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Wine Glasses, Wine Stemware
Don't ignore the wine glasses. A good wine glass is a necessity to get the full enjoyment from a wine. Every container that can hold water can serve wine, but crystal stemware not only adds splendor to your table, it also facilitates all-embracing communication between the wine and the taster.
All of our senses are involved in wine appreciation, and the choice of glassware can stimulate the sight, aroma, and taste of a wine. Georg Riedel, director of the Riedel glass company in Austria, where they make the exquisite Riedel wine glasses, has done extensive experimentation using blind tasting trials with professional tasters. He divides glass design into three elements:
Clarity and Thinness
Clarity and thinness are important for visual perception. Sparkling clean and clear crystal glass with a thin-rimmed bowl reduce the barriers between the wine lover and the wine. Anything but a clear glass takes away from appreciating the wine in the glass. The clearer the better. The wine's color appears richer if the glass is clear. Consequently, wine glasses made from colored glass, or even worse from pewter or silver, do not allow for full appreciation of the wine.
The size and shape of the bowl determines the strength and complexity of the bouquet.
The shape of the rim determines where the wine initially touches on the tongue, influencing the discernment of its taste. The thinner the rim, the less the glass interferes with the wine as it enters the mouth. The stem should be long enough so that the hand doesn't touch the bowl, obscuring the glass with fingerprints or warming the wine above proper serving temperature. However, if the stem is too long, the glass will tip very easily. The stem should be about as long as the bowl is tall.
A wine glass with a large bowl and a narrow opening will work together to amplify the wine's bouquet. They give plenty of space for the aromas to expand, but only a narrow escape. If the bowl's widest point is too high or too low, a normal serving of wine won't have the utmost surface area for aeration. If the opening is too small, drinking will be difficult. Many glasses are too small. Very few glasses are too large.
Types of Wine Glasses
Red Wine Glasses and White Wine Glasses
There are specific red wine glasses and white wine glasses:
A good red wine glass should have a capacity of at least 12 ounces. Red wine glasses usually have a wider bowl shape.
White wine glasses usually have a narrower bowl shape.
Sherry and Port Glasses
Sherry and Port glasses traditionally are small, because Port and Sherry are fortified wines, and usually drunk in small quantities.
Sparkling Wine Glasses
The flute is the traditional glass of choice. The bowl is narrowed, lengthening the time it takes to fill the glass.
Dessert Wine Glasses
Always use a small glass with a small opening to help concentrate the rich aromas of these wines. The old favorite is the tulip-shaped sherry glass. It is filled two-thirds of the way so as to better release the wine's aroma
With the exception of sparkling wines and dessert wines, it's best not to completely fill a wine glass. Fill the glass to about 1/3 of the glass. This level is desirable for two reasons: It leaves room in the glass for the aroma to work its way up the sides of the glass. Secondly, you won't spill the wine over the top edge when swirling the wine in the glass.
Choosing Wine Glasses
In our experience, the best wine glass is a slender goblet of thin, clear crystal with a long stem on a sturdy base. Heavy cut glass may take light beautifully, but it lessens the contact between the wine and your tongue. In addition, examining wine through colored glass is like gazing at a beautiful friend who's wearing wraparound sunglasses. The glass should hold 10 to 18 ounces and the bowl should be biggest at the bottom, tapering to a small opening in order to concentrate the wine's aromas.
However, if you are not particularly a wine connoisseur and simply want wine glasses that are pretty, you may choose some hand painted wine glasses, colored wine glasses, etched wine glasses, engraved wine glasses or any number of decorative wine glasses available.
Your wine lover guests will appreciate having wine in good wine glasses. It shows you care and that you love wine.
Champagne flutes should hold 6 1/2 ounces or more. Champagne glasses have a very narrow opening. The narrow glass offers less surface space for the bubbles (carbon dioxide) to escape. This type of glass is called a champagne flute.
Crystal champagne glasses make an elegant gift. Add a champagne bucket and you can make a nice champagne gift basket.
Cleaning Your Wine Glasses
Hand wash your glasses with hot water. Do not use soap. Soap leaves a residue on the glassware that interferes with the aroma of the wine. Always hold the glass up to the light to ensure they are clean.
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