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Tips for choosing the best wine glasses

Wine glasses are an essential tool for tasting wine, enhancing its precious nectar. Yes, but which are the indispensable glasses to keep at home?

There are a few to suit all tastes: tall, low, narrow, harmoniously shaped, wide-bottomed, coloured, transparent, crystal or glass. Follow us on a short journey through wine glasses to discover which ones are best to keep at home.

The golden rules

The guidelines for a good tasting are quite clear: the glass must be transparent, without decorations or ornaments, so the colour of the wine can be seen. The glass should also have a long stem, to hold it firmly at the base, without heating it and without having to smell your hand. 

These are the two fundamental rules, to which one must add inevitable options depending on the choice of wine and the service desired. First, glass is more resistant to washing and drying, the latter to be carried out only by hand using a linen cloth, while crystal, fine and precious, reflects more the nuance variations that the wine, from the rim to the heart of the goblet, can provide by tilting it at a 45° angle, especially if it is an important vintage.

Which goblets to have at home

The shape and size of the goblet are two other important technical variables capable of enhancing or, worse, lessening the aromas of a wine. I would recommend a set of 12 glasses of 49 cl. at home, with an angular shape and an elongated stem, because they are an excellent compromise to taste many wines:

  • Martinotti Method sparkling wines like Prosecco
  • Traditional Method like a Trento DOC
  • still wines like those from the Castelli Romani 
  • aromatic like a Gewürztraminer or a Malvasia
  • reds of a certain complexity like a Valtellina Superiore

Tips for bubbles

However, if you are a bubbly devotee, keep room for another type of goblet, but please forget the very tall, cylindrical, and narrow flûte, which while facilitating the visual analysis of the sparkling wine perlage, do not enhance the olfactory complexity. So, if you don’t have much space in the house for a complete set, buy at least a couple of modern glasses for bubbles, the Franciacorta type, with a rounded tulip-shaped body, to enhance the aromas, a very thin stem and a deliberately deeper perlage point, to better release the micro-bubbles upwards. 

Interesting fact: once upon a time, sparkling wines were served in the classic goblet, but again there is a technical reason for this: until the second half of the 19th century, sparkling wines, Champagnes to be precise, were sweet meaning that they had an extremely rich bouquet. So, a low, wide goblet could disperse those extensive aromas without ‘hitting’ the olfactory mucous membranes too violently. 

Goblets for red wines

Finally, get some special glasses for important red wines of long ageing. Choose the so-called balloon, usually a 67 cl. (larger ones are also available on the market), which are well suited for wines that need to be oxygenated, thanks to the diameter of the rim being slightly smaller than that of the rounded bottom. With these glasses, oxygenation enhances the wine’s bouquet, concentrating it to the top without being dispersed. 

Enjoy your tasting experience and cheers!

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