A GLASS FOR EVERY WINE
It is often chosen randomly, or just because it looks good, possibly from the shelf where you keep that fine china you seldom use. Yet, the glass is not just a mere decoration for your table or simply something you use for a toast with friends. The glass is a fundamental tool that can enhance the taste of the wine you drink. Just as every occasion requires a certain outfit, there is a right glass for every wine. Carelessly choosing the wrong glass is the same as going to a job interview in a pyjamas, climbing in a suit and tie, and go to bed with technical clothing on. After this short preamble, let us get deeper into the matter.
- The cleaning of the glass
Oenology sacred books demand that the glass be hand-washed with neutral soap. I do agree, but only party. Too much rinse agent may end up ruining future wine tastings, while washing your glasses in the dishwasher along with the dishes you used to eat carbonara will make your wine smell like egg. In short, using the dishwasher is fine, but a little caution is necessary. In the case of very delicate, possibly hand-mand glasses, however, this is no longer true. These kind of glasses must be necessarily hand-washed to avoid partial damaging or even breaking.
- Dust and humidity
Just a little piece of advice: while you are setting the table, sniff the glasses. If you have been keeping them in boxes down in your basement or cellar since 1918, they may be clean, but they may also have an unpleasant smell. The best thing would thus be to wash them before using them again.
- How to dry a glass
Safety rule: the stem of wine glasses is very fragile, especially if it has been washed in warm water, so avoid pressing too hard on it while wiping it dry as it may shatter.
- The flute
This par excellence glass for sparkling wines comes in a variety of sizes and shapes. If you want to serve a fresh, delicate, not very textured wine, the classic flute is perfect, even though a slightly narrower one would be better. On the other hand, a larger flute is best when serving wines with more complex texture and longer ageing, as such a shape will enhance olfactory tasting. Consider for example a product with 10 years of yeast maceration, which will for sure possess great complexity. Serving a similar wine in a tiny, narrow glass will make it impossible to grasp all its precious hints; in other, somewhat less technical words, you could also say: "Phenomenal cosmic power, itty bity living space" (The Genie, Aladdin, 1992, Disney).
- Glass for "white" wines
Its peculiar shape makes it a hybrid, with a larger bowl and a narrower top. It can be used for fresh white wines and young, fruited red wines that have delicate hints.
- Glass for aromatic wines
Its tulip shape makes it easy to grasp the particularly complex bouquets of aromatic wines.
The name says it all. A tall glass with a broad bowl that is perfect for Burgundy wines, red and white alike, from Pinot Noirs to Chardonnays of great texture. In this case too, several shapes and sizes exist that should be chosen according to the wine's texture and ageing.
They are narrower than Burgundy glasses. They are meant for red wines of great texture, with marked hints, where woody notes and spices are predominant.
- Glasses for sweet wines
Once again, the glass's narrow top allows delicate hints to be grasped more easily.
- Historical glass
The "gotto" or "ombra. It is probably the least adequate for a sophisticated wine tasting session. Yet, albeit not elegant nor nice to look at, it can take your mind back to good old days of fun, simplicity and belonging, especially while drinking in a rural restaurant like a maso or a trattoria, or in Venice's typical bacaros.
I would like to conclude this short explanation of wine glasses with a quick game: take one of your wines and pour it into different glasses, even into the Nutella jar if you want. Now, try to grasp the different smells and to taste. Would you say it is the same wine?