Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to choose a wine glass

Coming to live in France some people can feel a bit intimidated when it comes to choosing a wine for a dinner or even when choosing a glass for serving the chosen wine.  Living in France, I discovered that wine is a very important part of everyday life and French culture. 

If like me, when I just arrived here, you are wondering what type of glass you should present at your table for your chosen wine; I can give you a few hints to avoid a mayor faux pas. 

Most wine connoisseurs agree that a wine glass should be made of crystal.  The transparent crystal should be thin and without too much ornament in order to let the wine lover appreciate the contents of the glass in all its senses.  In some parts of rural France you will see short Champagne-shaped glasses in porcelain; these are meant to be for coffee, NOT for wine.  To be on the safe side, make sure your wine glasses are of transparent crystal. 

A wine glass should have a stand for easy manipulation when wine tasting.  I have seen wine glasses with no stands, I suggest you don’t try to be too avant-garde and avoid those glasses, at least when you are in France.     

White wines are easier to accommodate to any shape of glass due to their qualities.  Red wines can be more complicated depending on their body.  In France different regions have created special wine glasses for their wines.  The most popular are:

  • The wide “ballooned” wine glass for wines from the Bourgogne region, because the wine from Bourgogne should “roll” freely in the glass to be tasted at its best. 
  • The smallish wine glass shaped as an egg, for wines from the Bordeaux region.
  • Very tall wine glasses come from the Alsace region.
  • Flutes are reserved for the Champagne region.

How to choose a wine glass

    An advantage of knowing what type of glass goes with which wine is that if you are served a glass of wine without seeing the bottle, you can at least start locating the wine as being a Bourgogne or Bordeaux. 

    Remember that a wine glass should never be filled all the way up.  The ideal is to fill it up a little bit more than half the way, that is, leaving a third of the glass empty to leave space for the wine to develop. 

    My selection of best wine gifts under $25 for wine lovers


    1. I think that's a pretty comprehensive "wine glasses for dummies" there Princessa! I expect the French are a lot more fussy about serving the correct wine in the right glass than we are over here.

    2. I never would have known any of this Wendy! This is a good guide for people who are just learning about the subject.