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Wine Wise - Glassware for Wine

( Originally Published 1933 )

Proper glassware for the serving of wine is important because it displays the color, helps to bring out the aroma and bouquet and adds materially to the satisfaction derived from wines by the wine drinker. Wine is a delicacy, to be served in small thin glasses, colorless and transparent. It has long been the custom to serve the different wines in certain types of glasses, and these customs are to be respected because they have stood the test of time and added to the joy of wine drinking.

Of first consideration is the use of glasses that are crystal clear and as delicate as is practicable. It has been said that the ideal glass for serving a precious wine would be a soap bubble cut in half. Since this is slightly impractical, the next best thing would be to use a glass that resembles half a soap bubble.

For red wines such as Claret, Chianti or Burgundy, a small bowl-shaped glass with a medium stem is used. It should be thin, and crystal clear so that the ruby color in the wine can be enjoyed to the greatest extent. Never use red or blue colored glasses for these wines.

In an interesting article on "How to Drink Wine," Arpad Haraszthy, a noted authority on California wines, wrote:

"Claret glasses ought to be very thin, of medium size, and absolutely colorless. These glasses should be with a stem and the upper diameter of the same dimensions as the lower part of the bowl. These equal pro-portions have good reason for their so being. One of the most pleasing effects is the display of color in Claret. It may be dark or light but if equally intense at the top and bottom of the bowl and brilliant it is always considered beautiful.

"While a Claret glass should be colorless, a Burgundy glass, which should have the same shape, at the upper edge may be tinged a rosy hue, gradually diminishing in color as it descends and fades almost into colorless crystal. Such glasses tend to give the color of the wine a richer and more attractive tint and I think is par excellence the glass for Burgundy wines whose color deepens and cheats the eye in the belief of greater body and more generous quality. When this kind of glass is but half filled, the same depth of color pervades from top to bottom, owing to the deeper tint of the upper part, and the visual effect is most pleasing. To form a pretty contrast, the stems and feet should be white."

Speaking of Chablis and Sauterne types, he advised that, "These wines should be served from very thin glasses of a delicate greenish or yellow tint. In either case the color must be just suggested so as not to hide the absolute transparency of the wine."

Mr. Haraszthy suggests that Riesling, Rhine, Hock and Moselle types be served in tall-stemmed glasses, perhaps in deference to the tall slim green bottles which we associate with Rhine wines.

Many types of Champagne glasses with solid stems are being offered on the market, but to get the maximum enjoyment from Champagne it should be served in glasses with a wide-spreading bowl and hollow stem up which the fountain of bubbles can play. Sparkling Burgundy may be served in a Champagne glass or in a tulip-shaped glass, which is not so ornamental on the table as the 'larger, more shallow bowl.

The proper wineglass for Port is a diminutive Claret glass in shape, but the glass should be thicker.

Sherry is always served in a conical-shaped glass.

The gold, silver and pewter goblets which became the vogue during the prohibition era when wine was something to be hidden do not do justice at all to wine, because they deny the wine drinker the joy of color-one of the main sensations to be derived from good wine.

Study of the illustrations will help the host and hostess to understand the niceties of serving wines in their proper glassware and will show the grouping of the wineglasses, either about the goblet or to the right of the goblet.

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