Ever been confronted with choosing the right glass
for the right wine? Never fear, as my friend Michael
Sullivan, a sommelier, has a simple guide to follow.
Michael also has tips on how to taste wine in a restaurant,
and to place glasses correctly within any table setting.
When it comes to wine glasses, the design tends to
revolve around how much of the bouquet, or aroma, the
wine emits. The bowl of a white wine glass should be
medium-sized and tapered at the top to help focus aromas
inward towards the nose. A simple design, this glass
can be used for many different whites, from Sauvignon
Blanc to Chardonnay.
Red wine glasses should have a slightly larger, rounder
bowl than white wine glasses. With sloped shoulders,
these glasses have a broad opening at the top, allowing
the flavours to release in large red wines such as a
Shiraz. For a more delicate Pinot Noir the glass should
have a very large bowl at the bottom and a narrow chimney
Dessert wine glasses tend to be delicate, tiny, and
tapered inwards at the rim and can be used for port,
or sherry and ice wine.
In terms of positioning glassware for your table setting,
the water glass is always the anchor, and is always
placed just above the knife. Depending on how large
your table is, you can run each glass on a 45-degree
angle off of the water glass in the order with which
you’re going to serve your meal.
For example, if you’re starting your meal with
champagne, place that down first, followed by a white
glass for your first course, and then a red one. If
your table isn’t that large, you can run them
in a square or diamond fashion, again off of the knife.
If you don’t have all the different types of glasses,
fear not as some serve a dual-purpose and won’t
let either red or white suffer in the glass.
Finally, when you’re a guest at a dinner party
and you find yourself confounded by all the glasses
just follow the lead of your host.
When tasting wine hold the glass by the stem, so as
not to affect its temperature with the warmth of your
hand. Tilt the glass and look at the colour. If it’s
cloudy chances are there is something wrong with the
Swirl the glass before taking in the wine's bouquet
and that anticipated first sip. Allow the wine to cascade
over all of your taste buds so you can take in all of
the wine's characteristics. It’s as simple as
tilt, sniff, swirl and taste!