Reidel Vinum wine glasses (left to right) Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, and Reisling Grand Cru wine glasses. / David Baratz/USA WEEKEND
With wine consumption per person on the rise in the USA, “red or white?” is no longer the question. Instead ask, “Which glass?”
The shape of the glass can have a big effect on taste, says Laura Maniec, master sommelier and co-founder of Corkbuzz wine bar in New York City. “We did a mini-case study. They were just amazed at the differences.”
Maximilian Riedel, CEO of Riedel Crystal North America, leads wine glass tastings. The depth of the bowl and the curve of the rim change the amount of air exposure and and directs the flow of wine onto the tongue to enhance or mute flavors, he says.
“I soon realized the glasses make a difference. It also makes a difference with water and soda. The shape of the glass enhances the aromas and flavors,” Riedel says.
Before your next pour:
Begin with the basics. White wine, Bordeaux (narrow opening), Burgundy (rounder and fuller) and champagne are the four types you need, Maniec says. “Having a Burgundy glass and a Bordeaux glass is absolutely necessary. [Otherwise], the look and the feel of the wine aren’t showcased at its best.”
Quality over quantity. People often buy eight to 12 glasses of one style; two glasses of any type is fine for most people, Riedel says. If you entertain a lot, you can expand based on the wines you prefer to drink. And don’t overspend: A good rule of thumb is spend as much per glass as you would for the bottle you’re drinking.
Start a tasting group. The best wine is shared. Experts agree an affordable and fun way to start is a tasting group with friends. Says Maniec: “You can discover different types of wine without wasting all this money.”