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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

Plain But Perfect

BY TRESA ERICKSON

You're planning to host a dinner party soon, and as you're looking through your cabinets and taking inventory of your supplies, you realize that you lack one very important item -- wine glasses. You're not a wine connoisseur by any means, but you know enough about wine that you must serve it in the right glasses. Glass can affect the way wine looks, smells and tastes, so it is in your best interest to purchase the right glasses for the wine you are serving. Here are some tips.

When shopping for wine glasses, it is important to look for ones made of clear, plain glass. This will allow your guests to appreciate the true color of the wine and look to it for other information, such as the grapes used to make the wine. Glasses etched with lines or patterns or having tinted stems and bases can all cause reflections in the wine and alter its color.

Glass shape is another important factor. Although some wine glasses only have a bowl and a base, most have stems. You should look for ones with stems for your dinner party. By holding the glass by its stem, your guests will prevent the warmth of their hands from heating up the temperature of the wine and affecting its taste.

Glass size is equally important. The best glasses are tapered at the top with a large enough bowl for the wine to be swirled without spilling. As the wine is swirled in the bowl, the aroma of it will be released and move toward the nose through the tapered top. Essentially, the larger the bowl of the glass, the more room there will be for the wine to breathe and develop.

A general rule of thumb for selecting glass size is to buy flutes for champagne and sparkling wines to enhance the bubbles, glasses with smaller bowls for white wines and glasses with larger bowls for red wines. If budget is a concern, however, you may be able to find a set of all-purpose wine glasses that will do the trick.

Once you have purchased a set of wine glasses, you should clean them properly. Wash them by hand with soap and water. Do not put them in the dishwasher. The detergent could leave a coating on the glass, which will affect the aroma and taste of the wine. Rinse the glasses in hot water and dry them immediately with a linen cloth. Do not dry cold wine glasses, or you will end up with streaks.

As you set your table for your party, you should place your new wine glasses to the right and slightly below the water goblets at each place setting. If you are using multiple wine glasses, you should place them in the order they will be used. When you fill the glasses, you should fill them one-third to one-half full. This will leave enough room for your guests to swirl the wine to capture its aroma and tilt the wine to evaluate its color.

Shop carefully for wine glasses and make sure you use the right type for the wine you are serving at your dinner party. That way, you are sure to enhance the look, aroma and taste of the wine.



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