Buying Wine Glasses: Stemware Matters

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Does the type of glass I drink wine in matter?

Buying Wine Glasses: Stemware Matters

Believe it or not, the wine glass you use has an impact on how much you enjoy your wine. Even average wines taste more elegant and refined when served in suitable stemware. And the finest wines seem to be missing something if served in a cup. The International Organization for Standardization (IOS) has recognized a particular shape that is the accepted benchmark for wine glasses at all wine judging and competitions. It is also suitable for the average wine drinker as an all around, every day glass. Wine glasses should be made of: - transparent, colorless glass - a lead content of up to 9 percent - it should be just under 6 inches (155 mm) tall - have a 2-inch (5 cm) tall stem and a 4-inch (100 mm) tall bowl - it should be about 2.5 inches (65 mm) at its widest diameter - it should be 2 inches (46 mm) across the rim Experts consider a great wine glass to be plain, colorless, tulip-shaped, with a stem, very thin lip, and made of crystal. Of the two most common wine glass shapes, experts say the "tulip" does a better job than the "balloon." A glass designed for drinking wine has specific properties designed to enhance the sensory experience. That's right, as you sip your glass, something you've done a million times in your life, you may have no idea about the inner workings of your stemware as you taste your beverage. Here is how your wine glass is interacting with your wine, perhaps unbeknownst to you: The shape of the bowl is the most important feature of any wine glass. It should be curved and smooth on the inside so it does not inhibit swirling. It should also taper inward slightly towards the rim. This keeps the wine's smells focused towards the nose and somewhat prevents them from escaping into the atmosphere. The tulip shape to your glass allows for the concentration and collection of a wine's aroma. If you chose a crystal glass, its rougher surface helps wine release its aromas as you drink. The stem allows you to hold the glass without warming the wine with your body heat. A thin, properly shaped lip directs the flow of the wine into your mouth in such a way that the smooth stream touches the most sensitive areas of the tongue. You do not want thick-rimmed wine glasses because they accentuate a wine's flaws, particularly any harsh acidity and bitterness. A respectable arsenal of stemware includes four glasses: a general-purpose white wine glass, two types of red wine glasses (commonly called Bordeaux and Burgundy) and a champagne flute.



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