I remember beautiful Rosé Glasses on my grandmother’s table. Gentle, delicate. They looked like shimmering rose petals.
But mostly I remember the first sip of wine I ever had. Right there at her dining table. I felt so grown up. I can almost taste it now. It was a lovely Rosé from the Languedoc — her favorite wine second only to her beloved Red Bordeaux.
Of course that was long before Rosé wine became popular in the United States. The Rosé phenonenon is a very new thing in America in spite of the fact Rosé has long been loved in France.
In years past, “pink wines” were frowned upon here and equated by many with that horrible old Boone’s Farm travesty that called itself wine. Rosé was relegated mostly to a paper cup with a few ice cubes. I shudder. Americans have a long history of negativity surrounding Rosé — the “pretend” wine, the “Barbie” wine, “wine-light” as I’ve heard it called by some Americans.
But in stark contrast, my memory of that first taste of really good Rosé — and the beauty of the rose-shaped glass — lingers fondly with me even today.
I didn’t realize for many years what my grandmother understood by heart. First, there are some really delicious Rosé wines. And second, using a true Rosé glass for Rosé wine makes all the difference in the world in its taste.
Fast forward to shopping for Rosé glasses in 2020.
A few years ago on an extended trip to France, my love of Rosé was rekindled thanks to wonderful friends in the southwestern wine country. I recognized the beautiful glasses they used because they looked just like I remember my grandmother’s Rosé Glasses.
On my return to the states I realized I didn’t have a glass appropriate for Rosé in my little wine glass collection. So I began experimenting with every glass I had to see which magnified the fruits and florals and subtle mineral salts of my growing list of “favorite” Rosés that I could purchase in the U.S.
But it just didn’t seem any of of my wine glasses were quite right. None of them were what I knew was the classic Rosé glass shape.
So I started scouring the market to find Rosé Glasses similar to what my French friends use on their table, ones like my grandmother’s.
And to my surprise, even with Rosé wine having a mini-Renaissance in America, the pickings for Rosé wine glasses were slim. And among the few I found that were marketed as Rosé Glasses, most of them were totally wrong for Rosé.
The traditional shape of Rosé glasses and research on the best shape.
Most wine lovers have at least heard of a company called Riedel, even if they haven’t shelled out a week’s paycheck for some of Riedel’s wine glasses. Unless you buy 4 or 6 stems at a time, most of Riedel’s wine glasses run close to $20 a stem. Some cost even more than that.
The quality of Riedel is undoubtedly at the top of the heap in the marketplace. I’m not even going to try to argue against that. They just are. So part of your money goes to quality of the glass. But what many people don’t know, a lot of the cost of a Riedel glass goes to research.
The traditional rose-petal shaped Rosé glass is a time-honored glass that works beautifully with many styles of Rosé. It is particularly well-suited to lighter Rosé wines typical of the ever-popular Provence or the less well known Rosé region of the Languedoc that lies north of Provence towards Paris.
But Riedel’s researchers — whether truly not satisfied with the classic shape or mostly in an endeavor to open a new line of revenue (please pardon my skepticism) — spent almost two years in glass trials to determine the best size and shape for Rosé Glasses.
What Riedel found was that the traditional rose-petal glass works exceedingly well for lighter Rosés.
But not for bigger Rosés like those from more northern climates.
Riedel’s research determined a sharper and more angular shape worked better for heavier Rosé wines from areas like Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Burgundy, northern Spain, Italy, and pretty much any Pinot Noir Rosés either from France or from northern California, Oregon, and Washington state.
Color me skeptical when I read their findings.
So of course, I had to experiment for myself.
Here’s what I found.
The traditional rose-shape Rosé Glass from Schott Zweisel (available on Amazon) is perfect for Rosé wines from Provence, the Languedoc, and Italian Abruzzo. It also is the best glass shape I have found for Portuguese and Spanish Vinho Verde wines — both the Vinho Verde Rosés and the Vinho Verde Whites.
It is surprisingly great for Sparkling Rosé and Rosé Champagne as well. It seemed to hold and magnify bubbles in these wines in a quite lovely way.
Oddly though, this glass really didn’t ring bells for us with Sparkling Whites. Go figure.
The more angular “NEW” Extreme Rose Glass from Riedel (available on Amazon) does enhance some of the more nuanced tastes in bigger Rosé wines like those from Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Burgundy. It is marketed specifically to be a crossover glass for Champagne as well as Rosé. So if you don’t have a good set of Champagne glasses, this glass can do double-duty for you. It’s pricey. But for some people the fact that it crosses over for two wines makes it worth the purchase.
The capacity of this glass is 11.5 ounces and it weighs 8.4 ounces.
Surprisingly, Riedel says the Extreme Rosé glass is dishwasher safe.
