When I was younger, the idea of having separate glasses for wine was absurd.
My multicultural wine-loving family always used old school bubble-shaped wine glasses that were squat and fit neatly in our tiny kitchen cabinets.
Or we would even use short glass tumblers, aka rocks glasses. After all, we weren’t French for crying out loud.
In our household you needed three different types of cups for tea and coffee because…
One cannot serve Greek coffee in a mug.
You must use a demitasse cup, and when drinking tea, you must have a mug, but when serving a fine cuppa of tea to company, you have to break out the china teacups.
Fast forward to college…
Drinking wine out of a Mason jar was utterly acceptable because we had to go to New Hampshire to get it (the prices were better).
When you’re a student and have very little cash, it was either buying pizza or buying glasses. I chose pizza.
When you’re older and more fabulous, you need real wine glasses.
Please don’t bring me one of those tiny five-ounce wine glasses, either. No, thank you.
So, What Wine Glasses Should I Buy?
To help you decide what wine glasses to buy, I’ve opted for one wine glass to fit any wine-drinking scenario.
I’m not sure if you know this, but there are 18 types of wine glasses! Be thankful we aren’t going that deep.
Now, why do we even need different types of wine glasses?
Well, each wine glass is going to highlight the unique flavor and aroma of the chosen wine.
Let the Types of Wine Glasses Class Begin:
1. The flute. I prefer the coupe. It’s oh so retro and classy. The flute is perfect for sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava, or Prosecco. Its narrow shape gives the bubbles something to grip.
Champagne flutes or coupes cannot be used as a universal wine glass. The way these glasses are shaped give you the best expression of brioche, lemon curd, mandarin, and almond aromas usually found in your favorite sparkler.
2. White wine glass. These are narrower wine glasses, probably the most similar to old school wine glasses. These usually hold 10 ounces, but with a standard pour being 5 ounces, it doesn’t give us much room to move.
These glasses are terrible for red wine because they constrict the red wine flavor profile and cause it to taste more tannic or tart. These are best for light white wines like: Pinot Grigio, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. If you’ve got an oaked Chardonnay or a white Burgundy, you’re going to want a glass with a more significant bowl base.
3. Rosé wine glass. These are a little bigger and allow the flavor profile of rosé to expand. Since rosé is more like red wine in flavor profile, this type of glass can also showcase spicier red wines well like Syrah, Zinfandel, Malbec, or Sangiovese.
4. Burgundy wine glass. These are big tulip-shaped bowl glasses that your face fits in. They are perfect for capturing the aromas of beautiful lighter-bodied floral red wines like Pinot Noir or Burgundy.
5. Cabernet Sauvignon / Bordeaux / Merlot glass. These are the biggest and tallest wine glasses that can easily hold 23 ounces. They will make your standard 5 ounces pour look paltry at best. It’s easy to knock back half a bottle with these types of wine glasses without even blinking an eye.
The beauty of these wine glasses is they let the alcohol evaporate, so your wine doesn’t taste hot.They also enhance the aroma, so you’re getting an optimal sensory experience while drinking. You’ll revel in drinking a juicy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or French Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc out of these glasses.
6. Dessert / Fortified / Sherry glass. These glasses perfectly highlight the concentrated aromas of Sauternes, dessert, or fortified dry wines. They’re usually half the size of regular wine glasses and hold about 8 ounces. A standard pour for fortified wines is 3 ounces. Your Grandmother or elderly auntie will appreciate these glasses when she wants a wee nip.
Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I do own 7 types of wine glasses.
Because I have to test everything for you and I’m a wine geek. I own flutes, coupes, universal, Cabernet / Merlot, Burgundy, dessert, and stainless steel wine glasses for travel.
But believe it or not, I mainly use my Bordeaux glasses for everything. These are my go-to. I mean, I love these glasses. They are Luigi Bormioli Atelier Cabernet/ Merlot wine glasses.
They’re 9.5 inches tall and made of lead-free crystal spiked with Titanium. You won’t be able to break these delicate-looking beauties easily.
They are an affordable “universal” wine glass, only $57 for a set of six glasses. These stunners are fabulous as an all-purpose glass and highlight the taste of red, white, and sparkling wine.
Sometimes, I’m pretty clumsy when I’m drinking, and I need a beautiful stable glass that’s going to withstand me slamming it down awkwardly or getting grabby with it.
If you’re only going to buy one set of glasses, make it these and use them for everything.
Cheers to drinking great wine!