Wines, whether red, white, rosé or sparkling (champagnes) accompany the special moments of life. As tasting is not always analytical, it is important to drink these wines in good conditions so that they give you pleasure. Glassware contributes to these conditions. Explanation by Alexis Kuperfis.

The glasses

For a long time, the choice of glasses was limited to individual habits and preferences. Thus, large glasses were the privilege of red wines, while glasses with a narrower opening of the chalice were those for white wines. Since then, glass specialists have researched and designed glasses that highlight the subtleties of the wines. We can say that the nature and shape of the glass influence the tasting. Here are the factors:

  • The glass consists of two parts: the stem and the drinker (or chalice). The stem must be high enough to allow the glass to rotate to aerate the wine without changing the temperature.
  • The glass should be as thin as possible, to give maximum sensitivity to the taster.
  • The diameter of the bottom of the chalice as well as its opening should not be too large. In the first case, if the contact surface of the wine with the air is large, the wine and therefore the alcohol will heat up more quickly. In the second case, an opening that is too large favours a significant loss of volatile compounds as soon as the wine is poured. In both cases, the olfactory and gustatory perceptions are altered.

It is important to remember that the shape of the drink should not be too flared and that the opening should be curved towards the inside of the glass.

  • The wall of the glass must be transparent in order to be able to contemplate the colour of the wine. Avoid glasses with inscriptions, serigraphy or others. The crystal is perfect, as is the glass if it is not too thick.
  • Sparkling wines require suitable glasses. These have developed especially to adapt to the tasting of champagnes. In the 18th century, champagnes were served in conical glasses, which have now practically disappeared. The glass, which appeared around 1830, is very much appreciated for its elegant and refined shape but is not, however, suitable for sparkling wines. It has a large surface area in contact with the ambient air, which favours the loss of aromas and strongly accelerates the rise of bubbles and thus the depletion of carbon dioxide in the wine.

Today, only three types of glass are suitable for tasting sparkling wines: the INAO glass (from the National Institute of Appellations of Origin), the flute and the tulip glass, which best preserves the bubbles.

Thanks to the explanations of Alexis Kuperfis you now know everything about wine glasses.