Ever wondered why wine glasses are particular shapes?
Why Champagne glasses are flutes and red wine glasses more bulbous, for instance?
Getting the glassware absolutely right was something to which the team at Cheval Blanc wine bar and kitchen gave considerable thought before opening.
A great wine will taste good in almost any vessel, but will taste a whole lot better if it’s served in a glass designed to highlight its strengths.
And even better if the glass is easy on the eye and beautiful to hold, too.
Here are the basics.
Typically, white wine is served in smaller bowled glasses that better maintain its cool temperature, preserve its floral aromas and deliver those aromas to the drinker.
Meanwhile, their long stems give drinkers something to tenderly hold so their hands don’t warm up the chilled wine.
Red wine is better served in larger bowled glasses that let the ethanol – the alcohol – evaporate more readily and which allow the wine’s aromas to be appreciated by the drinker.
The wider opening of red wine glasses also allow the wine to taste smoother.
Flutes, as well as looking elegant, of course, help preserve the bubbles in fizz and channel them to the tip of the lucky drinker’s tongue.
The long, narrow bowl allows the bubbles to travel further upwards, adding to the aesthetic thrill of spring Champagne and other parking wines.
Beyond these general guidelines there are glasses for particular styles of red or white wine.
Glass for Bordeaux reds, for instance, are tall with a broad bowl.
This suits tall full-bodied reds made from grapes such as cabernet sauvignon or syrah because it directs the gorgeous stuff to the back of the mouth.
Meanwhile, Burgundy glasses are broader, with a larger bowl to gather the arms of more delicate reds made with pinot noir.
This time the wine is directed to the tip of the tongue.
Abigail Connolly, general manager and sommelier at Cheval Blanc, said: “We thought long and hard about the glassware we’d use, testing lots of different glasses with lots of different wines and cocktails.
“Clearly our choice has worked because customer after customer has asked who supplied the glasses for the wines and cocktails they’ve enjoyed.”
The answer is John Jenkins, whose clients include renowned restaurants such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Marcus Wareing, The Waterside Inn, Le Gavroche, The Ivy and Hakkasan and fabulous hotels such as The Lanesborough, The Ritz, Brown’s, Claridges and The Connaught.
The company, based in Petersfield, Hampshire, and founded way back in 1901, is renowned for products that are both stylish and practical.
“Not only did we decide that these glasses perfectly showcased our fantastic drinks – we also thought that they looked and felt absolutely amazing, too,” added Abigail.
“Their eye-catching – but practical – shapes, their beautiful craftsmanship and the superb quality of the glass add to the pleasure of drinking to Cheval Blanc.
“And there’s the added bonus that they’re made in England, so we’re supporting an industry that has a long and distinguished heritage in this country.”
145 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP. 0121 449 6344.
I’m working on a freelance basis with Cheval Blanc.