Making the most of a tasting experience with engraved crystal wine glasses

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Matching the correct bottle of wine to the best glass for maximum enjoyment has become a bit of an art for some wine experts. Taste tests have shown that certain wines are definitely improved if served in a glass compatible with its tasting notes, while studies using various types of glasses for the same wine bring very different results. Nonetheless, nearly all sommeliers and wine experts agree that nothing can beat engraved crystal wine glasses as the perfect wine drinking vessels.

A more complete wine tasting experience

Crystal adds something to the nature of wine tasting that ordinary glass does not. Whether it is the light refraction properties of engraved crystal wine glasses, or the weighty feel of a lead crystal, or the thinness that can be attained from crystal as opposed to glass. Maybe it is a combination of all three, but one thing is clear – crystal is usually favoured over glass by connoisseurs the world over, as giving a more complete and satisfying tasting experience.

The shape of the glass

All stemmed wine glasses have the same features, though size and shape will differ according to each type of wine being tasted. The foot upon which the glass stands will only vary by size and have no effect on taste. The stem, again, will vary in length, but is important for holding the wine without touching the glass and affecting the wine’s temperature, or leaving fingerprint marks that will impair the visual enjoyment of wine.

The bowl is the most important part, where shape will determine the taste, aroma and clarity of the wine. Finally, when it comes to the rim, it’s a case of the thinner the better for this part of the glass, which is where a fine crystal glass will come into its own over plain everyday glassware.

Best for red wines

Red wines are best served in large bowl wine glasses. The fuller body of a red can be more appreciated with a large round bowl and wide opening, allowing the nose to be dipped into the glass to breathe the aromas. The larger bowl gives a bigger surface area, which is imperative to allow air to reach some of the more complex flavours of a full bodied red.

Slight variations for specific wines include the Bordeaux glass, which is slightly taller with a smaller bowl making it perfect for merlots and cabernets, and the burgundy glass, shorter than the Bordeaux but with a large bowl designed specifically for full-bodied wines like Pinot Noir.

Best for white wines

More U-shaped than the bowl of a red wine glass, the best white wine glasses will also be more upright and straight, with a larger opening at the mouth. Sparkling white wine such as champagne is best savoured from a long-stemmed, tall and narrow flute that allows the glass to retain the bubbles and flavours better.

Enjoying a cabernet sauvignon or Pinot Grigio with friends, or as part of a wine tasting event, can be so much more satisfying with the correct drinkware. If engraved crystal wine glasses are available, always choose them.

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