Doesn't it drive you nuts when an over-generous host fills your glass right to the top? OK, if it's cheap wine and you're at a party and you're just knocking it back without noticing what you're drinking that may be fine, though I still think it's a bit thoughtless â€“ you might be driving home afterwards.
However, if there is good wine on the table, then why not get the best out of it? It is not a waste of money to spend Â£10, Â£20 on a bottle of good quality wine, but it is a waste if you don't treat it properly. It's like buying an expensive car and not getting it serviced, or buying expensive clothes and not looking after them. Back to glasses: good wine really doesn't taste that good if it is drunk out of paper cups; nor does it taste that good out of glass tumblers; it tastes best out of good glasses which have been designed for the job. I have the feeling often that people get all tangled up about wine snobbery and therefore decide determinedly to treat wine as unceremoniously as possible â€“ it's a free world, they can do that, but they're missing out on so much enjoyment. It really isn't showing off to take a bit of trouble â€“ in fact, not to take the trouble is plain Philistine, it's like going to a concert and chatting all the way through it.
Good glasses should have plenty of room in them, because a large part of the pleasure of drinking wine is smelling it, and if you pour a fairly small quantity into a glass with lots of room, it allows the aromas to collect in the rest of the glass. And here is the problem: if the glass is filled right to the brim you can't smell the wine properly, nor can you swill it round in the glass to release more smell.
What should you look for in a wine glass? First, it should be plain glass, not cut or patterned. Secondly, the glass itself should be thin and of good quality. Thirdly, the shape: it should open out at the base of the bowl so that there is the maximum surface area compared to the volume of liquid when the glass is between one third and one quarter full, thus allowing the aromas to emerge from the wine. And never fill the glass more than a third full.
There are a number of makers of high quality wine glasses. I personally favour Riedel, which, by an extraordinary coincidence, are on sale at Fingal-Rock!