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White Wine Glasses: How to Pick the Best Stemware for Your Vino
McKenzie Hagan |
Stop! Before you pour that lovely Viognier into any old tumbler, did you know that using the proper white wine glasses could actually make your wine taste better?
It’s true, not only does the shape and style of the glass affect how you experience the aromas of your favorite Pinot Grigio, but certain glasses can help you to preserve the optimal temperature of your wine.
But before you whip out your credit card and order yourself some fancy new glassware, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
From explaining the science behind proper stemware to sharing our top tips and tricks to consider while shopping, this article provides everything you need to know about buying the best white wine glasses.
Pssst, read to the bottom to discover our favorite glasses you can buy right now!
Why Proper Stemware Matters
Don’t get us wrong, we would quite happily drink wine out of a shoe as long as the company was good and the wine was high quality. However, to really get the most of your wine, picking the right glassware is essential.
While this “having the right glass” malarky may seem like an excuse for wine snobs to push pricey glasses, research actually shows that glassware affects the taste and experience of the wine.
Choosing the correct wine glass allows wine enthusiasts to pick up on subtle aromas, which add to the wine tasting experience.
The perfect red wine glass looks pretty different from a good white wine glass. This is because full-bodied red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, need room to breathe in order to release the breadth of flavors.
There are several different types of red wine glasses, including Bordeaux and Burgundy glasses. Both of these glasses have wide bowls and wide brims, perfect for picking up on a whole host of flavors and aromas.
White wines on the other hand, have other needs.
What to Look Out for When Buying White Wine Glasses
As a general rule, white wines (and rosés) are best served in a glass with a narrower bowl, as the smaller size helps to preserve the fruity flavors by keeping the wine at optimal temperature. These glasses are often just referred to as traditional white wine glasses, and are slightly tulip shaped.
These small-bowled wine glasses are perfect for white wines with low body and high acidity, as the small shape lets the drinker experience the full breadth of the acidic qualities. Wines such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc taste best in these traditional glasses.
However, full-bodied white wines, such as Chardonnay, are highly aromatic, so they benefit from a wider rim and a rounder bowled glass. Our advice? Rather than splashing out on specific Chardonnay glasses, serve yours in a Bordeaux glass and save your money.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your wine loving pal, don’t rush over to Etsy. While stemless wine glasses may look cute (especially when bedazzled and decorated) this is one trend we can’t get behind.
The problem is, stemless glasses force the drinker to hold the bowl, meaning the warmth of their hand actually heats the wine. As we know, white wine is best served slightly cooler, so these cute wine accessories could actually affect the taste of your vino.
Instead, check out high quality wine manufacturers, such as Zalto, Libbey, Riedel, or Zwiesel to bag yourself a glass collection you can be proud of.
Our Favorite White Wine Glasses
There are so many high-quality white wine glasses on the market it’s hard to pick a favorite. However, these top three are beautifully designed, elegant, and sure to attract compliments at your next dinner party.
Libbey Signature Westbury White Wine Glasses
With a perfect tulip-shaped bowl, a sturdy flat foot (the bottom of the glass), and a slender stem, this classic white wine glass from Libbey is a great investment set. Better yet, it’s dishwasher safe!
Zalto Denk White Wine Glass
Created specifically for Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Petit Chablis, young Semillon, Chenin, and unoaked Godello, this beautiful Zalto glass is said to be one of the finest in the world. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s mouth blown and comes in a set of 6.
Riedel Superleggero White Wine Glass
Riedel drinkware is always impressive, but this long stemmed, super-light white wine glass is something special. Specifically designed for Riesling or Zinfandel, this tulip-shaped glass helps to emphasize the fruity flavors of the wine.
Elixir White Wine Glasses
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get some good wine glasses. This set of four hand-blown, white wine glasses can be yours for less than $30 on Amazon.
Our Favorite Sparkling White Wine Glasses
For sparkling wines, Champagne flutes are our top pick. While there is some disagreement over this in the wine industry, we believe that the long thin bowl of the glass is perfect for keeping our wines bubbly.
This is because the small surface area of the glass gives the wine less time to oxidize, keeping it sparkling for longer. Plus, for a special occasion there’s nothing quite like a flute full of Champagne.
As long as the bowl is skinny and the stem is long (which keeps the heat of your hand away from your wine), good flutes are easy to find. Wayfair has a wide selection of quality dinnerware to discover, including glass sets, decanters, and more.
A couple of our top picks include:
Rona Champagne Flutes
These dishwasher-safe crystal glasses come in a pack of six. They feature a slim bowl with a unique flat base and long stem. We love that they’re super modern and extremely practical.
JoyJolt Black Swan Champagne Crystal Flutes
Far more affordable than many of the glasses on this list, these lovely glasses are attractive, practical, and a welcome update to plain Champagne flutes. Featuring a black and deep purple ombre design, this handmade pair is perfect for those with a darker disposition.
A Glass Act
You don’t have to be a sommelier to know which wine glass is best for your favorite bottle. Just remember, white wine glasses are usually tulip shaped, with slighter smaller bowls, while red wine glasses have large bowls and wide rims (perfect for releasing those subtle aromas).
If you love the oaky butteryness of Chardonnay, swap your small white wine glass for a red wine glass with a wider bowl. This will allow you to really appreciate the full aroma profile of your bottle.
When it comes to sparkling wine, opt for long, thin Champagne flutes which will protect your bubbles and keep your vino tasting fresh for longer.
This being said, don’t lose sleep over not having the correct wine glasses. Having the right glass is merely the perfect finishing touch to a gorgeous wine. If a wine is wonderfully crafted, sustainably farmed, and produced in small batches (like our wine is) it’ll taste great straight out of the bottle!