Although prices vary on Amazon from day to day, at the date of this post, you can pick up this glass for about $18 to $19 a stem if you purchase in a set of two and you search around to find the Riedel Store on Amazon rather than going through a 4th party vendor. If you purchase a set of four, the price drops to about $18 to $19 a stem. At least today. That may not be the price tomorrow.
[A note here. When I originally posted this article the first week of October, the Riedel was at least 30 percent more expensive than the competitor in the next paragraph. But in the last week of the same month, they are now equal in price on Amazon. It is important to be aware that prices on Amazon fluctuate often and sometimes greatly. The following review has been updated for the last week of October 2020.]
A similar shape to the angular Riedel Rosé glass, this Tritan Crystal glass from Schott Zweisel’s Pure Collection is available on Amazon. Although it is marketed by Schott Zweisel as a Sauvignon Blanc glass (which it is indeed perfect for), the size and dimensions almost exactly mirror the Riedel Rosé glass. And we found this a perfectly fine glass for taste.
About half of our tasters said they could not find a discernible taste difference between this glass and the Riedel, but the feel of the glass to the hand was coarser and heavier than the Riedel. It also has a slightly larger bowl capacity. So you need to take extra care to short pour in this glass to keep the temperature of your Rosé as cool as possible.
Other than being slightly heavier and larger, this glass definitely directs both the nez and bouche in a similar manner to the Riedel. But don’t expect to save a lot of money because at the time of this post, you could purchase this Schott Zweisel Pure glass on Amazon in a set of two for about $19 a stem. If you purchase a set of six, the price drops to around $11 a stem. So at least on the date of this post, the Riedel is almost the exact price of this Schott Zweisel, maybe even slightly less. For that price differential, the choice is a no brainer.
Of course, in the end, every wine glass today is measured against the Riedel. So Schott Zweisel’s matching Riedel’s price seems to us to be slightly arrogant when they are presenting the consumer with a heavier, clunkier glass.
But as I mentioned above, prices on Amazon change daily, sometimes hourly.
What that means to most American Rosé drinkers. And which glass to choose.
Although the market for Rosé in the U.S. has been growing in double digits every year for the past five years, the overwhelming favorite wine in the U.S. is Chardonnay, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. Americans far prefer Whites over Rosés, even with significant increases over the past few years in Rosé sales.
And it is important to note here that most Americans who drink Rosé wines prefer the lighter Provence-style pinks.
The bigger and fuller Rosés are still a relatively small part of the American marketplace.
These two things are opposite from wine sales and consumption in France, by the way.
The French prefer Rosé wines to White wines. But not just Provence Rosés. The diversity of Rosé wines styles in any wine shop or supermarket in France is huge. Almost every region in France that produces Red also produces Rosé. So French Rosé wine has a base of many different varieties of grapes. Each region has it’s unique terroir and taste. Some are even on the heavy side of medium-bodied.
I point out this American preference for light Provence-style Rosés because it impacts which kind of wine glass is probably best in your home.
So the first thing you have to do is to ask yourself how wide your Rosé palate is. And, as an aside, also ask yourself how often you drink Vinho Verdes (which, of course, most Americans do not at all). And then ask yourself how much you are willing to spend per glass.
For most Americans, who prefer lighter Provence Rosés, the traditional style Rosé glass is perfect for you. And there is a great one you will see on our list at the bottom of this article from the German glassmaker Schott Zweisel called the All Day Rosé glass. This traditional style of Rosé glass is quite a bit less expensive than the newer style from Riedel. And the bonus of the All Day Rosé glass, even beyond the nostalgia of the classic look, is that it is a perfect glass for Vinho Verde wines as well as for light Rosés. And as far as we know, there are no wine glasses designed specifically for Vinho Verdes wines, so this is a huge check mark if your palate extends to them.
The Schott Zweisel All Day Rosé glass will give you a big taste improvement on any Rosé you may drink. That we assure you. In fact, our friends who own an old family vineyard in Bordeaux use this exact style of glass for the Rosé wines they drink, even the fuller ones they make in Bordeaux.
But if you favor the larger more complex Rosé wines like those from Burgundy and Bordeaux and the Loire Valley and you don’t have a set of really good champagne glasses, you may want to splurge for the Reidel. Many reviewers seem to feel they display bigger Rosés better.
The truth is, either of these glasses is going to be a huge improvement over non-Rosé wine glasses.
But in the end, we probably will fall on the side with our French friends. And Grandmother.
So what is the ultimate verdict?
BEST GLASS FOR THE MONEY
But if your budget allows or you can shop the price & you prefer heavier Rosés,
BEST OVERALL ROSÉ GLASS
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If you are looking for a good Rosé at a bargain, we have some suggestions for you.
RECIPES THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST
(and that pair great with Rosé)