It’s both an art and science to shop for wine glasses. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to expand your collection, it’s important to find the right balance between utility and aesthetics. It’s not always easy to find the right balance between utility and aesthetics, given all the options on the market. We asked wine experts and sommeliers to help us pick the best red wine glasses.
Best Overall: Gabriel Glas “One for All”, StandArt Edition
Rafa Garcia Februaryles, beverage manager at Le Crocodile, New York, has a tried and true mantra for beginners in glassware shopping. He advises that you should experiment, explore and have fun. If you are just beginning, it is important to have the 12 best wine glasses to buy that allow you to appreciate the subtleties of great wine pours. However, don’t spend $60 on separate crystal glasses for each type of wine. Febles suggests that you choose a sturdy, versatile glass that can be used with many wines.
Gabriel-Glas’ “One for All” style is a favorite in the industry. Febles suggests that you start with the StandArt Edition. The Gold Edition is also available. He explained that a wine glass should have a wide bowl, thin glasses, and a stem. This allows for aromas to come out and gather. The stem also prevents your hands from warming the wine unnecessarily or releasing off-aromas.
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Best Stemless: Duralex Picardie Tumbler
James recommends the Duralex Picardie tumbler, her favorite stemless glass. It’s a versatile and reliable workhorse. These glasses are reliable and durable, she says, and they work well with brasserie wines. They are also affordable. She says, “This is my vehicle to enjoy a drink after a long day at work.” These tumblers have a tempered glass that is non-porous and can withstand impact and chipping. These compact, stackable tumblers can be used in both the dishwasher and microwave.
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Best Varietal-Specific: Riedel Veritas Pinot Noir Old World
Contrary to popular belief wine glasses that are specific to a varietal can sometimes be used for wines other than their intended purpose. Febles says that the Riedel Veritas Pinot Noir glass is a favorite of hers. It’s used at Le Crocodile to make Burgundies and other aromatic red wines. It’s beautiful to look at, beautifully balanced in your hands, and highlights aromas while keeping the wine’s structure intact.
These glasses are made to show fruit-forwardness, temper acidity and enhance aromas. Try them with a couple of Pinot Noirs (such red Burgundy, a varietal, or from California), and a Gamay to experience how they affect the wine’s nose and palate. These glasses can be washed in the dishwasher.
Best for Swirling: Schott Zwiesel Burgundy
Sur Lucero is an award-winning Master Sommier who advocates the flexibility of using specific stemware for varietals. He says, “You don’t have to follow the rules when it come to wine glass selections.” Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a Burgundy wine that I enjoy because it almost always has Grenache-based wines. Feldman says that “Burgundy glasses” are designed with wider rims and larger bowls to enhance the expressive, full-bodied red color and its smoothness.
A Burgundy glass is a staple in the cabinet of Lucero because it offers so many uses. Schott Zwiesel’s stemware is made of a unique break- and chip-resistant, dishwasher-safe crystal. The glasses can also be used to hold a variety wines, including Burgundy, Chianti and Lambrusco, Beaujolais Brunello, Chardonnay and Viognier.
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Best Value: Luigi Bormioli Crescendo Bordeaux
As a sommelier-in-training, one of my favorite brands for glassware is Luigi Bormioli. They make wine glasses, water glasses, and everything in between. I love their quality and they feel far more expensive than they are. For example, their Bordeaux glasses are one of the recommended wine glasses styles by Lucero (alongside Burgundy). A wide-bowled Burgundy wine glass should be accompanied by a Bordeaux glass. Bordeaux glasses are known for their steep sides and can cover most of your red wine consumption needs.
The glasses in Luigi Bormioli’s SON.hyx range are crystal clear and resistant to breaking and chipping. They can also be used in the dishwasher and come with a 25 year manufacturer’s warranty. They are lightweight and thin, which is a great feature for stemware. These glasses can be used for any Bordeaux, old or young, and any varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Malbec among others).
Best Set: Wine Enthusiast Fusion Air Complete Collection
Wine Enthusiast offers a great selection of wine glasses that can be used as a foundation for anyone starting from scratch. The 16-piece set includes four glasses in each of the following styles: Fusion Air Cabernet and Pinot Noir, as well as two universal styles. Feldman claims that these handmade, lead-free glasses are lightweight, dishwasher-safe, and break-resistant. Wine Enthusiast also offers a 10-year guarantee in the event that any of these glasses should ever break.