Wine Q&A: Do I need a special wine glass to taste wine? - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

f931afdc bfe7 4da0 8c95 566987e810d7You don't need a special shaped wine glass to taste wine and find all of its flavours and aromas. Any type of wine glass is suitable. There are special tasting glasses that wine professionals use that are slightly smaller and narrower than a standard wine glass. Their tulip shaped bowls narrow towards the rim and are designed to capture a wine's aromas - these can then be analysed using the professional tasting technique.

If you want to have a go at this technique then you'll need to swirl the wine around in the glass then have a good, short sharp sniff of the contents to identify any aromas. If the glass is tulip shaped - that is it narrows slightly towards the rim - then it concentrates these precious aromas making it easier to get a nostril full when you sniff and then analyse what these aromas remind you of.

If your wine glass flares out then it will be slightly harder to identify any aromas as these will spread out into the air, leaving a smaller quantity to go up your nose to reach your olfactory bulb. This area at the top of the inside of your nose detects the chemical molecules given off from the wine and translates these into an electrical message which it sends to the brain. Your brain then compares this to your memory bank of aromas and identifies it.

So you can use any wine glass, but if it is tulip shaped then that makes it easier to identify aromas - plus it means you are less likely to slop wine out of the glass as you swirl it.

How to swirl wine in a glass without spilling it

swirling 01Start by filling the wine glass only about a third full of wine - this way you'll have more empty space in the glass to swirl without the wine reaching the rim. Then hold the glass by the stem and gently swirl the glass in one direction about three times. Holding the wine glass in the air while you do this takes some practice as it is quite easy to wobble the glass and spill wine. So make it easier by placing the glass on a flat surface, hold it by the stem and then swirl the glass while keeping it on the surface.

Do we spit the wine out?

No, not if you don't want to. It is usual at wine tasting events to spit out wines tasted but this is only necessary if you expecting to sample 10 or 20 wines. During wine appreciation classes it is more usual to taste only two or three wines so it is not neccesary to spit.

How many wine glasses do I need for a tasting?

It is best to use a clean glass for each new wine tasted. Residual wine left in the glass can mix with the new wine being tasted and so cause it taste slightly different to what you might expect. Which may be better or worse but it won't give you a true reflection of the wine's flavours. So use a fresh one each time, or thoroughly rinse it out and try to remove as much water as possible as this too can affect the wine's flavour by diluting it.

If you want to get some professional wine tasting glasses then Wineware sells them at £20 for 6 glasses (I have no connection to this company).

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About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more