By John ~ February 1st, 2008.
For the best possible wine tasting experience, you want a glass that is large enough so that half-filled it holds a standard serving of wine (1/5 bottle or 150 ml). That means at least a 10 oz. glass, or larger if you prefer. You never want to fill a wine glass more than half-full (1/3 full is even better when you are evaluating wines) because you want to be able the swirl the glass gently without spilling any wine.
A tasting glass should be clear, uncolored, stemmed, and tulip-shaped (meaning a larger bowl than top rim). They call these glasses stemware because they should be held in your fingers by the stem, so your hand does not touch the bowl and affect the temperature of the wine in the glass. Most important, all glasses used in a tasting should be identical.
If you plan to host wine tasting dinners, we would recommend that you buy a couple cases of Viticole Tasting Glasses made to INAO standards. They are good all-purpose glasses, reasonably priced, and dishwasher safe ($3.00-$3.50 per stem from Marjorie Lumm Glassware, #9910 in her catalog). Two cases will allow for eight tasters to taste six wines each without having to wash any glasses.
Because wine glasses can pick up odors from their surroundings, stemware should be carefully cleaned and stored. Non-perfumed detergents should be used. Once the glasses have been cleaned and dried, it is preferable to store them upright to limit odor contamination on the inside of the glass, although hanging glasses upside down can make it easier to pick up a glass without getting fingerprints on the bowl.
If you have some truly collectible wines, you might consider buying a few Riedel crystal glasses. After all, if you can afford a $400+ bottle of wine, what’s another $75 for the ultimate wine tasting experience?
While Riedel will be happy to sell you a different expensive crystal glass for almost every wine type, in the typical wine-consuming home you can get by just fine with just two glasses per person, a flute for sparkling wines and one large all-purpose wine glass for everything without bubbles.
Filed under: General Wine Information, Wine Gifts/Accessories