People are passionate about wine, and opinions can be as fierce as they are varied. The simple question of red versus white can split a dinner table along party lines.
For those who do enjoy a glass of white, some questions have reliable answers backed by either science or a lot of tasting. Here is what we know about the optimum glass to enjoy your white wine.
Why are White Wine Glasses Different Than Red?
We won’t even touch on how to pick a wine in this post, but once you’ve opened your chosen bottle, several outside factors can affect your experience. Each of these can be influenced by the size and shape of the glass in your hand.
When wines are bottled, they’re cut off from air until that bottle is opened. For many wines, particularly strong reds, this can lead to an intense alcohol smell caused by the ethanol in the wine. Aerating the wine allows this initial harsh smell to disperse, so you can enjoy more of the subtle scents and flavors that are otherwise masked. Swirling wine around the bowl of a glass helps this process.
White wines don’t generally have this issue, which is why they usually don’t require much (if any) aeration before drinking. Therefore, the wide bowl of a red wine glass doesn’t offer any benefit to a glass of white wine.
White wines taste best when served slightly chilled. Debate rages on the perfect temperature for each specific wine based on its characteristics, but the best flavor is commonly thought to occur between 40 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your wine will begin to warm toward room temperature as soon as you pour it into your glass. Thus, having a smaller glass leads to more frequent fresh pours from a chilled bottle, and more of your wine being enjoyed at the perfect temperature range.
Wine glasses are much larger than a pour, so what is all that extra space at the top used for? Aroma. White wine glasses should be shaped like a tulip, with not quite straight sides tapering up from the bowl to the rim. This tapering provides space for the scent of the wine to gather and intensify, so you can enjoy the full aroma as you take a sip. Taste and smell are interwoven so tightly in our human experience, that the aroma of a good wine provides a large portion of its perceived flavor.
We hope this helps to de-mystify why white wine glasses are different than red. And helped you appreciate the delicate contours of your favorite glass.
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments, below, or if you disagree with any of our points. Wine begets passion and we'd love to hear what you think!