Choosing the right wine glass for wine tasting is crucial. Besides contributing to the aesthetics of the experience, shape, size and material significantly influence the way we perceive and enjoy wine. Shape, for example, can help concentrate aromas, allowing the taster to fully grasp their complexity and depth.

Size can affect the amount of air that comes into contact with the wine, influencing the oxygenation process and the release of aromas. An appropriate glass allows proper aeration of the wine, concentrating the aromas and directing the flow of liquid towards the most sensitive part of the palate, thus improving the perception of flavours and aromas.

Last but not least, the materials used to make the glass also play a fundamental role. Transparent glass, for example, allows the taster to appreciate the colour of the wine and observe its texture, while crystal can emphasise the brightness and brilliance of the wine.

Investing in the choice of the ideal glass

is not just an act of aesthetics

but a decision that enhances the sensory experience

and appreciation of wine at its best.

The essential qualities for satisfying the tasting must be: the cup of the glass must be wide enough to allow vigorous rotation, the lip of the glass must curve slightly towards the inside of the cup, the glass must be rigorously transparent and free of ornamentation to allow the colour to be studied without hindrance, and it must have a stem.

The parts of the glass

A wine-tasting glass consists of several parts, each of which plays an important role in the tasting experience. The long stem allows the glass to be held without affecting the temperature of the wine with the warmth of the hands, while the glass itself has a shape that favours the concentration of aromas and the correct oxygenation of the wine. The thin, rounded rim allows the wine to flow smoothly towards the palate, while the wide bottom allows better oxygenation and development of the aromas. Each part of the glasshas a specific name:

  1. Rim: this is the upper part of the glass where the lips rest. The bevente is usually thin and rounded. This helps to direct the wine gently towards the palate, allowing an even and controlled distribution of the liquid.
  2. Chimney or olfactory wall: this is the part immediately below the drinker where the aromas are perceived.
  3. Bowl or oxygenation chamber: this is the part of the glass that widens outwards and where the wine is swirled to oxygenate it. The oxygenation chamber can vary depending on the type of wine being tasted. Generally, glasses have a shape that widens slightly upwards, allowing better concentration of aromas and proper oxygenation of the wine.
  4. Stem: serves to hold the wine comfortably without influencing the temperature of the wine with hand warmth. This is particularly important for white and sparkling wines, which are preferably served at lower temperatures.
  5. Base: The base of the glass provides stability for the glass when placed on a surface. A wide base is preferable to prevent the glass from tipping over easily.

Glass production materials

Glasses can be made of different materials. The choice of this conditions the wine-tasting experience considerably.

There are two materials that are most commonly used to make a wine glass: glass and crystal.

The main differences between these two materials concern the composition of the material itself and the characteristics of transparency, brilliance and weight.

While both materials can be used to produce functional wine glasses, crystal offers a higher optical quality and a feeling of luxury and refinement, while glass is cheaper and more durable. The choice between a glass and a crystal therefore depends on personal preference and the occasion in which the glass will be used.

Let us look in detail at the main differences to be considered:

Material composition: In both materials under consideration, the main chemical components are sand, soda ash and limestone. Sand is present in greater quantities and, although it is possible to make glass using only sand, due to its very high melting point, it would be too expensive a process.

The lower melting point is instead made possible by the addition of soda ash. Lime is added to prolong the durability of the glass and prevent it from solubilising in water. A number of metal oxides are then added, most often lead.

  • Glass: It is a hard, durable material that can be mass-produced at a relatively low cost.
  • Crystal: Crystal is a form of high-quality glass enriched with minerals such as lead or barium oxide.

Processing:

  • Glass: Glass can be produced industrially through blowing, moulding or pressing processes. Although it is possible to find carefully handcrafted glass, most glass are made by industrial processes.
  • Crystal: Crystal production requires more craftsmanship. Crystal glasses are often hand-blown and carefully crafted by experienced artisans. This handcrafted process adds aesthetic value and uniqueness to crystal glasses.

Aesthetic characteristics:

  • Glass: Glass offer transparency and clarity, but may lack the brilliance and shine of crystal. However, there are many glass varieties with different designs and finishes that can be equally attractive.

  • Crystal: The minerals used in the manufacture of crystal give it greater lustre, brilliance and light refraction than ordinary glass. Crystal is generally thinner and more delicate than glass, offering a more refined and luxurious appearance.

Another essential element to take into account is the thinness of the glass: the thinner the glass, the greater the sensory perception and the less interference between wine and taster.

Sensory perceptions will reach our brain without any filter.

To every wine its glass

THE CHAMPAGNE GLASS

The champagne glass, often called a flûte, is now replaced by slightly larger, very elegant and refined glasses. Their characteristic feature is the oxygenation chamber with a cone-shaped end, specially designed to enhance the unique characteristics of champagne and sparkling wines. The shape is elongated, with a narrow body and a mouth that is more open than the base to maintain the perlage of the wine for longer, allowing a better visual perception of the effervescence. The narrow rim concentrates the aromas and gently directs the wine towards the palate, allowing the freshness and complexity of the flavours to be fully appreciated. The long stem allows the glass to be held without affecting the temperature of the wine with the warmth of the hands, keeping the champagne at the right serving temperature. Champagne glasses are traditionally made of thin, transparent glass that allows the golden colour and nuances of the wine to be appreciated, as well as allowing the effervescence to be clearly seen.

