Glasses are glasses, right? After all, they serve the singular purpose of holding a liquid. While this may be true for most things, when it comes to wine glasses, differences matter. These differences all come down to the need for different types of wines to breathe. You might ask yourself, “Which wine glass should I use?” Let’s take a look at how this varies between red wines and white wines.
You’ve probably noticed when going to a restaurant that red wine glasses tend to be much larger than white wine glasses. There is a good reason for this! Red wine needs to take in a lot more oxygen to truly provide its full flavor profile. This is why you’ll often hear, “Red wines need to breathe”.
Big wine glasses allow for the wine to take in oxygen, which allows it to express the aroma as intended. As you likely know, the aroma is a very important component of wine tasting as it prepares the brain for the taste palate. So yes! It really matters which wine glass you use!
Red wine needs space to give off its ethanol! This will have a noticeable effect on how the wine smells and tastes as big wine glasses create a ring-shaped vapor pattern. In a sense, large wine glasses are also chemically a good fit for wine.
While red wines are very full-bodied, white wines tend to have a much more delicate flavor profile. For these reasons, larger wine glasses are not technically needed, particularly for white wines with high acid contents. However, big wine glasses are still often helpful for white wines that are fuller-bodied in nature such as Chardonnays.
While big wine glasses are not needed for white wines to showcase their full flavor profile, they can have another benefit. Specifically, big wine glasses have a larger opening which translates to letting the wine flow across the entire surface of your palate. This creates a more positive tasting experience, ensuring you can detect all the subtle hints within the wine.
So, which wine glass should I use?
Next time you’re shopping for wine glasses and you find yourself asking, “Does It Really Matter Which Wine Glass I Use?”, remember bigger is better, particularly with red wines. Big wine glasses promote maximum oxygen, allowing the wine to breathe and truly showcase its intended flavor. For white wines, big wine glasses also help ensure the wine is experienced across the palate. In other words, you can’t go wrong with a larger glass!