Habata Agri’s farming operations at Le Grand Chasseur in Robertson have a range of red and white varieties and in this article we examine the ideal drinking options for capturing their aromas.
The shape of the glass plays a significant role in ensuring wine-lovers can fully enjoy the taste of their preferred wine.
Carel Botha, winemaker at Habata, says while tastes differ and some may not be too concerned about this aspect, wine connoisseurs have opted for the bulbous glass as the most effective shape for getting the best from your wine.
“This is why at wine estates or tasting rooms you will notice that the glasses are mostly bulbous-shaped,” he said. “This is the best shape for perceiving the intense aroma bouquet for the majority of wine styles.”
But there is a difference in that white wine glasses have a typically smaller head space than those for red wine.
This is to keep the bouquet, which is less intense than in the case of red wines, concentrated for a longer period of time.
Studies have shown that bulbous glasses lead to the aromas being perceived as much more intense than tulip or beaker glasses.
For red wines the beaker-shaped glass was found pleasing in some studies, while for white wines the bulbous glass was rated as most liked.
However, the most widely used are bulbous glasses for both red and white wines, just with an altered size.
Botha said the shape of the glass did not affect the taste of the wine, but the thickness would influence the way in which one perceived it.
“This is not related to taste but rather the feel of the glass against the lips. A thinner glass encourages the perception of a much more delicate and exclusive wine, while thicker glasses suggest a cheaper wine.”
The stem of the glass also plays an important role in enjoying your wine because it ensures that the wine does not warm up too quickly in the hand, giving you time to enjoy the wine.
This is more relevant for white wines and sparkling wines since they are served colder.
Alcohol also becomes volatile at higher temperatures, so if the wine heats up quickly the alcohol will mask the natural wine bouquet.
Another aspect of drinking wine is just how much to pour into a glass.
At a wine estate or tasting room it is said that the perfect amount is just enough so that when the glass is tilted to lie on its side on a horizontal surface the wine should not spill.
However, this is just to ensure that the tasting room staff do not pour too much wine for the clients.
The bottom line is that the glass should be filled to a level where it is still easy to swirl the glass vigorously without spilling.
Being able to swirl a glass of wine is important since wine aroma is volatile.
This means that after a few minutes it may lose some of its smell, but, when swirled again, some of the aroma trapped within the glass will be released for your enjoyment.
A suggestion for any wine lover is to experiment with glass shapes and sizes to find which works best for which wines and which occasions.
The shape of the glass will affect the intensity of the natural wine bouquet but will not alter the taste of the wine and, therefore, your liking of a specific wine.
It is also said that the difference in wine aroma due to the shape of the glass can only be perceived by persons with a trained sense of smell.
So if your guest is a wine connoisseur it is better you serve the wine in the recommended glasses to enhance the aroma.
But if they are just friends wanting to have a good time you should feel free to reach for your favourite shape and enjoy!