Château Coutet among them). Why is that? Simple: these are usually high in alcohol and tannins. Such ‘standard’ red wine glasses allow to aerate the wine while swirling, at the same time softening the strength of their tannins in the palate and the alcohol on the nose for taking a longer distance as you sip (due to the bowl being taller).

If instead you think of another bold, medium to full-bodied red wine such as Syrah (such as our earlier launches Montes Folly 2011 and M. Chapoutier Le Pavillon 2009), Sangiovese (which is the base for lovely Tuscans such as these) or Malbec – stronger in peppery flavors or black fruit and with strong tannins, a taller and rounded glass is recommended to release the fruity aromas and mellow these tannins at the same time.

Lighter-bodied reds, which are lower in tannins, such as Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo, are known for being tasted best in very wide bowls, which allow them to aerate and concentrate the delicate fruity aromas while aerating.

Whites: concerns with coolness, acidity and aromas

julien burgundy grand crus 5.jpg

For white wines, it’s always a matter of balancing the floral aromas, acidity and cooler temperature.

The ‘standard’ here is the traditional Viognier or Sauvignon blanc glass: smaller than reds’ (for temperature-keeping purposes), with a narrow rim that allows concentrating the crispier tastes. In however, you need to enhance the nose in highly aromatic and bolder young white wines such as Chardonnay, go with a glass that has a slightly wider rim.

When it comes to white Burgundy, it is much like the wider, rounded Pinot Noir glass, albeit in a smaller size.

And sweeter whites, such as dessert Rieslings and Sauternes, go well with smaller bowls that help maintaining the alcohol-sweetness balance.

Illustration by Julia Lea / Wine Enthusiast

Illustration by Julia Lea / Wine Enthusiast

Rosé. Sparkling. Fortifieds.

If you’re thinking rosé, there are specific glasses – tulip-shaped ones with a slightly wider rim, that highlight its tartness. But I honestly think you might be collecting way too many glasses there. My personal take is that glasses fit for lighter-bodied reds can do well with rosé – sorry if it could be a blasphemy, sommeliers!

However, if these are sparkling rosé, you can follow the same logics as for normal sparkling wines: there are options like the classic flute (great to keep freshness and the bubbles coming, which is perfect for brut champagne such as Boërl & Kroff), the tulip (for floral-oriented aromatics such as prosecco, rosé) and the good old coupe glass (vintage and good for sweeter spumanti)…

And when it comes to fortified wines such as Port, Moscatel, Madeira or sherry, it’s well-known: smaller glasses with smaller bowls to avoid alcohol evaporation and highlight their fruit and complex aromas. (Oh. Don’t forget to check our Portuguese wines available for investment!)

* * *


Explore More from Our Blog

Alti Wine Exchange Indexes: 2022 overview and outlook for 2023

Sergey Glekov Senior financial analyst The Alti Wine Exchange Indexes are a family of equal weighted indexes which trace price performance of fine and rare wines and shows equal weighted average returns on them. The indexes are subdivided by most important wine...

Alti Wine Exchange Indexes: 2021 overview and trends for 2022

Sergey Glekov Senior financial analyst The Alti Wine Exchange Indexes are a family of equal weighted indexes which trace price performance of fine and rare wines and shows equal weighted average returns on them. The indexes are subdivided by most important wine...

They have created the perfect storm for controlled demolition of money

I’m glad to be back talking financial insights, one glass of wine at a time. First they shut down the economy, to save lives. With the closure of the economy, production ceased. To compensate for non-production or reduced production, people were paid not to lose...

Spanish Cava Sparkling Wine: What You Need to Know!

Spanish Cava Sparkling Wine: What You Need to Know!

What is a Port Wine?

DEAR READER, Let’s start February off with a simple question: Good morning, Mr. Ferdinand, What is a Port wine? -Jacques Thank you, Jacques, for your brevity. Let’s get down to business! Ports are an underrated, very particular type of wine made in the Douro Valley,...

What to Expect for Fine Wine Investments in 2022

Let’s face it, between an ongoing COVID pandemic, erratic markets, fires, floods and major humanitarian crises, 2021 was exhausting. And though none of us can be sure what to make of 2022, we can say with confidence that fine and rare wine investments are looking...

Holiday Gift Guide for Fine Wine

It’s that time of year again! And so begins the search for the perfect holiday gift. Something unique, something that shows you truly care. How about a gift that keeps on giving? An investment. Imagine their surprise when you tell them that their gift is resting...


DEAR READER, As I grow immensely in popularity, I’ve noticed more of you interested in my personal life. I didn’t begin e-blogging with this in mind, but I don’t mind indulging every now and then. I imagine my intellect intimidates a lot of you, so maybe shedding some...

The Truth about Fine Wine

Fine wine. What does that really mean? The truth is, as words, they don’t mean much. There is no official classification system for the title “fine wine.” It’s not like the regulated usage of “Premier Cru” or “Grand Cru Classé,” for example, rather anyone can throw it...

Maipo Valley Reds

DEAR READER, I am again-and-again charmed by my readers’ curiosity! It reminds me of being a young sommelier, ready to take on the world one glass at a time. I know far too much to feel that way again—but at least I can experience a shred of it through you all! Dear...

Liquid Harmony

Harmony. Think Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Think Picasso's The Old Guitarist. It’s that moment when various elements come together to create magic. And magic really is the word, no? Wine can also sip in harmony, and I can think of no better example than the...

Where Does the Phrase “Aging Like Fine Wine” Originate?

DEAR READER, I received this charming question from an inquisitive reader last week. Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, Where does the phrase “aging like fine wine” originate? It’s so fun! -Imani I just love your question! What a lively spirit you have, Imani! I’m more of a...