I love having an assortment of stemware for different varietals of wine and believe it or not, there are good reasons for why wine glasses come in all shapes and sizes.
Of course it takes time to build up a cabinet full of different wine glasses. I always recommend that people have some larger oval glasses for red wine, a smaller, narrow glass for white wine and champagne flutes. As you get ready to add more glasses, here are tips for choosing the right stemware.
Flute: A tall narrow glass used for serving sparkling wine. The limited and smaller surface area exposed to the air means longer lasting bubbles. This glass is meant to be filled to the top.
Crisp White Wine Glass: A narrow glass with a smaller opening used to serve wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The smaller opening enhances the bright flavors and crisp acidity of these wines. Fill this wine glass about a third full.
Full-Bodied White Wine Glass: With a slightly larger bowl than crisp white wine glasses, full-bodied white wine glasses allow more air to interact with the wine bringing out aromas. However, these glasses still have smaller openings than red wine glasses. These glasses are used for serving Chardonnay, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and White Burgundy. This type of white wine glass should also be filled about a third full.
Burgundy Glass: As with all red wine glasses, the opening is slightly larger to allow more air to interact with the wine. Some red burgundy glasses also have a flare at the rim to allow the wine to spread onto the tongue more. Red Burgundy and Pinot Noir are served in these glasses. Pour up to a third full.
Bordeaux or Full-Bodied Red Wine Glass: A big hearty wine glass with a wide opening to allow air to interact with the red wine. This is a very popular, widely used wine glass for Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Syrah & Shiraz. Pour around a third full.
Dessert Wine Glass: Since dessert wines are sweet and very aromatic, they do not need a wide opening to enhance the aromas. These glasses are smaller than other wine glasses and are typically filled about two-thirds full.