Much more than just a pretty glass

The different kinds of wine glasses

Hi wine lovers! I’m sure that like me, you guys spend the holiday with the people you love the most. Another thing I like about it is that it’s the start of the gift-giving season. And one of the best accompaniments for the revelry are the unique flavors you’ll find in a bottle of Argentine wine.

Wines with personality

Today, the quality of Argentine wine is better than ever. The unique character of the grapes, the diverse flavors, aromas and textures of the varieties, the gradual aging, the distinctive terroirs of the country, winemaking innovation and sustainable philosophy all come together to produce some of the best wines in the world.

Argentina has over 200 wine grape varieties, including Malbec, Chardonnay, Merlot, Chenin, Syrah, Torrontés and many more. The country’s wine making history dates back 500 years, it is the world’s fifth largest wine producer and the leader in Malbec.

The size and layout of the country also means that it has a range of different terroirs to offer, each with their own climates, soils, altitudes, and rainfall as well as a huge variety of winemaking styles. It all makes for a very tempting package to be uncorked.

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In search of surprises 

While I was looking at the Argentine labels in the wine store (the Cosmic Amber Chardonnay Naranjo from Krontiras y and Asa Nisi Masa Bonarda from Mundo Reves are gorgeous) I started thinking about a gift for dad that was wine related but not actually wine because that’s what he always suggests and I want to surprise him. I thought I might go for some nice glasses because they’d be something that lasts, something he can enjoy in the evening when he’s drinking his red wine and listening to Miles Davis. 

I thought that wine glasses were just decorative, table dressing to give proceedings an air of sophistication (or at least that’s what I thought when I saw Sutton, Jane and Kat clink their lovely glasses on The Bold Type). But I’ve done some research and found that the different kinds of wine glasses come with technical data and different measurements and formats. Spoiler alert: I found my surprise and got myself a pre-Christmas gift too.  

But beforehand, let me tell you why wine is best drunk in a proper glass and share some tips for choosing the right ones.

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The different kinds of wine glasses 

Why is wine best drunk in a wine glass? Simple: so you can enjoy it in all its glory. If you’re hiking in the mountains with friends and opening a bottle with your shoe, then you’ll probably still enjoy the wine; your senses will be plenty stimulated by the surroundings already, but the beauty of a good wine glass is that it helps you to perceive different aspects of the wine. The choice of glass also says something about how interested you are and the experience you’re looking to create: personally, I want to capture as much of the unique magic of every bottle I open as I can. 

The shapes of the different kinds of wine glasses are crucial. The moment one uncorks a bottle, the liquid comes into contact with oxygen and so starts to release its aromas. Which is why the different kinds of glass are important. The “tulip” shape concentrates the aromas and so makes for a very different experience to drinking from an open water glass. 

The stem, meanwhile, is important because it prevents your hand from heating up the wine. 

Finally, it seems that the shape makes us tip our head in a certain way when we drink, ensuring that the liquid hits your palate differently than with an ordinary glass. 

Try it out at home: serve the same wine in an ordinary glass and one designed for wine and pay attention to the different sensations they create in your nose and mouth. 

I did it, because I’m #forevercurious and they seemed like two different drinks entirely! In the ordinary glass I didn’t get any of the different layers of flavor that come out in the wine glass as the minutes pass by. 

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How to choose your first set of wine glasses 

Let’s focus for now on the glasses you’re going to use everyday – even when you’re alone – because you want to make it into an everyday ritual. And from what I’ve seen online, there are sets for every taste and budget.

For a beginner, it’s good to know that different kinds of glass go well with different kinds of wine: some stemless glasses are good and affordable, and there are some large double-tempered glasses that offer strength and durability. At higher levels of expertise, you need to start thinking ergonomically: how the shape suits its use. 

A wine’s expression changes depending on the glass you use – some international brands even offer a different glass for each grape – but it’s easier to choose an intermediate model suitable for reds and whites. Die-hards and experts probably need to invest in something super-special to ensure they have the right equipment to enjoy each bottle.  

I chose the latter course: picking a pack of four from what I was told was the best brand, each for a different kind of wine, and for myself a pair of universal large glasses that I’m planning on debuting with Coquena Torrontés from the Calchaquí Valley, a high-altitude wine from the northwest of Argentina. 

I bought the bottle a few days ago, thinking of the holidays and because Argentine wineries are always a safe bet. 

And it’s also important to take care of them: although the different kinds of wine glasses are dishwasher safe, it’s best to wash them by hand and dry them with a clean cotton cloth. 

I’ll finish with a little homework assignment: if you have friends or family who aren’t wine lovers yet, ask them to try your favorite wine in a good glass.

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If you’re not sure which to choose, let me share some tips from my maestro: More tips from my wine guru, Lesson II

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