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Will a bigger glass make my Christmas wine taste better?

BY Nigel Barden

1st Jan 2015 Drinks

Will a bigger glass make my Christmas wine taste better?

Choose the right glass and your Christmas wine will taste even better. Here's why.

All drinks taste better out of the right vessel. I once served the same red wine—a Rioja—in three different glasses, to a group of eight men and women, asking them to describe the contents of the three glasses. 

None of them guessed that the wine came from the same bottle, and no one chose the wine in the Paris Goblet (the smallest of the three—normally overfilled) as their favourite. Seven of the eight said the best-tasting wine was served in the largest glass (a third full)—a handmade crystal number from Georg Riedel, an Austrian glass-making wizard. 

We drink with our eyes—and clearly think that the wine in the largest glass is the poshest and most expensive. What’s really intriguing, though, is that when I blindfolded the drinkers, I got similar results—but with more spillage! 


The fact is that using larger glass, a third filled, allows the wine to breathe and increases the aroma. Crystal glass is better, too—because it’s thinner, you’re more aware of the delicacies of the wine rather than the thickness of the glass. Cut glass is invariably too thick. Larger, more delicate glasses are particularly recommended for red wines.

You’re likely to break a few as the years go by, but the improved drinking experience makes it worth the extra dosh.

Claim your £60 voucher from our partners at Naked Wines.

Nigel Barden is the food and drink presenter on Simon Mayo’s show on BBC Radio 2, and chairman of the Great Taste Awards.