Wine Glasses

Wine glasses, in their many shapes, not only add visual appeal, but they also serve an important function in enhancing the flavor of the wine. With so many varieties available, you can find wine glassware in nearly every style to accommodate any budget. While crystal wine glasses are at the higher end of the price spectrum for glassware, the material which the glass is made of is less important than the glass”s shape. In fact, some wine experts even state that the size of the bowl is crucial to the ultimate flavor, as the bowl size affects how the aroma rises above or sits on top of the liquid as you drink the wine. Wine Glasses: Different Types of Glasses The basic wine glass shape is similar to a tulip in bloom, meaning that wine glassware always has a wider base with a more narrowed, tapered top. However, aside from this basic structure, the size of the glass, as well as the degree to which the top is narrow, varies dramatically for wine glasses meant for different types of wine. Here is a breakdown of what types of glasses to use for each type of wine: Champagnes and sparkling white wines: Because this class of wine is bubbly by nature, champagnes and sparkling white wines are usually served in flutes (longer, thinner glasses that are not dramatically tapered). This glass shape allows the bubbles to flow up a longer length of the liquid, a pleasing sight to the eye. Similarly, because the glass is narrower, the gas of the bubbles can”t escape the liquid as fast as it would with a more open bowl. This preserves the carbonation. Dessert wines: The smallest wine glasses (those that are short and have short, small bowls) are ideal for serving sherry, port and other choice dessert wines. Because dessert wines are do potent and intense, they should be sipped and served in moderation. By pouring dessert wines into smaller glasses, you can be sure to not over serve them. Red wines: Glassware with larger bowls is the most appropriate for serving red wines. Younger wines are best in slightly smaller, more slender bowls with taller sides (these glasses are known as “chianti” glasses) to address the stronger tannins. Alternatively, more mature, full-bodied red wines should be served in glasses with larger, more open bowls to allow it to aerate and distribute the aroma. White wines: Serve light white wines in narrower, smaller glasses with a more elongated bowl so that the wine stays chilled longer. By keeping white wine at cooler temperatures, these more slender glasses enhance the flavor, whether it be fruity, woody or herby. While you can get specialty wine glasses from manufacturers around the world, those limited on budget and storage space may want to consider getting a set of all-purpose wine glasses, a type of glassware produced by many manufacturers. These all-purpose glasses are designed to be acceptable in most serving situations, regardless of whether you”re serving red or […]

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Affordable Wine Gifts

Whether you’re looking for a simple hostess gift or something special for a milestone birthday, giving wine gifts to your favorite oenophiles doesn’t have to be hard on your wallet. From wine glasses to wine baskets and accessories, here are five budget-friendly yet elegant wine gift ideas for all the wine lovers on your list. Wine accessories: While many of the wine gadgets on the market aren’t really that practical, there are some fun, useful products out there, many for under $10. Try a smart-looking set of sandstone coasters, a classic waiter-style corkscrew for travel or a wine journal for your friend to keep track off all her favorite vintages. Wine backpacks: Like picnic baskets for wine lovers, wine totes and backpacks are insulated to keep wine cool. Most come with a corkscrew, shatterproof wine glasses, a cheese knife and a place to keep a couple of sandwiches or wedge of cheese. Beginning at around $25, these handy backpacks make great wine gifts, particularly for those that like to picnic, hike or go boating with a bottle of wine. If your budget allows, stock the backpack with a bottle of light, inexpensive picnic wine and a well-matched snack, like flatbread and cheese. Wine baskets: While ordering wine baskets from catalogs can be fairly expensive, making one yourself is more personal and will save you money. Choose a nice basket or gift bag and fill it with your friend’s favorite wine, a pair of wine glasses and some cured meats, fruits or cheeses. You’ll have a great gift for under $40. Wine clubs: Membership to a wine club may seem like an indulgent gift, but there are plenty of clubs that cost under $20 a month. Many clubs offer partial-year memberships as well as discounts for members who want to buy additional wine and accessories. Wine clubs are a great way to give your favorite wine lover new wines to try every month, making them a great gift choice for special occasions. Wine glasses: There isn’t an oenophile out there that doesn’t want another set of wine glasses. With so many to choose from–red wine, white wine, stemless, painted and colored glass–you could spend days looking at all the varieties, and they make very affordable wine gifts.

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Wine Accessories

Before you go out and spend a bundle on wine glasses and accessories, whether for yourself or for a gift, find out what you really need. Though the selection of wine accessories in kitchen stores and catalogs can be both impressive and tempting, enjoying wine really only requires a few basic tools and wine accessories. See below for a list of items that will help you enjoy any type of wine on any occasion. Corkscrews Of course, you need at least one good corkscrew to open all that great budget wine you’ve bought. To start, consider purchasing one waiter-type corkscrew for travel or picnics (also good for home use). You may also want to purchase a more advanced, lever-style or winged corkscrew for home use. Wine Accessories Some wine accessories are necessary for the full enjoyment of a bottle of good wine. To get started, you need: A decanter or aerator for red wines A wine air removal stopper or pump (for re-corking, so unfinished bottles don’t go bad). If you want to expand on your accessories collection, consider purchasing: A drip ring to prevent wine from dripping down the bottle after it’s been poured A foil cutter A marble or stainless steel wine cooler sleeve or bucket for the table A wine tote or backpack for travel. Wine Glasses Proper wine glasses are also widely considered a necessity. While you can certainly drink Bordeaux out of a mug, many wine connoisseurs posit that the shapes of different wine glasses help enhance the tasting experience by allowing the wine to “open up” and tipping the contents into a certain place on your tongue when you sip. While countless options are available, start with the basics: A few red wine glasses (stemmed or stemless) A few white wine glasses (stemmed glasses are better than stemless for white wine; keeping hands off the glass ensures white wine stays cool). Once you’re ready to expand your collection of glasses, consider purchasing: Shatterproof glasses for outdoor use Sparkling wine flutes Glasses for different types of wine you drink often, like chardonnay or pinot noir. Wine Racks If you plan to store wine for more than a week or two, it should be kept in a rack, on its side. Storing wine on its side prevents the cork from drying out and allowing oxygen to enter the bottle, which can spoil the wine. If you’re starting a collection, therefore, a rack is essential. To start, consider buying a wall-mounted or countertop wine rack for your kitchen or dining room to store wines you’ll drink in the near future. If you plan to start collecting and/or storing wines, it’s time to buy an upright wine rack or shelving for the basement or other wine storage area.

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