THE UNIVERSAL GLASS

A 'universal' glass is designed to be versatile and suitable for tasting a wide range of wines. With an intermediate size shape, not too wide or narrow, it allows a wider range of aromas to be captured and the wine to be directed appropriately towards the palate. The rim of the universal glass tends to be slightly rounded to allow even distribution of the wine on the palate. The stem of the universal glass is always of a length that does not alter the wine with the heat of the hands. This type of glass is ideal for those who, for study or personal study, have in front of them a battery of different wines to taste. A single type of glass design, shape and material allows the taster to have a fixed parameter. Using a single glass design for analytical tasting will allow one to calibrate one's sense of structure and develop a sense of aromatic intensity when comparing different wines.

However, it should be kept in mind that a universal glass may not offer the maximum optimisation of the tasting experience for particularly complex or delicate wines.

THE BORDEAUX GLASS

The Bordeaux glass is specially designed to enhance the tasting experience of red wines, particularly Bordeaux wines and other structured and tannic red wines. The shape of Bordeaux glasses is wide with a wider mouth than other types. This allows more air exposure to the wine, promoting better oxygenation and allowing the tannins to soften, making the wine more palatable. The rim is slightly rounded to favour a correct distribution of the wine on the palate, allowing a balanced perception of flavours and aromas. The stem of the Bordeaux glass is usually of medium length. The Bordeaux glass is ideal for structured and complex red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and wines from the Bordeaux region of France. Its shape allows the wine to fully express its complex aromas and to develop a pleasant mouthfeel.

THE BURGUNDY GLASS

The Burgundy wine glass, also known as the Burgundy glass, is specially designed to enhance the unique characteristics of red wines from the Burgundy region of France. Its main features include a wide, rounded shape with a wider mouth than other glasses. This allows the wine more exposure to the air, facilitating oxygenation and allowing the complex aromas to develop fully. The rim is slightly rounded and the stem is of medium length The Burgundy glass is particularly suitable for aromatic and complex red wines, such as Pinot Noir from Burgundy, as it allows them to fully express their delicate aromas and fine structure. It is also suitable for white Burgundy wines, such as Chardonnay, which can benefit from its broad shape to develop and fully reveal their complex aromas and creamy texture.

THE SPIRIT GLASS

The spirit glass, also known as a whisky glass, is designed to enhance the unique characteristics of spirits such as whisky, brandy, cognac and rum. In this case, the glass has a wide but short shape that allows more exposure to air and promotes the evaporation of volatile alcohols. This helps to release the complex and intense aromas of the spirits. The rim of the glass may be slightly rounded or straight, depending on personal preference and the type of spirit being tasted. A rounded rim may concentrate the aromas, while a straight rim may favour a more even distribution of the liquid on the palate. Some spirit glasses may have a short stem or even no stem at all. The spirit glass is designed to allow tasters to focus on the complex nuances of aromas and flavours of spirits, providing an optimal tasting experience.

Our selection

CONTERNO GLASSES

These glasses are the result of Casa Conterno Giacomo's collaboration with the Zwiesel Kristallglas company, glassblowers since 1872. The Sensory was created in 2017 with the aim of creating a glass that would fully enhance the characteristics of great wines. As its name suggests, the shape was specially designed to enhance all five senses

To the eye it is sensual, in the hand it is light and well balanced, when vibrated it produces a clear and lasting sound.

The aromas are enhanced by the sinuous line and the characteristic flat base combined with the curve of the rim gives the wine in the mouth an effect of fullness and softness.

The Symphony tasting glass, on the other hand, was created in 2021. It is a glass capable of enhancing perlage, aromas and the taste spectrum. Perfect for tasting great sparkling wines or champagne.

Both glasses are lightweight, designer, lead-free and naturally mouth-blown.

ZALTO GLASSES

Zalto bases its philosophy on the pursuit of perfect craftsmanship. Zalto's history is rooted in the northern Waldviertel region, where the tradition of glassmaking has very ancient origins (14th century) and where there were 120 glassworks. Zalto continues this tradition with the work of highly specialised craftsmen, glassmakers who make every part of the glass by hand, except for the glass, which is instead mouth-blown in special moulds.

The production of lead-free crystal glass, in combination with a decidedly slow cooling phase after the glass has been blown, guarantees its high elasticity.

The Zalto Denk'Art glass range pays tribute to his mentor Hans Denk. As an experienced wine taster, he helped to create glasses that were perfect in terms of the tasting experience. Zalto Denk'Art has become the benchmark of glass culture.

It was a cosmic phenomenon that inspired the creators of this series. The angles used of 24, 48 and 72 degrees in fact correspond to the angles of inclination of our earth. According to tradition, it seems that the ancient Romans had already noticed that those angles had an extraordinary influence on the quality of the containers used to hold food reserves; the food not only retained its freshness for longer, but also tasted considerably better. This is also the reason why the wines in the Zalto Denk'Art glasses are optimal to the nose and palate. Perfect design, machine-washable, lightweight, no lead added... these are just some of the features that make Zalto glasses unique.

THE SPIEGELAU GLASSES

Spiegelau has more than five centuries of experience in the production of high-quality glassware. Spiegelau glasses are all made of lead-free crystal glass. The highest quality crystal ingredients make Spiegelau products more durable, dishwasher-safe, break-resistant and even shinier than other glasses. The Definition line is the evolution of two previous Spiegelau collections: Willsberger (1982) and Hybrid (2011). Spiegelau glasses are extraordinarily elegant, light as feathers, perfectly balanced in the hand and bring out the best of the wine's aromas and flavours.

Mind the pleasure! Taste different!

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