Does the shape of your glass affect the taste of your wine?

wineglassAs if remembering names of different types of wine wasn’t bad enough, apparently, one also needs to be aware of the kind of glassware to drink each type of wine from. The minds behind this theory believe that the shape of the glass has the potential to enhance or mar the taste of the wine and hence, choosing the correct shape is fundamental.

My first reaction to this theorising was this (or at least along these lines): Excuse me? All throughout my stint at university, we drank everything from plastic cups. Red, white, rose, bubbly, Mickey Finn, Vodka…you name it and we have tried them all from the same cups, every weekend. The sceptic in me followed this up with a counter-theory. Should there be differently shaped cups for Earl Grey and Assam tea? Or different glasses for tap water and bottled water even?

Let me get it straight – I am not vouching for plastic cups for wines in any way. That was merely for the purpose of illustrating the fact that in my opinion, different glasses for different wines are unnecessary. In fact, one long-stemmed, wide-bottomed glass should do well for almost all types, except maybe champagne which has always been drunk from flutes.

Raymond Postgate, creator of the Good Food Guide, was on my side when he said, “To wine drinkers, not one of them (glasses designed for sherry, port, claret, champagne and hock) improves the wine in any way at all.” He further elaborated, “There is only one satisfactory type of wine glass, and it will serve for any kind of wine. It is colourless, rather tulip-shaped, and the upper rim of the cup narrows.”

However, Austrian glassmaker Claus Riedel has a different take on this and claims, “Wide, open glass shapes require us to sip by lowering the head, whereas a narrow rim forces the head to tilt backwards so that the liquid flows. This delivers and positions the beverage to different ‘taste zones’ of the palate.”

Like every good debate, this wine glass debate too has its pros and cons. However, I stick to what I had started out with, though I am willing to give the other side a patient hearing. Till then, I am happy to sip my cold Sauvignon Blanc from my old goblet. Wine up, everyone!

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