Yacht Cru Wine Guide
To make the most of a wine some consideration in terms of glassware is necessary. The ideal wine glass is thin, clear and with a stem, it should be wider in the bottom and narrower at the top in order to avoid precious aromatics to go unnoticed.
Many yachts have designed exclusive cut crystal glasses of Baccarat and Christoffle and while being very beautiful some are not the ideal partner for wine. A good wine glass also needs to be of a certain size to allow aromas to develop properly; the size and type will depend on style of wine. Generally one only separate, sparkling, white wine, red wine and fortified or sweet but specialised companies, such as the Austrian glass manufacturer Riedel, has even different glasses for different grape varieties. On a yacht this would be highly impractical given storage issues. Never the less, a good set up of champagne glasses, white wine, red wine and fortified is strongly recommended.
In the 1930s it was custom to drink champagne from the “old style coup shaped ones” (said to have been formed after the breast of Marie Antoinette), this was glamorous and elegant and perhaps suitable for the Champagne at the time which was sweeter than today. Nowadays however, Champagne is a very elegant wine with many subtle aromas that would be lost in a wide glass. Also to make the mousse last as long as possible it is important to have a long narrower glass such as a Champagne flute.
White wines are generally lighter and more crisp than red wines and with more delicate flavours and they are also served cold. All this combined makes a medium sized glass suitable with a smaller bowl than for red wines and a narrow opening to focus aromas. In a big glass, the pour would be too large and the wine would loose freshness both in temperature and in aromas due to too much oxygen.
Here a big bowl is needed, with a wider mouth and enough height to the glass that you can give a half-full wineglass a good swirl without spilling. The reason for why a red wine needs a bigger glass is that more oxygen is needed for it to expose its full “personality”. Young red wines, filled with firm tannins can really soften up and aromatics evolve given some time in the glass.
Sweet wines and fortified wines are often served in a smaller glass. There are two reasons for this; most people think a large glass of a sweet wine is a bit much to handle and the high alcohol content, especially fortified wines, makes it unsuitable to serve it in a large glass. However, personally, I think a smaller white wine glass goes perfectly with sweet unfortified wines.
A few simple rules is good to keep in mind for taking care of your glasses. I have so far never come across a glass that can not be washed in machine and it would be unpractical not to and in my experience breakage is also higher when hand washing. As for detergent, some connoisseurs advocate using hot water alone, and some advice use of detergent. I have tried both and I can not feel any difference and it is easier with detergent so to me the choice is easy. Just make sure they are properly rinsed and always hold the glasses up to the light to check they are clean. Once washed let them drip dry if possible and then a quick polish will remove any water marks. For storage, make sure the cupboard is odour free, glasses quickly pick up smells from surroundings which in turn can alter the quality of the wine.