The Wine Lover's Guide to Entertaining
If you’re serious about enjoying the nuances and subtleties of a particular wine variety, from rosé to Burgundy, investing in the proper glass pairing is a must. That’s why aficionados know their stemware, but it’s also a great excuse to spice up your entertaining spread. Not sure where to start? We’re breaking down the basics below: Consider this your starter kit to summer entertaining.
There are hundreds of distinctive shapes within the standard wineglass, each used to balance or highlight specific flavors or aromas. The rim of a well-cut glass should be thin and polished, enabling the wine to flow freely to the palate. Lead-free crystal wineglasses, in lieu of glass, are widely popular since the minerals allow the glass to be spun very thin in addition to refracting light. Crystal stemware is thus sparklier than glass, though glass is more affordable.
When it comes to use, typically red wines are served in a larger bowl glass and whites in a smaller bowl. As a rule, the fuller the body, the larger the bowl. Additionally, holding the glass by the stem ensures less heat is transferred to the wine as you imbibe, preserving the intended serve temperature.
The long and tapered flute glass is designed to enhance the bouquet of sparkling wines. The shape reduces the oxygen-to-wine ratio, accentuating both the aroma and the taste. The flute’s elongated shape and small surface area preserve bubbles as they rise to the top, focusing the aroma for the nose while simultaneously allowing for a dramatic visual effect.
Designed in England in 1663 especially for sparkling wine, the shallow, saucer-shaped coupe glass remains widely used for both champagne and cocktails such as daiquiris. Its broader surface area allows sparkling wine to lose its carbonation more quickly, allowing for a denser flavor to come through.
Waterford Elegance Fine Crystal Champagne Coupe Toasting Glasses ($60)
Much like the flute, the tulip glass will maintain the bubbles of sparkling wine or champagne. Its wider aperture allows the bubbles to flow more effortlessly to the palate, as opposed to hitting your nose. A wider bowl also permits the wine to aerate, further developing the flavor and scent profiles while still focusing them toward the nose.
Arguably meant to be enjoyed more for its aesthetic appeal than for its utilitarian nature, the hock glass is long-stemmed with a small cup, often extravagantly cut, colored, or engraved. Any non-sparkling white wine may be enjoyed from a hock glass, though other stemware may better bring forth the wine’s flavor and aroma.
White wines are typically served in a smaller-bowled glass in order to preserve their more floral aromas and keep the temperature cool. Fuller-bodied whites such as Chardonnay can be paired with a wider, shallower bowl than the more tapered viognier glass. The wider mouth highlights Chardonnay’s creamy texture while the viognier glass pairs effortlessly with light, crisp whites such as white Bordeaux, pinot gris, and sauvignon blanc.
What are some of your favorite summer wine pairings? Tell us which recipes you’re craving with which vintage.
Opening Image: Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis