News and views | What are the best wine glasses to buy?

News and views

What are the best wine glasses to buy?

Much play has been made over the last few years of having different shaped glasses for different wines but for those of us with limited storage space (and a limited budget) that’s simply not practical. So what are the best type of glasses to buy and what should you expect to pay for them?

The conventional wisdom is that glasses should be clear (so you can appreciate the colour of the wine), tapered towards the rim (so you can swirl it safely) and with a long stem so you can hold the glass easily without your hand warming up the contents. They should also have a fine rim so you’re not conscious of the edge of the glass as you drink (which can be the case with cheaper wine glasses).

The problem is that many glass manufacturers have taken this to extremes creating beautiful glasses but ones that are difficult to fit in a dishwasher and tragically easy to break if you wash them by hand or knock them over.

So so far as type of glasses is concerned I would go for practicality over style. A modestly priced glass that is easy to replace. This Vino wine glass from John Lewis at £20 a set of 4 would be a good all-rounder or Ben de Lisi's wine glasses at Debenhams at £8 for four are really good value. (Remember sales are a good time to buy glasses or stemware as it’s called in the US).

How many? It depends how keen you are on wine and what type you enjoy most. If you’re starting from scratch setting up home or planning a wedding list I’d probably go for two - a slightly smaller glass for crisp dry wines like Sauvignon Blanc, aromatic white wines such as Riesling and rosés and a larger glass for oak-aged chardonnays and red wines. (The point about having a smaller glass is that you have less wine in your glass and that retains the temperature of cold wines better. Remember glasses should only be poured half full not filled to the brim)

If you’re a lover of sweet or fortified wines like sherry you might want a set of smaller glasses too - the classic sherry ‘copita’ would probably be the most flexible choice.

Do you need a separate glass for champagne? Ah, that’s the big question. Until recently the answer has been a firm yes - a tall flute being held to preserve the fizz better than the shallow coupe that was popular at the beginning of the last century. But now many experts reckon that a more generous bowl expresses the flavour of champagne better. So you could use your regular white wine glasses.

A new type of glass you might want to consider are ones like SON.hyx and Sparkx that claim to be dishwasher proof. You’d have to use them over a period of time to verify that but they might be worth a try if you don't want to wash your glasses by hand (as, let's be honest, most of us don't)

If you’re keen on a particular style of wine - say Burgundy - or buying a gift for someone who is. it might be worth buying a couple of glasses for when you’re enjoying a bottle on your own or with a partner or friend. Riedel, Schott Zweisel, Spiegelau and Zalto are well-known names to look out for though there are lower cost options around.

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Comments: 2 (Add)

Fiona Beckett on January 2 2015 at 12:38

Sorry, Mike - only just noticed these invaluable tips. Thank you so much!

Mike Taylor on June 24 2014 at 11:19

Most good quality wine glasses are dishwasher proof if you:

a) properly clean the dishwasher filter before you clean them in it
b) only wash them on the 40 degree glasses setting
c) make sure they don't touch in the dishwasher.

We have Glass&Co (who make really lovely glasses too btw) and Riedel - both of which regularly get dish washed (they get a lot of use) and all are fine with no signs of bloom.

The only other top tip is never EVER put coffee grounds or fruit pips into the dishwasher - both are really hard to remove and ultimately will destroy your machine (and scratch your glasses).

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