In real life (lets say not in a foodie, sommelier, wine connoisseur or my life) there are three basic types of wine glasses, a larger bowl one which should be used for water, a medium size bowl for red wine and a smaller bowl for whites and roses. Now, let’s go deeper in detail about this.. There exist over 20 types of wine glasses, each designed specifically to explode to the maximum the aromas, color, flavors and other characteristics of each grape.
Before we go deeper into the types of glasses there are, and whether or not you are willing on being strict on this there are a few basics you should know..
1.- No decor.- Always and I mean ALWAYS for respect to the wine you are drinking, the glass must be clear, colorless, stamp-less, decoration-less and everything-less; 50% of a wine experience consists in observing the wine’s legs, color, intensity, body and so on. For more on wine observation go to the wine tasting post.
2.- Crystal if possible.- The thiner the glass, the least the bouquet will be disturbed or altered hence the better the experience. My all time favorite brands are Riedel and Schott Zwiesel.
3.- No soap left.- Before we use a wineglass we have to make sure there are no residuals of soap. The best way to go is to have in handy a bowl, container, kettle or mug with boiling hot water and place the glass on top to let the steam cloud the glass then dry it out with a cloth. The cloth must be fluff-free!! The best type to use are the microfiber ones,however in large hotels the called “rags” are made of old cotton sheets and work perfectly fine (also way cheaper).
4.- Proper polishing.- The best way to “polish” glassware is to place one of the four tips around the glass base and the far diagonal end (like a triangle) inside the glass then rotate both hands in order to polish both the inside and the base at the same time.. this technique I mention, I learnt from my sommelier teacher Raphael Gross who always emphasised the importance of not letting our fingertips touch the glass since there is always a natural greasy content in human skin even when our hands are clean and they may stain the glass.
I found a couple of videos on wine polishing, one is a fancy one using two microfiber cloths
And the other one using cheaper material but dipping the glass into hot water which is not my favorite but also widely used
5.- Shapes and sizes.- Here is where we get serious about choosing the specific glass for the dominant grape of your wine. Each grape variety has its own characteristics and thus it should be treated differently. Some contain higher alcohol content and some tend to highest sugar.. some higher acidity and some heavy body. Wine glasses are designed to allow wine to travel trough the glass (a nice Nebbiolo swirling in a massive globe) or encapsulate it (Champagne’s bubbles having a one straight line up in a tulip glass)
Here’s a few guides by several brands and connoisseurs..
Wine tumbler by Riedel
Wine glassses by Riedel
Guide by The Juice Club
Wine glasses 101 by Wine Investment
Same great wine blog I have cited before posted this great material (click to enlarge or print it out to have a cheat sheet):
If still not so sure of which one is the most suitable glass to use, check this interactive guide that will lead you to an easy purchase.
Please respect wine just as wine respects you!