Those uninitiated in the art of wine tasting may be surprised, when going to a restaurant, to see such a large number of glasses arranged above the plate. However, this is not a design effect, and meets the requirements of different wines, which must be tasted in suitable glasses. So let's find out how to choose a wine glass based on the type of wine .
Wine glass: its role in wine tasting
The wine container may seem incidental, but it nevertheless plays an essential role in all stages of wine tasting .
- Visual analysis of wine : upon visual examination, we easily understand the interest of wine glasses. Transparency (and cleanliness, of course) makes it possible to observe the color of the wine , but the shape and volume also play a role, since they make it possible to analyze the disc of the wine, by tilting the glass, but also the diffusion of bubbles from sparkling wines;
- Olfactory analysis of the wine : the shape of the wine glass, and in particular the size of its opening, makes it possible to optimally discern the aromas released by the wine, and perceptible to the nose;
- Taste analysis of the wine : the shape of the wine above all allows the aromas of the wine to develop, while the opening allows the flavors to be better diffused in the mouth. Thus, depending on the shape of the glasses, the wine diffuses better on the sides of the tongue and in the center of the mouth, in order to capture and stimulate all the taste buds.
Of course, the type of glass also influences the perception we will have of the wine . For example, if you are served a red wine in a plastic cup, without knowing its characteristics, you will immediately think of a mediocre wine.
The structure of a wine glass
Before focusing on the importance of the glass in wine tasting, let's take stock of the structure of a wine glass . We then necessarily find 3 parts:
- The chalice , which can have a more or less pronounced rounded shape or tulip shape, and represents the container. We can then describe it according to its shoulders (widest part of the chalice), the chimney , the rim (more or less narrow opening) and the parison (base of the chalice);
- The foot , which can be more or less thick, and more or less long;
- The base of the glass , on which the foot and the chalice rest, and which allows the stability of the glass and its good grip.
The elements of wine glasses that influence tasting
Have you noticed that in American films, wine is always served in huge, very elegant glasses? Although this sounds very distinguished, it is not the best way to taste a good wine . Indeed, the shape of the glass is not chosen at random, and each characteristic plays a role in the diffusion of aromas.
The shoulders of the stemmed glass
A sommelier always pours wine up to shoulder height in the glass. The width then plays an essential role, because the wider the shoulders of the glass, the larger the contact surface between the wine and the glass and the size of the disc. This assumes that air exchanges will be greater.
This criterion is then interesting for young and tannic red wines, which need to be aerated.
Foot size and height
The base of wine glasses is mainly used to hold the container without having to place your hands on the chalice, which could heat the wine. But it is also useful for observing the color of the wine. It is therefore wise to choose glasses with long and thick stems, to ensure a good grip when turning the wine in the glass.
The volume of the chalice
Generally speaking, wine professionals serve an average of 10 to 12 cl of wine in glasses. This allows, among other things, to be able to serve 6 to 7 glasses with a traditional 75 cl bottle, but also to offer a sufficient quantity to fully savor the flavors of the wine without dragging out the tasting, at the risk of heating the wine.
In these conditions, a wine glass with a chalice of 25 to 45 cl is more than sufficient.
Types of glasses depending on the wine
The shape of the wine glass must therefore be chosen according to each wine, in order to offer optimal expression of all its qualities.
Red wine: lyre glass or tulip glass?
To enjoy a good glass of Bordeaux red wine , we traditionally use the tulip glass . It owes its name to the tulip shape of the chalice. It is characterized by a rather narrow rim, which limits the diffusion of tannins from powerful wines in the mouth, and thus avoids drying out the mouth.
For Burgundy red wines , which are less tannic, we tend to use the lyre wine glass , with a wider rim, which allows the wine to spread more widely in the mouth.
Champagne and sparkling wine glass: the flute or the cup?
The choice of champagne glass is based on the bubbles. The further they go up the glass, the bigger they get.
Thus, the champagne flute , with its tapered shape, allows you to obtain large bubbles that last, while the champagne glass , less tall, offers small bubbles which degas quickly. The tasting experience is then very different, and everyone is free to choose the type of glass according to their tastes.
On the other hand, wine professionals criticize glasses and flutes for not fully expressing the aromas of sparkling wine. Many recommend, then, using a traditional wine glass to drink champagne .
Glass of white wine and rosé wine
For white wines and rosé wines, oenologists recommend tasting in a classic wine glass , with a conical shape, and a medium-sized chalice. Long used as a reference glass, the INAO glass is now gradually being replaced by the Excellence glass , a standard glass which brings together all the qualities for wine tasting.
It is therefore no coincidence that several wine glasses are presented on restaurant tables. You will now know how to choose your glass according to the wine , and thus benefit from all the qualities of your best bottles.