Ideal Wine Glasses

Dec 1, 2012
2012 / December 2012

It is the rare wine lover who would not welcome a set of ideal wine glasses. And it is a rare choice of gift that offers such an abundant selection of style and price.

The ideal wine glass shape resembles a large tulip with a full, round bowl that tapers slightly at the top; is made of clear, relatively thin glass; and has a stem long enough to hold comfortably. Generally, a white wine glass should hold about 12 to 14 ounces; because red wine is fuller and heavier, look for a 16- to 22-ounce glass.

What makes such a glass ideal? We enjoy wine through our senses of sight, smell and taste. A glass that is colored, covered with designs or thick enough to be opaque hides or distorts the sight of the wine. A glass that flares at the top allows the aromas to dissipate, taking away our pleasure in the wine’s bouquet. And a glass that is straight, too small or has a narrow bowl does not allow us to swirl the wine, which releases the full flavor when we taste it.

Checking through dozens, holding each to feel its balance, I found ideal glasses ranging from $7.39 to $85 each. Here are a few.

The Italian firm Luigi Bormioli’s Atelier line offers its white wine glass at $7.39 and its red wine glass for $9. It also offers sets of four glasses, from 13 to 20 ounces, for $46. The Austrian firm Riedel has the largest selection of glasses. Begin with its Vinum sets of two for $50 and eight glasses for $150.

Waterford’s Marquis line presents sets of four glasses — one set for white, one for red — at $50 a set. The highly stylized Walter Gropius for Rosenthal glass has a particularly narrow curve on top. Price: $26 for its red wine glass. And Lenox’s Timeless Platinum Signature crystal glass is $36. Orrefors offers its Balans glass with a sculpted stem for $55 and its striking Intermezzo Blue (with an elongated blue teardrop in the stem) for $60.

The elegant Château Baccarat calls itself the “ultimate wine glass.” Made of lead crystal and designed, it says, to give “the finest expression of the wine’s aroma,” it is $85.

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