Do you need to change your glass depending on what you’re drinking?
It doesn’t seem long ago that merely owning wine glasses was enough to mark one out as a sophisticate of the highest order. Such affectations were for professional establishments like the local pub: at home we drank out of cloudy tumblers or plastic cups at parties. But while I was busy growing up and smashing my way through successive boxes of Ikea stemware, someone changed the rules: special glasses for drinking wine are not enough – now we’re buying different glasses for different wines. It’s as if someone’s suggested I need a whole new set of cups to get the most out of my Earl Grey (do I?).
Matching glassware to wine is nothing new – Raymond Postgate (creator of the Good Food Guide) published the wonderful 1951 Plain Man’s Guide to Wine with illustrations of the five traditional glass shapes, designed for sherry, claret, port, champagne and hock. In it, he observes scornfully that "to wine drinkers, not one of them improves the wine in any way at all." He goes further, denouncing the sherry glass as "an innkeepers’ trick, [for making] the quantity of wine look much more than it is" and the coloured hock glass as a simple disguise for poor quality, cloudy Victorian wine. Indeed, Postgate is definite "there is only one satisfactory type of wine glass, and it will serve for any kind of wine. It is colourless, rather tulip-shaped, and the upper rim of the cup narrows." It looks like those in my cupboard: a large bowl on a narrow stem, tapering slightly towards the top.
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