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Shopping for wine glasses is both an art and a science—whether you're just starting out or adding to an existing collection, you’ll want to find that sweet spot between aesthetics and utility. This isn’t always so easy, especially given the countless options available on the market, from varietal-specific glasses to all-purpose glasses, not to mention specialty styles for sparkling wines and the like. The broad category of reds is no exception, so we asked sommeliers and wine experts to weigh in on their picks of the best red wine glasses.
Best Overall: Gabriel-Glas “One for All” StandArt Edition
Rafa García Febles, beverage manager and sommelier at Le Crocodile in New York, has a tried-and-true mantra for beginners when glassware shopping. “Experiment, explore [and] have fun," he says. “If you're just starting out, you want to make sure you have a glass that lets you appreciate the nuances of a great pour, but don't break the bank on separate $60 crystal glasses for each style of wine." One way to go about this, according to Febles, is to opt for a durable, all-purpose glass that works with a wide variety of wines.
One industry favorite is the Gabriel-Glas “One for All” style. Available in two quality levels, the StandArt Edition and the Gold Edition, Febles recommends trying the former first: “[This glass] will show a lot of different styles near their best, allowing you to explore and develop your palate before committing to more specialized glassware." He explains, “Generally, you want a glass with a wide bowl, thin glass and a stem: the bowl allows aromas to emerge and gather, thin glass allows the wine to flow easily into your mouth, and a stem prevents your hand from unnecessarily warming the wine or contributing off-aromas from whatever you've been touching.” Offering all of the above, this wine glass is also made from lead-free crystal and molded in a machine.
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Best Splurge: Zalto Denk’Art Universal
Zalto's Denk’Art Universal Glass is perfect for those who are serious about wine at any level: "It's an ideal way to enjoy wine without the frivolity that comes with over-designed stemware," says Victoria James, legendary sommelier and beverage director at Cote in New York. "The thin lips allow for maximum wine intake, and the bowl is an ideal platform to enhance all types of wines. Also, [it’s] much more durable than it looks—I even run them in my dishwasher.” Christine Collado, general manager of Parcelle in New York, is also an advocate for this glass. “I use [these glasses] most often," she says. "They're sleek and good for just about anything.”
Michelle Feldman, sommelier and co-founder of Good Clean Wine, fell in love with this glass at a wine tasting and has never looked back. “I was immediately attracted to the delicate, hand-blown stem and super thin rim of the glass,” she says. “From the first sip of red wine in a Zalto, I sensed luxury from my fingertips to my lips.”
All of Zalto’s glass designs are also inspired by the Earth’s tilt angles—a technique used for food and drink vessels in ancient Rome as a means of improving taste and maintaining the integrity of their contents.
Best Stemless: Duralex Picardie Tumbler
If you’re looking for a versatile workhorse, James recommends her go-to stemless glass, the Duralex Picardie Tumbler. According to her, these glasses are durable, reliable, and great for brasserie-style wines. Plus, they won’t break the bank. “This is my vehicle for a tipple at the end of a long workday,” she says. The tempered, non-porous glass of these tumblers is impact- and chip-resistant, and it’s designed to withstand sudden temperature changes—meaning if you make an espresso and want it iced, you can stick it in the freezer while hot and the glass can easily handle it. These space-saving, stackable tumblers are also dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
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Best Varietal-Specific: Riedel Veritas Old World Pinot Noir
Contrary to popular belief, varietal-specific wine glasses can sometimes work well for wines outside of their intended use. “I'm a big fan of the Riedel Veritas Old World Pinot Noir glass that we use at Le Crocodile for Burgundies and other aromatic reds,” says Febles. “It's gorgeous to look at and beautifully balanced in your hand, and it highlights aromas while preserving the wine's structure.”
These glasses are designed to showcase fruit-forwardness, temper high acidity, and enhance aromatics—try them with a few different Pinot Noirs (such as red Burgundy or a varietal from California) and a Gamay to see how they influence the wine on the nose and palate. These glasses are made from crystal and are dishwasher safe.
Best for Swirling: Schott Zwiesel Burgundy
Sur Lucero, an award-winning Master Sommelier, advocates using varietal-specific stemware flexibly. “You don’t always have to play by the rules when it comes to your wine glass choices,” he says. “For example, I typically enjoy Châteauneuf-du-Pape from a Burgundy glass because it is almost always Grenache-based." Feldman adds, “[Burgundy glasses] are shaped with larger rims and bowls specifically to enhance the full-bodied, powerful, expressive complexity of red and accentuate its minerality and smooth character.” Plus, these glasses are excellent for swirling.
For Lucero, a Burgundy glass is a cabinet staple thanks to its versatility. This stemware set by Schott Zwiesel is made from a proprietary break- and chip-resistant crystal and is dishwasher safe. Even more, the glasses can accommodate a variety of wines in addition to Burgundy (think Sangiovese, Chianti, Lambrusco, Beaujolais, Brunello, Chardonnay, Viognier and more).
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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. I use their water glasses, wine glasses, you name it—they are of excellent quality and feel much more expensive than what they actually cost. Take their Bordeaux glasses, for example, one of the wine glass styles Lucero recommends (along with Burgundy). He says that a wide-bowled Burgundy glass, when accompanied by a great Bordeaux glass (generally known for having highly sloped sides), should cover most of your red wine drinking needs.
Glasses within Luigi Bormioli’s SON.hyx collection are crystal clear, resistant to chipping and breaks, are dishwasher safe, and come with a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty. Best of all, they’re thin and lightweight, which is important for stemware in general. Use these glasses for any Bordeaux, young or old, as well as any and all of the varietals that go into it (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, among others).
Best Oversized: NUDE Stem Zero
Feldman points out that a wider bowl and brim can bring sweetness and fruity notes to the forefront when a wine’s alcohol content is over 13 percent. “The bigger and bolder or the older the red wine, the larger I want the bowl of the glass to be,” she says. "I feel like it helps calm a big, bold red down, to aerate it, and open the wine up."
Lucero wholeheartedly agrees: "I prefer to have my face fairly close to the wine itself, and I don’t like having my nose cut off—especially with more fine and delicate wines." He adds, "I also favor a glass with a fairly large, open space to view the wine without glass getting in the way."
From contemporary glassware brand NUDE, this large wine glass is perfect for these purposes. The Stem Zero glasses are handmade from lead-free crystal protected by the brand’s ultra-tough Ion Shielding Technology. They can also hold up to 32 ounces of your favorite red.
Best Set: Wine Enthusiast Fusion Air Complete Collection
Wine Enthusiast’s collection of wine glasses is a perfect foundation for those starting from scratch. This particular set of 16 features four glasses each of the following styles: Fusion Air Cabernet, Pinot Noir and two universal styles. According to Feldman, these lead-free, handmade glasses are lightweight, dishwasher safe and break-resistant. Best of all, Wine Enthusiast offers a 10-year warranty on the off chance that any of these glasses break.
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Céline Bossart is a red wine obsessed French person who has been writing about drinking for the majority of her career. When it comes to glassware, she does not mess around, and neither do the experts with whom she consults.