Here’s a little secret….the best investment a wine drinker can make has nothing to do with ’09 Bordeaux futures or loading up on cultish Napa Cabernets. The real trick is to get a good set of wine glasses. With subpar glasses, a $15 bottle of wine will taste like it cost $5. With the right kind of glasses, that same $15 bottle of wine will taste like it cost $30. The difference isn’t psychological, either.
I bring you the 4 steps for finding the best glasses for you:
1. Choose Glasses With Room To Breathe
Much of a wine’s appeal comes from its aromatic profile, or “nose.” This is because 75% to 90% of the perception of taste is smell. (It’s for the same reason that cologne is wine’s nemesis. Stay tuned for my future article concerning that). Thus, if you want to exploit a wine’s aromas, you need to enjoy your bounty from a large vessel that exposes more of the juice’s surface area to oxygen…and to your nose. Another benefit of a bulbous glass is the freedom it gives you to swirl the wine, rotating its surface area and offering continuously unfolding aromas.
2. Stay Away From Trendy, Gaudy, Or Gimmicky Models
tend to add to the price, while distracting from the wine. I recommend a simple-but-large 22-oz. glass, which will allow a 4-oz. pour to be swirled. Clear glass is best, as colored glass hides the appearance of the wine. When you go to the store, you may encounter an endless array of shapes; stick with the ones named “Bordeaux” or “Burgundy,” as they are universal for enjoying various types of vino. Don’t go with a stem-less glass because the heat of your paws on the bulb will warm the wine. There is also a greater chance for slippage and breakage when holding a glass with condensation.
3. Don’t Invest In Something Too Expensive
After all, your glasses are eventually going to break, and the sound of that shatter is far more traumatic when it represents a $50 bill that just vanished into thin air. Good glasses don’t require a huge output of money. To keep your investment affordable, choose a brand that offers both quality and value. I like producers such as Ravenscroft, Spigelau, and Schott, as they offer appropriate crystal glasses that sell for under $15 per stem. Compare prices online, but always buy your glasses from your local retailer, where you can inspect the merchandise for chips and other flaws.
4. Care For Your Ware
To avoid chipping, store your glasses in a cabinet exclusive to them. Never leave dirty or partially full glasses standing in the sink, where they become potential clumsiness casualties. And, although most are dishwasher-safe, it’s probably a better bet to hand wash your beautiful new glasses—it increases their likelihood of becoming beautiful “old” glasses one day.