Big Glass, Little Wine

“How come I only got this much wine in this big glass?”

We didn’t cheat you… honest.

Wine glasses come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While some glasses certainly are stylish, they are not designed entirely for looks. Most wine glasses can best be described in four parts: the foot, stem, bowl and rim.

The foot, of course, keeps the glass from tipping over… duh…, but it also can provide a good way to grip the glass securely so that you can clearly see the color and density of the wine you are drinking. Some wine tasters use the foot to stable the glass securely to the table surface as they swirl the wine to see the color and introduce more air into it.

The stem holds the glass up; not only so that you can see the wine, but so that by holding it here, the warmth of your hand doesn’t change the temperature of the wine, affecting its flavor

The bowl is where you could feel cheated if you didn’t understand. Many people simply over-fill their glasses. So much of wine drinking is in the nose. What our nose smells has tremendous impact on what we taste. (If you haven’t already, read our post on The Wine Tasting Dance) Filling the glass only to the widest part of the bowl increases the surface area of the wine, allowing air to release the most fragrance. The narrowing of the bowl toward the rim helps to trap those smells so that you can more fully breathe in the scents.

The rim determines how the wine pours onto your tongue and the way the wine is distributed in your mouth. The narrower rim concentrates the initial flavor on the middle of the tongue while a wider rim allows it to pour over a larger area. Each one will change the way a wine tastes.

The next time you’re sipping, note the glass and how it affects the wine. If you’re pouring at home, go ahead: experiment with different glasses to see how it changes the way the wine tastes!

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