How Important is Stemware for Wine Tasting?

wine questions and queries

Wine Questions Answered

By Paul Howard

Q: How important, in your opinion, is choosing the correct stemware for tasting your wine? Are we talking majorly important or is it time to bust another wine myth?
Tina Scales, Shadwell

empty wine glass

A: Glasses are important given they are the vessel that has to communicate the wine to your senses, but common sense should prevail. I prefer plain, uncoloured, undecorated and uncut glass to see the wine clearly. It should taper in to leave a headspace for aroma to collect, with a stem to allow easy swirling and a large enough bowl to give the wine a chance to develop in the glass. An ISO tasting glass is one inexpensive example.

Many prefer the additional sensuality and appearance of very thin plain crystal but these are easily broken. Purists often match glass shapes to grape varieties and there is a demonstrable correlation – doubters should compare how the same champagne drunk from a flute glass is clearly superior to that from a coupe. Hence many glass manufacturers now offer vast and often expensive glass ranges. But unless you are obsessive, have a large bank balance and a lot of storage capacity then well chosen glasses for red, white and sparkling will usually suffice. Take a look at those made from Kwarx, a new material that is hard to break.

Q: Paul – do you ever just fancy a pint?
Eric, via email

A: Eric – of course! As an incentive at the end of a good walk in the Yorkshire Dales or to refresh after spending a long day wine judging, these are just two examples of occasions when only beer will do. And beer can be matched to food too…


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