After staying the same for a number of years, my best wine glass list has branched out and grown in the past twelve months. In addition to including the help of Mary Gorman, who is our wine expert over at The Kitchn, I've discovered a few beautiful new glasses - one of which is very modern for you modern lovers out there. Enjoy!
I can't drink wine out of a jelly jar anymore and enjoy it (unless I'm at a picnic or camping!). I've come to prefer the thin glass lip of real wine glass, along with the rounded bowl that allows you to smell the wine before you drink it (which is 1/2 the experience).
However, I am NOT (yet) the type of snob that requires a certain type of wine glass with my Pinot Noir and another glass for my Cabernet. We only have two kinds of glasses in our our house: one for white and one for reds, and when space doesn't allow for this, I recommend a well shaped white wine glass for everything.
Down below I've got my three basic rules, my most updated picks with great info from Mary (her whole post here), and down below our updated readers picks.
My Basic Rules
• Buy crystal glasses. Don't mess with pure glass.
• Ikea glasses are lovely and cheap but they always break.
• Don't buy decorative glasses or crazy shapes. They distract from the wine.
My Top Picks for 2010
I go for the Vinum Series and the O Series (stemless), but this is a great overview by Mary:
"While the Sommelier series is expensive (about between $70 - $100 per glass), it is exquisite to drink from and worth the investment if possible. With 24% lead crystal, these glasses are extremely fine yet strong and truly do bring out the best in a wine.
The Vinum series is also a wonderful glass but at $50 is also very much a special occasion glass. For special dinners I bring these out.
For everyday use Riedel has a 'beginner' series called Ouverture, which is lead-free glass and considerably cheaper. Ouverture is a great way to start out investing in good glassware. Cost is about $45-$50 for a set of four glasses."
The O Series
A regular in our house, I love these and now use them at home for everything. Small, because they have no stem, and lovely to drink out of, if you only have room for one wine glass, just get a white wine version of these.
"...we are hooked. My husband had been really pestering me to buy some O glasses, in an effort to de-clutter our kitchen cupboards from all the various stemware. While I had tasted wine from them on many occasions, I was still attached to my 'stem'.
Now we use them all the time. They nestle nicely in your hand, and really do not impact the temperature of the wine, as opponents suggest. And while they are fine, they are also sturdy. Even if you do knock against one, it might teeter a bit, but so far has never fallen over."
These guys are also great, but a bit more affordable than Riedel (they are also owned by Riedel!). Again, Mary says:
"Spiegelau is a very old and renowned glass manufacturer from Bavaria in Germany. Very fine and durable. Different ranges are made and my favorite is the Grandissimo range. Prices range from $45 to $60 for four glasses depending on the range."
Rosenthal & Schott Zweisel
These two companies are also more affordable than Riedel but great glasses. Mary says that when choosing these it really depends on your personal preference. She also says that her favorite after Riedel is Forte Triton by Schott Zwiesel: "They are much stronger than regular glass, as they contain titanium. A set of six white or red wineglasses costs about $75. Really very good value for the quality."
>> Schott Zwiesel
I wasn't so sure about these guys for a long time, but have come to think of them fondly as modern classics. It's really hard to change something as traditional as the wine glass, but I believe that Iitalla nad Alfredo Haberli have done it.
>> Iittala Essence Collection by Alfredo Haberli
Another great possibility that I came across this year is the Mami Collection by Alessi, which is more classically rounded, but much more contemporary. For stemless and everyday drinking, I particularly recommend the Mami Acquavit glass, which is a really nice, small fellow that fits nicely in hand.
>> Alessi Mami Collection by Stefano Giovannoni
Top Picks from Readers
Joolzie recommends Riedel Vinum:
"Riedel Vinum all the way for me, even though my butterfingered husband broke a few before i laid down the law and said i was going to wash them henceforth."
Amy 60622 recommends Spiegelau:
"I've been the manager of Porte Rouge table & home on Division Street in Chicago for five years and I love Spiegelau personally and professionally. The glasses are sturdy, wine correct form, affordable, dishwasher safe and the company has been in business since 1521 or so. Not bad!"
Kim Grant recommends Schott Zwiesel at Pottery Barn:
"You didn't include the reason why a thin lipped glass is preferable for wine (or any beverage for that matter). Thick rims encourage one to suck the beverage into the mouth instead of pouring. Try it out and you'll see that this affects the way the flavor hits your palette."
Nicole recommends Riedel for Target Red Wine Glasses
"I recently bought the Riedel for Target Red Wine Glasses and I have found them beautiful, sturdy, and delightfully thin-lipped. Plus they're made of crystal! I'll never drink wine from a tumbler again."
Heather recommends Villeroy & Boch's 'Torino' crystal wine glasses
"We use Villeroy & Boch's 'Torino' crystal wine glasses. They're super basic, yet elegant. And strong. Looks like the Macy's users agree!"
Jason recommends Schott Zwiesel
You should consider adding Schott Zwiesel stemware to your short list.
I've used glasses from the Pure, Fortissimo, and Diva lines, and have never been disappointed. I first encountered Schott stemware at Slanted Door a few years ago. The company uses titanium and zirconium in the glass-making process to produce stronger, more break-resistance glassware. And I believe their glasses are lead-free, but I'm not sure if that's correct, and what that might mean in terms of consumer- and factory worker-health concerns.
Ivan recommends Bed Bath and Beyond wine glasses
Bed Bath and Beyond has a cheap set of four well-shaped wine glasses that work decently for both reds and whites. I've had them for almost 8 years and they've not broken (they also survived two moves). I only wish my more expensive and larger red wine glasses fared as well...
Need good wine glasses? Here are my recommendations, updated for 2010. Got your own? Email me at maxwell @ apartmenttherapy.com and put WINE in the subject header.