Stemmed versus Stemless Wine Glasses

The culture surrounding wine is vast and rich, encompassing not only the flavor but also the glassware that's appropriate for each vintage. There are an impressive amount of wine glasses, each crafted for you to pair with specific types of wine. When deciding on which glasses to add to your collection, it's great to keep the design philosophy in mind. west elm's array of glassware boasts beautiful pieces ranging from regal goblets to swan-like stemmed glasses to modern and cutting-edge stemless models.

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Basics of Wine Glasses

The classic body of a wine glass consists of the base (also called the foot) connected to the stem, which leads to the bowl and the rim. The bowl is the most visually identifiable part of the glass; it's the receptacle that holds the wine.

Bowls are intuitively designed to accommodate the best surface area for each type of wine. Some glasses feature a tapered top while others contain a wide opening. As a rule of thumb, you'll find that red wines need more space to breathe for you to fully enjoy their flavor. By comparison, white wine glasses tend to have narrower bowls resulting in a smaller surface area.

Differences Between Stemmed and Stemless Glasses

Wine is made for you to enjoy its composition as faithfully as possible. From top to bottom, glasses use every trick to preserve all of the notes of a wine's aroma. When you touch a glass, the contact with your hand transfers heat to the wine. Enter stemmed glasses.

Expertly built to reduce the impact of a person's natural body temperature on the wine, the stem allows you to hold the glass with a diminished effect on its contents. Many wine enthusiasts set the bar very high when it comes to every aspect of their wine tasting experience, and the glass is no exception.

On a different note, stemless wine glasses are a modern creation. Their design is sleek and daring, which makes for a superb aesthetic for your home. By doing away with the stem, they've transformed the wine experience.

Which Glass is Better, Stemmed or Stemless?

There are undoubtedly many perks to stemless glasses. Unlike their stemmed counterparts, stemless goblets tend to be sturdier. With stems, you have to consider how fragile they are. Even crystal-made stemless glasses don't break as easily because they don't have such a delicate frame.

Another factor to consider is that many people don't perceive any difference in the wine they're drinking regardless of whether they've made direct contact with the bowl or not. On top of that, the decreased risk of breaking your glassware and easier maintenance (washing stemless glasses is a breeze!) make a very appealing case.

It's not a question of whether stemmed glasses are better or more appropriate--the real answer is that it's a matter of taste and how you approach your wine.

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Wine by Vintage

The main types of wine are red, white, rose, sparkling, and dessert wines. The difference between them comes down to the grapes used in their production.

Common names for red wines include Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Pinot Noir. For white wines, the most popular are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Pinot Gris.

Which Glasses to Use with Each Wine

When in doubt, take a look at sets of general purpose wine glasses. They'll conserve the vast majority of wine and make for an incredible tasting. If you want to go a step further and be equipped for an enhanced tasting experience, there are two broad categories to consider: traditional white wine glassware and wine glasses for red wines.

As we outlined above, the main takeaway is that red wines need roomier glasses and wider rims and bowls to breathe and white wines do better in glasses that provide a smaller surface area. west elm's glassware collection contains many options of tumblers and stemmed glasses specific for white wines as well as red. You can easily identify them by their round body (best for reds) or typical U-shape (best for white wine).

If you're having sparkling wine, consider getting flute-like glasses similar to the ones used for champagne. The narrower the opening, the better your wine will be able maintain its fizzy carbonation.

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