A guide to buying the best wine glasses for your tastes. When you order a bottle of wine in a restaurant, you'll often notice that different glasses are served for different types of wine. Whether you're an oenophile or a casual Chardonnay drinker, it can be confusing to determine which types of glassware are best suited for individual varietals and why. Wine glasses are designed not only as a beverage vessel but to enhance the flavor of your wine and affect a wine's bouquet. Some glasses are even intended to catch light in a certain way and add aesthetic value to your favorite wine or champagne. To help you stock your home bar or prepare for your next gift registry, we've broken down some of the basic glassware options that you'll find at most home stores.

Champagne FluteCHAMPAGNE FLUTE

At your next party, pair a glass of champagne or sparkling wine with your appetizer course to get your party started off right. Sparkling wine is a fun, fresh and lively beverage that complements just about any meal. Sparkling wine and champagne are typically served in narrow flutes that help preserve the integrity of the bubbles. Tall, slender stems taper gently at the ends, complementing the softly rounded bowls and fit comfortably in your hands.

 

Soft White Wine GlassSOFT WHITE WINE GLASS

With a slighty tapered rim, keep your favorite dry white wines, including Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc chilled and smooth. It's narrow rim showcases the best qualities of dry, aromatic white wines with medium to light body and high acidity. The shape of the bowl highlights fruit and floral components, while the rim directs the flow of wine to the front of the palate, allowing you to appreciate the balance of fruit and acidity.

 

Full White Wine GlassFULL WHITE WINE GLASS

For a full-bodied Chardonnay, you'll want a glass that will direct the flow of wine toward the mid-palate, allowing you to appreciate the balance of fruit-forward flavors and acidity. The bowl is slightly elongated, which lets you capture the complex characters of the wine's full body and aroma.

 

Soft Red Wine GlassSOFT RED WINE GLASS

Look for a glass with a generous bowl and a slightly tapered rim for your full-bodied reds that have high acidity and moderate tannins. According to Wine Enthusiast, fruit-forward, versatile reds like Pinot Noir or Burgundy should be served in a glass that directs the flow of wine toward the front of your palate, emphasizing the rich fruit while tempering the acidity. The large bowl provides plenty of breathing space for the bouquet to develop, capturing the essence of the wine's aromas.

 

Full Red Wine GlassFULL RED wine glass

With a moderate bowl, these glasses are ideal for full-bodied, complex red wines that are higher in alcohol and tannins. If you're drinking a glass of Cabernet or Merlot with steak or a hearty roast, odds are this is the size glass you'll want to select. Wine Enthusiast reported that the generous size of this glass allows the wine to aerate in the glass and the bouquet to develop fully. The shape of the rim directs the flow of the wine to the front palate to enhance sweetness, thus accentuating the fruit while softening bitter tannins.

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