It's National Wine Day today (and I thought National Donut Day was a beautiful thing!), so to celebrate I asked Marissa A. Ross, wine columnist for Bon Appetit and author of the upcoming book WINE. all the time (also the name of her popular blog), to give me a little help with something. Her book is a guide to wine (obviously) but her writing style is easy, funny, and very accessible for someone like me, who has no interest in being a connoisseur but would like to be able to choose a decent bottle and know what wine to serve, when. And, key to this piece--in what glass!? After losing various champagne flutes (the year the Seahawks won the Super Bowl!) and special wine glasses to overexuberant gesturing, I now serve all wine in little Italian style glasses, but they're getting kind of beat up, and it's time for a change.
But what to buy? When I look on our own Amazon site, there are over 12,000 choices under wine glasses (including some shatterproof ones that look better than anything I've got now). So before I go on a glass buying binge (and oh, I could, just looking at the first few pages of lovely glasses just waiting to be filled...) and then freak out when I have nowhere to put them, I'm going to keep firmly in mind Ross' advice in the exclusive Amazon Book Review piece below.
In the practice commonly known as “adulting,” there comes a time when you will begin to contemplate if you need wine glasses. Like actual wine glasses, not the menagerie of mason jars and stray souvenir cups from previous roommates you use for everything. Perhaps you will find yourself at Crate & Barrel, staring at seemingly dozens of different styles of wine glasses, wondering: Do I really need a set of each? Or will eight Pinot Noir glasses work, even though I also drink a lot of Sauvignon Blanc? Why are there so many?!
While the shapes may seem similar, different glasses are designed to enhance individual wines’ aromas and tastes. White wine glasses typically have a smaller bowl to elevate aromas and to keep the wine cooler. Red wine glasses have larger bowls to let ethanol burn off and give you more pure aromas of the wine, while also giving the wine more space to breathe and inevitably taste smoother. But do you actually need different wine glasses to enjoy different types of wine?
Nope! While there is some science to how a glass’s shape can affect a wine, the difference a glass makes is usually so slight that it isn’t worth it for casual consumers or even wine professionals to bother with specific glasses. Whether I’m tasting at my local shop, drinking at my favorite bar, or serving in my own home, we all use one standard glass rather than fussing with finding “the right” wine glass. Reds, whites, and sparkling wines can all be served out of a standard glass. What glass you choose is entirely up to you, but you want glasses that have a bowl that is wider than the rim of the glass, and definitely has stems. Stemless glassware is chic for sure, but they’re not ideal for a standard one-size-fits-all set because your hands warm the wine while drinking out of them. And who likes a hot glass of Pinot Grigio? Literally no one. Not even your mother-in-law.
Not to mention, logistically, having multiple sets of wine glasses is a nightmare. Take it from me, the person who walked out of that Crate & Barrel with four different sets of wine glasses: Do not buy four different sets of wine glasses. In one year’s time you will be left with one red wine glass, two white wine glasses, and one half of a Champagne flute. It became annoying, and expensive, to keep up with all the different glasses that would inevitably break. Because even when you think you’re “adulting,” the likelihood of someone breaking your wine glasses is pretty damn high. I know, I see you, thinking the day will come when everyone just grows up and stops breaking your shit, but no. It doesn’t. Also, shit just breaks. You’ll be gingerly handwashing a vintage Sauterne glass and it will snap in your hands and leave you feeling like Lenny from Mice & Men. It’s not your fault. This is life, and your glasses will never last.
But what does last are the beautiful evenings you have with good wine and good company. So yes, Adult who is Adulting, get yourself some god damn glasses. With stems! But also, don’t worry too much about it. Regardless of whether you’re serving out of the most perfect vintage Etsy Champagne coupes or Solo cups, the only thing that really matters is that you’re enjoying yourself and your wine.