A Guide to Wine Glasses - Reds
Updated: Jun 16
Picture this - Ontario has just reopening and after spending hours waiting in line you’re leisurely walking through Home Sense and you get to the glassware section… They’ve got such a beautiful selection of wine glasses but which set do you choose for the bottle of red that you chose for your (long overdue) girls' night in?
The first thing you need to know is that all wine glasses aren't created equal and for the best wine tasting experience you'll want to reach for the right glass style!
Today, let us teach you about the benefits of wine-specific glasses for red wines.
We'll start with the basics - the anatomy of a wine glass.
There’s no test at the end of this but if there was you would ace it since a wine glass is made up of only four parts. While you can probably name them they all serve a pretty important purpose.
Starting from the bottom is the base. The base gives the glass stability and typically it elongates into the stem which is where the glass is meant to be held in order to keep the wine from changing temperatures as a result of body heat.
The stem is then connected to the bowl of the wine glass. Another reason for holding the wine glass at the stem is to ensure that no fingerprints are left behind on the bowl. The bowl is the largest part of the wine glass, large enough for the wine glass to be swirled comfortably without any risk of spilling. The bowl of the glass narrows as we move up the glass towards the rim.
The rim is the uppermost part of the glass, it is preferably the thinnest area of the glass. This narrowing focuses on the aromas of the wine typically found in red wine glasses. You’ll notice that with white, the glasses are typically the same or similar width from the bowl to the rim.
Red wine glasses
Red wine glasses all have one thing in common: they all are structured with large bowls that narrow closer to the rim. The heavier the red the larger the bowl to rim ratio.
The Cabernet glass has a wide bowl structure and quickly narrows to the rim ensuring that the aromas are focused into a smaller area. This allows the wine to breathe properly which intensifies the aromas and flavours. While you might be tempted to overpour by the size of the glass it is important that you leave room for the wine to breathe within the glass. You’ll want to stop pouring at the largest part of the bowl.
The shape of a burgundy glass allows for the wine to breathe more. This shape also changes where the wine is first tasted, when drinking from this type of glass the wine will first impact the tip of the tongue before the body of the tongue which enhances the taste. This wine glass typically has the largest bowl and rim.
A Bordeaux wine glass is recognizable because it is the tallest of the red wine glasses in size and in body. It also has a more angular bowl shape rather than a rounded bowl. This wine glass has a shorter stem and a longer body with a small body-to-rim ratio. This size allows for the wine to immediately be tasted at the back of one's mouth instead of the tip of the tongue. This glass can also be used while drinking full-bodied young Merlot or Cabernet wines.
A Zinfandel wine glass is more versatile and has an incredibly thin rim. The bowl itself is thicker while still allowing the wine to have space to breathe as the bowl is smaller than that of a Bordeaux or Cabernet but still has a narrowed body.
Lastly in the red category is the glass used for Pinot Noir wines. Most notable about this wine glass is the rim. The rim of this wine glass is turned out from the glass. This directs the smells and flavours directly to the nose and mouth. These glasses also have the largest bowl of any wine glass including those of white wine glasses. This allows the wine to have as much contact with air as possible in order to enhance the aromas and flavours.
So the next time that you’re choosing glasses for your gathering or a date night you can wow your guests with your wine knowledge and how you enhance the flavours of your chosen red!