The wine glass as we know it today, transparent and with a stem to hold it elegantly and without warming up the wine, arrived in France from Italy in the 17th century and replaced the metal cup forever.
Over the years, many wine regions in France have designed their own glasses, with distinctive shapes, to enjoy the local wines. Follow me across the country to enjoy this very special wine glasses’ « Tour de France » !
The Bordeaux glass
Let’s start with the most famous of all, the Bordeaux glass. It has a wide bowl, which enables more oxygen contact with the wine and smoothes out the tannins from the Cabernet sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Its rim is narrower and concentrates the aromas towards the nose.
The Anjou glass
In 1913, the Anjou wines’ union launches a contest to create a unique glass, suitable to enjoy the semi-dry white wines from Anjou, a historical wine region located in the Loire Valley. In 1914, the shape was found, and the glass started to be manufactured in 1918, after WWI.
The Parisian bistro « ballon » glass
With its short stem and balloon-shaped bowl, this glass is an indissociable feature of the traditional Parisian bistro. Sit at the counter, ask the waiter « un p’tit rouge, s’il vous plait ! » and enjoy the wine while chatting with your neighbor about the weather or recent political affairs.
The Champagne « coupe »
The legend goes that the first champagne coupe was moulded on Madame de Pompadour’s breast, who was Louis XV’s chief mistress in the middle of the 18th century. Others say that it was instead moulded one hundred years later, on Marie-Antoinette’s breast, Louis XVI’s wife.
The Champagne « flûte »
Today, the Champagne coupe is not used anymore, since it was accused of quickly dismissingthe sparkling wine’s effervescence and aromas. Instead, another glass was introduced in the middle of the 19th century, with a longer and narrower shape, named after the instrument « flûte ».
The Alsace glass
If you have already been to Alsace, you have probably noticed the beautiful green colour of the local wine glass’ stem. Its origins trace back to the 19th century, when the local wines would be produced in massive quantities and would show green reflections from the lack of ripeness of the grapes. Winemakers could then blame it on the glass’ stem, instead than on the wine itself.
The Burgundy glass
In order to enhance the complex and intense wines from Burgundy and to bring out their full aromatic potential, a much wider glass was designed. It enables an important oxygenation of the wine, ideal for the delicate Pinot Noir or Chardonnay based wines.
The Cahors glass
Cahors is a wine region located in the South-West of France, producing powerful red wines made primarily with the grape Malbec and has designed its own glass in 1998. It has a ring in the middle of its stem, symbolizing the link between the soil and the drinker.
The next time you open a nice bottle of wine, make sure you chose the appropriate glassware to enjoy it to the fullest !
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