Here at Kathy Kuo Home, you rarely need to ask us twice to raise a glass once happy hour rolls around! But beyond that, we feel just as passionately about having the proper glassware on hand for our libations of choice. Not only does it make for an eye-catching decor element to have multiple types of glassware on your bar cart or in your cabinets, but it also makes your sipping experience all the better!
Feeling unsure about the difference between a flute and a coupe or a red vs. white vino glass? Have no fear–Part 1 of the Kathy Kuo Home Glassware Guide is here! For Part 1, we’re focusing on wine and champagne (and you can look out for cocktail glasses and everyday glassware in the weeks to come). Within our glassware assortment, we tend to offer higher end pieces that are constructed all from one piece of glass (a much more premium technique).
About Our Favorite Simon Pearce Wine Glasses
We also spoke to some of the glassware pros at Simon Pearce and Nude Glass for insider insights into glassware shopping. The shape of the glass is always important for the type of wine you’re sipping on, but the shape also plays into your visual preference and the thickness and uniformity of the glass. One pro tip is that–especially with hand-blown glassware, like Simon Pearce’s–you can tell the higher level of quality when the entire vessel is made from one continuous piece of glass with no seams.
“Our Vintner collection glasses have a thinner edge, and has a tulip glass for white wine, a Bordeaux glass, and a coup, and flute for champagne–and then our Hartland glass collection features a slightly thicker glass and offers a champagne flute in a different style, as well as goblet style wine glasses which have a shorter stem for red wine,” notes Simon Pearce representative David Freiman. “Basically, Simon Pearce makes a glass for everybody!”
About Our Favorite Nude Glass Wine Glasses
Additionally, you can get a lot of information about quality and about the intended beverage from the shape and country of origin of a glass. “All of our glass is made in Turkey. Some like the Stem Zero collection have a very thin stem that’s also very durable, and typically, you get clues from the shape about the type of wine you want to drink–Bordeaux or champagne,” says Nude Glass representative Diana LaBrutto. “Some have the dimple–[which allows the wine to flow into the stem partially]–which is an aesthetic preference. It’s a different shape.”
Read on for our tips and tricks to selecting the right glasses for white wine, rosé, red wine, and champagne–along with expert tips from our oenophile CEO Kathy Kuo on pairing her favorite wines with her favorite KKH glassware selections!
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White Wine & Rosé Glasses
When it comes to white wine, a crisp sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, a buttery chardonnay, or a bright riesling are always tasty choices for a dinner party or evening meal. And that goes double for a rosé during the summer months. Wondering what type of wine glass is right for white or rosé? Here are a few handy factors to keep in mind.
Size of the Bowl: Typically, a white wine glass has a smaller bowl, walls that feature less of a curve, and a narrower opening on top than red wine glasses do. The reason for this is that white wines don’t need as much aeration as reds do, so a smaller and narrower bowl works well.
Stem Length: One key difference between glasses meant for white and rosé and ones meant for red wines is the stem length. Because whites and rosés are generally served chilled, their glasses are going to have a longer stem so that you can easily hold your glass without the body heat from your hand touching the bowl and thus affecting the cool temperature of your vino.
Types of White Wine & Rosé Glasses: While a classic viognier glass is perfectly suitable for any white or rosé, there are a couple slight variations in the white wine glass landscape to keep in mind for optimal sipping. For “full-bodied” white wines–like chardonnay–a white wine glass with a slightly wider opening is preferable in order to optimize the scent of the alcohol vapors; whereas high-acid wines (for example, sauvignon blanc and rosé) work best in a slightly smaller, or even tapered, white wine glass since they tend to have lower alcohol content.
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Red Wine Glasses
It will come as no secret that to regular readers of The Kuotes that our very own Kathy Kuo’s favorite libation at the end of a long day is a flavorful glass of red wine. So she can personally attest to the fact that having the right glassware for your fave cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, or Bordeaux is essential to setting the mood for wine time. Read on for our insider tips on red wine glasses.
Size of the Bowl: In order for red wines to breathe properly, a red wine glass is going to have bigger bowl than white wine glasses, and will also just generally be wider overall. The extra width and bowl space allows for easier oxygen circulation, which will in turn release the rich aromas and flavors inherent in most reds. Sipping on a “full-boded” red wine? Sip it to its absolute fullest with the proper glass!
Stem Length: While white wine glasses have longer stems in order to not affect the temperature of the chilled vino, red wines are served at room temperature, so the the stem length isn’t as much of a factor–which means that typically red wine glasses will have shorter stems than their chilled counterparts.
Types of Red Wine Glasses: Within the red wine glass family, there are several variations: Bordeaux glasses, Burgundy glasses, and medium-body glasses. Bordeaux glasses are best suited for wines that are high in both alcohol and tannins–like cabernet sauvignon and petit sirah–and the largest glasses of the three due to the fact that the additional space lets the vapors from a high-alcohol wine rise and aerate. Burgundy glasses feature a shorter lip and are designed for more “delicate” wines. And finally, medium-bodied glasses are slightly smaller than Bordeaux glasses and serve to highlight lower-alcohol wines and wines considered “old-world.”
Kathy’s Fave Red Wine: “All my friends know red wine is my go-to at the end of a long day–Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is one of my favorites.”
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Wine Carafes & Decanters
Not only do wine carafes and decanters make a distinctive style statement in any bar cabinet or at any dinner party, but they also can be serious game-changers when it comes to your wine’s flavor and aroma! Long story short: When you pour your wine into a carafe or decanter, it takes in more oxygen and therefore releases gases, softens tannins, and aerates subtle scents and tastes that may have otherwise literally stayed bottled up.
“The reason you use a carafe, if you have a young red, you can taste the difference in the body as it opens up in the vessel,” says David Freiman of Simon Pearce.
Additionally, if you’re serving a vintage wine–especially a vintage red–decanting allows for natural sediment build up to settle at the bottom, rather than being present in the taste of the wine throughout. Basically: When in doubt, let your wine breathe and do so with a luxe decanter or carafe from our glassware assortment!
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Champagne Flutes & Coupes
There are few more festive thing in life than poppin’ a bottle of fine champagne and enjoying some bubbles for a special occasion–or even for an average Wednesday if you need a pick-me-up! But one thing is for sure: If you’re raising a glass of champagne, proper glassware is a must! For champers, there are typically two types of preferred vessels–flutes and coupes. “The coup shape is a little bit more retro and features a wide shape–the have a very fun shape to them,” adds Nude Glass’ Diana LaBrutto.
Read on to get the scoop on flutes and coupes!
Champagne Flutes: There’s a reason that flutes are ubiquitous when it comes to New Year’s Eve parties and wedding receptions. The height of a flute glass allows for the signature bubbles to rise to the top and remain crisp and sparkling for as along as possible, and the lengthy stem (like with white wine) lets you hold your glass with ease while but compromising the chill of your libation by touching the body of the glass with your hand.
Champagne Coupes: Complete with a sweet vintage look, a coupe is a shallow and broad-bowled saucer-shaped stemmed champagne glass. The broader shape is said to give the champagne a fuller and more robust flavor.
In short: If you’re more interested in the nuances of your champagne’s flavor, or if you’re striving for an aesthetic inspired by 1930’s elegance, a coupe is for you. If the holistic sipping experience of shimmering bubbles flowing to the top and remaining oh-so-chill, opt for a flute.
Kathy’s Fave Champagne Selection: “I am a big fan of Pol Rodger when it comes to bubbles!”
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