The market is flooded with almost as many different types of wine glasses as there are different types of wine, making the task of selection a one Getting to a wine glass is difficult – but not impossible.
In fact, I’m ditching my mutant glasses for a generic style that fits any The kind of wine you pour. That’s why.
A universal wine glass simply means that it is designed to be enjoyed with one glass for most types of wine. It goes well with a range of wines: full-bodied, light-bodied, sparkling, and most everything in between. This way, you don’t need to use separate glasses for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or even Champagne. There are good varietal glasses on the market for specific wines, but in terms of practicality, the all-purpose glass goes a long way, as it serves multiple purposes.
This saves money and valuable space in your cabinets. (Marie Kondo would be proud.)
However, not every glass manufacturer agrees on the perfect shape for general purpose glass. So, I tested a fleet of them. After tasting sparkling, white, and red wine in a variety of all-purpose glasses, here are my five favorites for the perfect wine glass.
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Zalto Denk’Art Universal glasses are very popular. Yes, it is very expensive. But it’s worth it considering how much you can save by not using as many varieties of glasses. This glass tested excellent on all wines, well above the others. The nose is pronounced and balanced: fruity, floral, herbal and earthy notes harmoniously blended together. When tasting, wine touches every part of the palate.
The glass itself is delicate, with slender stems, paper-thin bowls and generous bases. It’s like drinking air. Each wine dances in this glass, revealing the subtlest nuances, like dried orange peel on a white wine, or cocoa nibs on a red wine. If you have a special bottle you’ve been saving, this glass is the perfect accompaniment. Do yourself a favor!
This New York-based glassware company is fairly new to the market, and it’s making a splash. (Pun intended.) I wonder if the hype is real. I can happily report, yes.
The Glasvin Universal glass tested very high for every wine in my sample. The nose of the wine is bright, with floral, fruity, earthy, smoky and vanilla notes. The savory flavors of the wine emerge in a way that no other glass can on whites and sparkling wines.
The stem on the glass is thin, and the bowl and rim are a bit bigger than a Zalto, but still very light. Plus, the company touts that it’s dishwasher safe, although I couldn’t bear to try it. This is my new everyday glass for half the price.
Jancis Robinson is one of the world’s most respected wine critics and authors. I’ve followed her work for years and was thrilled when she teamed up with designer Richard Brendon to release a universal wine glass.
At first glance, the glass is a beautiful tulip shape – a round, bulbous bowl with a narrow rim. Jancis has a high focus on florals in many of her creations, and this glass seems made for that. The narrow rim concentrates the aroma, allowing you to smell perfume and stewed fruit. This flower-like glass serves wine on the palate as beautifully as it looks.
This Austrian wine glass is highly sought after in the wine world. It tops the list at Wine Folly and is currently their signature wine glass. The shape here is the most unique in our collection: a wide bowl that extends all the way to the rim with a deep curve. This bowl is more of a mini decanter than a standard wine glass. It’s heavier and chunkier than the glasses listed above, making it a solid and affordable option for everyday use.
The aromas of the wines I tested were more accentuated by woody spices and herbs than the others. Overall, this is a great glass for when you’re not pulling out your best glassware.
This affordable German glass offers a modern look and surprisingly good structure to back it up. It’s considerably heavier than the glasses listed above, but not bulky. The triangular base on the bowl allows the wine to open up when testing wines, and the narrow rim gathers the most fruit, floral and herbaceous flavors. Its thinner bowl makes it especially suitable for serving sparkling wine.
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The next time you’re shopping for a wine glass, take note of the following essential characteristics of a wine glass. A thin spherical bowl that allows the wine to breathe and a narrow rim to collect the aromas is a good place to start. A major set of reliable wine glasses is worth the investment, especially if you’re drinking fine wine.
Bowl shape: The bowl shape is designed to aerate your wine and collect aromas. Think of wine as living beings sleeping in the bottle. It needs to wake up, stretch and yawn when you pour it into a glass. With sufficient oxygen exposure, the wine opens to release beautiful aromas of strawberry, cedar, orange peel and more. That’s why you pour and swirl in the glass. Choose a bowl shape with a wider base to allow the wine to breathe and a narrower top to collect the aromas.
This also applies to sparkling wine: Champagne tastes better in a white wine glass. The flutes limit the wine’s opening; they’re just good-looking glasses if you want to watch the bubbles dance. A flute won’t let sparkling wine shine.
Crystal Battle Glasses: Crystal wine glasses can be made as thin as paper without being too brittle. They contain minerals that strengthen the material. You want your glasses to be thin so they don’t get in the way, so every sip becomes the focal point. So no mason jars, friends.
Voting vs Silent: The stem on the wine glass is there so you don’t have your glass resting on the side of the bowl. Our body heat can warm wine, especially white wine, in the glass. When in doubt, please vote. Reserve the stemless glass for water or cocktails.
Always wear clear glasses: Colored wine glasses are fun, but not if you really want to appreciate your wine. A clear glass allows you to inspect the wine, tell its age from the color of the rim, and even its body when you swirl it.Remember that the culinary experience involves all senses and line of sight is a mighty big. Why limit it?
Henna Bakshi is a wine expert and TV producer for CNN/HLN. She is WSET II (Wine and Spirit Education Foundation) accredited.For pairing suggestions and drool-worthy recipes, follow her on Instagram @hennabakshi.