Just as darkened cinemas flatter movies by focusing our attention on the bright screen and sound effect, stemmed glasses with large bowls flatter wines by focusing our attention on their aromas.
Wine glass anatomy
Most glasses like tumblers are designed for efficiency and convenience and are filled to capacity. Wine glasses are not; they are designed to please your nose. There are all sorts of glasses, made for specific sort of wine. But a single multi purposes wine glass is all you need to enjoy everything from Prosecco to Port.
Stemware consists of three parts: the bowl, stem and base.
The height of the stem and the width of the base are part of the glass design (known as the architecture).
The specific stemware features finally – tuned glass bowls consisting of three variables: shape, size and rim diameter.
There are 4 sensations in wine
Bouquet: The layers of smells and aromas perceived in a wine.
Texture: a wine composition, that is determined by all wines’ component including water, alcohol, tannin, acid sugars, etc. It’s these components that give wine structure and texture, and it’s the way they make our mouths feel that we attempt to describe.
Flavour (or Body): The sense of alcohol in the wine and the sense of feeling in the mouth.
Finish: The sense and perception of the wine after swallowing.
Architecture of Stemware
Is determined by three parts: Bowl, Stem, Base. The design (architecture or construction) of a stemmed glass has to relate harmoniously in size, height and width. The size of the bowl has to correspond and synchronise with the height of the stem and the width with the base. The relationship of these measurements determines the seamless proportion of these three parts.
Wine glasses are designed to hold 120-160 ml (4-6oz) of wine. As a rule they should not be filled more than halfway, or above the widest portion of the bowl, to maximize the impact of the wine’s aroma. As a result, 220-280 ml (8-10 oz) glasses are ideal.
Bowl: Wine glasses should feature large bowls that narrow at the top to concentrate the wine’s aromas.
Stem: The stem of the wine glass serves as a handle, designed to keep your fingers off the bowl. Body heat is easily transferred, and wine’s flavour change greatly with even small shifts in temperature.
Base: you need to put your glass down comfortably.
Wine glasses are unusual in that their component parts are designed more for smelling rather than for drinking.
Choose the right size
White wines are often served in smaller glasses than reds because they smell milder. Their pleasing scent can seem weak when there is too much headspace (the part of wine glass that remains empty when filled with wine). Conversely, red wines can smell too strong in too small glasses, since they contain more aroma compounds. Therefore, when using one all purpose glass, compensate by filling it higher for whites and lover for reds.
Why decant wines?
How will decanting enhance wine experience?
Many premium wines that are designed to improve with age will benefit from being removed from their bottles before being served.
There are two reasons for which we decant wines:
- Decant older wines to separate it from its sediment
- Decant younger wines to increase oxygenation, reveal more complexity, and open up aromas and flavours
To fully enjoy young wines (up to 10 years for white and red) consider opening them 8- 10 hours prior consumption for oxidization or decant the wines or decant the wines as this shortness the aeration process.
The main preserving element in wine is carbon dioxide, which becomes part of wine during the first fermentation
Decanting diminishes the amount of carbon dioxide and matures the wine , allowing the bouquet to develop faster.
On the palate, decanted wine expresses higher levels of fruit in red wines and tends to integrate and smooth out tannins.
When decanting young wines, turn the bottle upside down and let it splash into the decanter to allow effective oxygenation
When decanting off the sediment out of old wines, pour the wine slowly into the decanter to avoid any sediment entering the decanter
You can allow your guest do its own experiment. Pour the decanted wine into one glass and the un-decanted wine it to the same second glass. Allow your guest to draw her conclusion.
Read more of our insights on wine and wine glasses in: Confessions of a wine glass lover.