Wine & Glass pairing: Do specific wine glasses make a difference?
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The theory behind varietal-specific wine glasses is that the taste buds on particular zones of the tongue can distinguish four main tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. This “tongue map” dates back to research by a German scientist in 1901. The original idea is that the shape of the glass directs the wine to hit one of these four zones when you sip, enhancing the wine. Over the last decade or so, an abundance of wine glass shapes has hit the scene that range from basic and inexpensive to elaborate and exorbitant. Though there are advocates and skeptics of the glassware, scientists have basically discarded the tongue map. Our sense of taste and smell are far more sophisticated than previously thought.
Yes, wines glasses have different shapes and sizes. Most are machine manufactured, however there are also expensive hand-blown lead crystal glasses. Yes, you can drink Merlot from a Sauvignon Blanc glass, but the first rule is to always choose wine you enjoy. It is up to you what you drink it from. Play around with different glasses of various types and shapes and see if they enhance or detract from your experience. After all, it is your own personal experience that matters most.
Nevertheless, certain wine glasses perform better than others. Most people agree that a larger bowl allows more aromas to escape into our nose and a smaller glass, one that tapers, tends to restrict, yet consolidate, those aromas.
Whether your wine is red, white, rose, sparkling or fortified, aromas play a pivotal role in its overall character. The smaller the bowl, the harder it is for all of those aromas to escape. Larger bowls allow for more oxygen to come in contact with the wine. They also lend themselves towards an easier swirl, which not only looks cool, when executed properly, will aerate the wine, and help it open up.
Over the last century, glasses have been designed for just about every major grape variety. Each wine style has specific characters in terms of acidity, fruit expression, tannin and alcohol, and the different glass shapes intensify or mellow those attributes. If your goal is to build a stellar collection, this is a fun route to travel. However, you can stick with a standard Cabernet, or red, wine glass for all red wines, and a Chardonnay glass for white wines, and not lose out on the intricacies of the wine. If you seek variety-specific glasses, check the guide to different wine glasses and explore our advice on how to choose the right glass for each Midalidare wine.
Photos: The Gourmet House and Riedel
Note: Different brands wine glasses comes in different shapes and volumes