Does the glass you drink from really matter when it comes to wine? The short answer is yes, but not in the way you might think...
The shape of your glass – the size of the rim versus the size of the bowl, where and how you hold it, the height from bowl to rim, even how full it is – profoundly affects how you experience the liquid inside.
It does this by gathering or dispersing aromas around the rim, allowing the liquid minimal or maximum contact with fresh, oxygenated air and most of all, by determining how far back you tilt your head to sip from it: the further back you tilt, the further back in your palate it's delivered.
When it comes to wine, this can mean many things: the wide, old-school champagne coupe is perfect for sweet sparkling wines as it allows the bubbles to disperse quickly, which makes the wines taste softer and fruitier.
Champagne flutes are designed to rocket-power your bubbles and pair perfectly with dry, brut sparkling wines.
The smaller, narrower white wine glass with a longer stem actually delivers white wine to the middle palate first, putting the fruit flavours at the forefront of your drinking experience.
Larger, deeper bowls are perfect for swirling red wine, drawing oxygen into the wine, allowing more complex aromas and flavours to develop. Most wine glasses have a smaller rim to base ratio to trap aromas at the rim for your enjoyment.
But this isn't the whole story. To truly understand the evolution of the wine glass, all you have to imagine is a candle-lit dinner.
Over the years the glassware we use has been developed as much to improve the experience of drinking wine as it has to improve the aesthetic and practical experience of having it on the table.
Stems aren't just to help keep wines at room temperature while you hold them, they're also just high enough to catch the flickering light of the candles and make tiny rainbows at the rim as it curves inwards. The sharper the cut (why antique crystal looks more like a jeweller's work than a glazier's) and the finer the glass, the bigger the light show. You can imagine how much entertainment that provided 350 years before television.
That's why, when it comes to the perfect wine glass, it's less about the shape and more about the quality of the glass and your experience with it.
The TOPS at SPAR Wine Show is proud to announce that it is partnering with Core Catering again this year to deliver a world-class WINEderland experience, with their elegant, durable, designed-to-bring-the-best-out-of-any liquid glass range which will be available to purchase at the show.
Join us at the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show presented by the Cape Times, from 12 to 14 July at Sun Exhibits, GrandWest.