Our family gathers at least twice a year for a big sit-down dinner together. Last Thanksgiving, it was my wife’s and my turn to feed the clan, which added to 39 hungry individuals. By subtracting the kids and the beer drinkers, my task was to gather enough wine glasses for about 29 adults. After pulling our glass serving collection out of the cupboard, I counted 11-white wine, 7-red wine, 5-brandy snifter, 3-champagne and 2-pilsner beer glasses for a total of 28 glasses. The last person lucked out and received a small water glass to enjoy the wine. It is common for many of us in this situation to bring out a hybrid collection of glassware when we entertain large numbers.
When choosing wine glasses, here are the four basic rules to consider. Rule #1 is the glass should be plain and clear. Rule #2 is that the glass should be of sufficient size to allow pouring a good measure and at the same time allow room for the “swirling” process to release the aromas. Select a glass that has a stem for holding is Rule #3. The stem allows holding your wine glass without transferring heat to the bowl of the glass and consequently your wine. The final rule is that good wine glasses have a taper at the top, which is smaller than the bowl of the glass. This serves to concentrate the aromas towards the nose.
Some glassware companies have designed glassware for every kind of wine one might purchase. If one were to purchase their complete line of wine glasses for each individual wine, the next project we would undertake is remodeling of our glass storage cabinetry. Many website wine aficionados state we can get by quite well by selecting four basic designs for our wine glassware collection. Get different glassware designs to enjoy red, white, sparkling and dessert wines. The glassware you select should be thin as thick glasses are thought to affect the taste of the wine, making it more difficult to properly lip the glass for sipping.
A red wine glass should have a bowl fuller and rounder and with a larger opening than other wine glasses. The bowl of the glass should be wider than the opening of the glass. Red wines have complex aromas and flavors that this shape of glasses enhances when the wine contacts with more air. A white wine glass should be more “u” shaped, which allows aromas to easily release. For sparkling wines, get an upright narrow glass also called a “flute” glass. The narrowness of this glass helps retain the carbonation and capture the flavor. The desert wines should be served in a smaller glass to direct the wine to the back of the mouth. These wines also contain higher alcohol content making a smaller serving wise. Pour only enough wine to fill the glass to the widest part of the bowl.
Correctly, caring and cleaning your stemware is the last concern for being ready for drinking your favorite vintage. Some say wash the glasses only using hot water and others say washing with detergent is okay as long as it is unscented (e.g., no lemon added). If detergent is used, stemware should be thoroughly rinsed. Once rinsed allow the glasses to drip dry in an inverted position. After drying, use a soft cloth to polish them and remove residual water spots. Store them upright in a cupboard ready of use.
After taking a strong chiding from my clan on my hybrid wine stemware, I have since upped my collection. I can now accommodate up to 30 people with the proper glass for their respective wine choices. I did not nor will you have to spend a fortune to be prepared. Now let us enjoy our wine in the best possible stemware and do not forget wine enjoyment starts by correctly storing your wine before use.