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)
The de factor choice for any simple table wine, a tumbler is classified as any flat-bottomed glass. Its all-purpose design is wide enough to take in the aromatic qualities of the wine without trapping the vapors in the same way as a standard wineglass.
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.
The Bordeaux glass’s thin rim enables the wine to flow freely onto the palate, and its broad shape lets younger wines breath.
The pinot noir glass is ideal for lighter-bodied reds. It strikes the perfect balance, regulating acidity and alcohol suppression while highlighting sweetness.
As Burgundy is a fuller-bodied wine, a fuller bowl accentuates its acidity and intensity. A larger surface area allows the ethanol to more readily evaporate while the wider opening provides a smoother taste.
The more tapered shape of the Cabernet Sauvignon glass allows the wine to flow to the center of the tongue, which naturally moderates acidity. Overall, the design of each red-wineglass variety also serves to mitigate the bitterness of tannins, delivering a smoother taste when paired properly.
The slightly flared shape and short bowl of the rosé glass direct the wine to the tip of the tongue, playing up the dry, tart flavor of pink wine. It also emphasizes fruitiness while reducing acidity.
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.
The flute enhances the bouquet of sparkling wine. A glass with a more elongated stem will also regulate temperature, keeping the wine cool.
Port is a high-alcohol wine. The shorter shape of a dessert wineglass possesses a narrow mouth that reduces evaporation.
If you have a specific type of wine you consistently enjoy, invest in the proper accessories. Your palate will thank you.
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