A friend has just asked me to recommend some wine glasses. I realise I get asked this rather often so I thought I would dash off a quick post to help any people who are looking for glasses to buy. I shall start of with dream glasses and then move on to the stemware I usually use, then give you the bargain option. Do not worry if you can only afford the bargain glasses, they are perfectly acceptable for tasting as they have long enough stems to hold them comfortably – you never hold a tasting glass by the bowl as this covers it with finger prints and you cannot then see the wine clearly – and they all have the essential thin rim you need for tasting.
One thing you should always remember is that you never to a tasting glass to the brim. You need plenty of space to swirl and let the aromas fulminate from the wine. With exception of Champagne flutes, which you can fill about half way up, you should usually aim to fill a glass to just below the widest part at the bottom of the glass – the wide part of the dumpy tulip.
The dream glasses to get are the hand-blown crystal Riedel Sommeliers. They really do provide the ultimate tasting experience, but they cost the earth, are definitely not dishwasher safe and usually break when you are trying to polish them with a glass cloth. Indeed, I have smashed countless Sommeliers just by clicking the rim to make them go ping!
The only glass you really need if you have stacks of sponds and want the very best general purpose glass are the Riedel Sommelier Riesling Grand Cru/Chianti glasses. They will do for anything and provide a superb tasting experience.
If you want to get a general purpose red wine glass then go for the Sommelier Hermitage glasses. Simply fine for any red wine, unless you are as bonkers as me (see next glass).
I do have to admit I am bonkers as I own a couple of Sommeliers Burgundy Grand Cru glasses that I pull out when I am tasting something super fine. I cannot deny they look a bit silly. They are bloody enormous too!
The Champagne flutes, on the other hand, are divine.
Now the glasses I usually use are also Riedels, but this time the machine-blown crystal Vinum series. They are easier to clean by hand and will even stand up to a dish washer as long as you make sure they are not touching anything else that may clink against them during the washing process. They are a joy to taste from.
Again, the only glass you really need is the Riesling glass (also known as the Chianti glass). These will suit absolutely any wine you wish to taste in an analytical manner. Just remember not to over fill them.
If you want a red wine glass go for the Syrah glass – fine for all red wine.
One again I must admit to owning some Pinot Noir glasses and, yes, they do look silly too.
The Champagne glasses are a good investment as well.
Finally, if all this is too rich for your blood get the Luminarc Hermitage series. There is absolutely no shame in owning and using these glasses: they provide a very close experience to the vastly expensive ones I list above. Indeed, just yesterday I recommended them to one of my best friends who considers Riedels just a bit too fragile for his general tasting needs. Good for tasting, dishwasher safe and reasonably robust in general. These ‘small’ ones will do for any wine (again do not over fill as if you gave someone a full glass not only would not they be able to taste properly, but also you would be giving them over a third if a bottle of wine to drink!).
You can get some larger red wine glasses if you wish.
The Champagne flutes are just fine for any fizz. Lovely to drink from these, do not think you are losing so much buy buying these – you can serve almost any company fizz in these with no thought of inadequacy.
And that, as they say, is that. I hope you have found this useful. It is really worth getting decent glasses for drinking and tasting, they add so much to the experience of enjoying a wine.