Stemless glassware is all the rage these days – up there with pumpkin-spice lattes, man buns, yoga pants, and kale chips. Meanwhile, the wine enthusiasts of the world have warned us that touching the bowl of the glass leaves visually impairing smudges and warms the wine, and that’s, well, BAD.
So the minimalist-glassware movement has many wine drinkers wondering, and rightly so, “is this… Ok?”
Here’s the deal: Wine does have an ideal temperature – where it sings its most glorious tune, and its flavors are in prime form (see this post for the skinny on temps). But for the majority of wine drinkers, and in the majority of situations, wine is about so much more than wine clarity and distinct flavor profiles. It is about trying something new and experiencing the moment for all it is. And the wine is merely part of that.
As it turns out, despite leaving behind a few fingerprints, heat transfer from occasional glass handling is pretty miniscule. Unless you are palming the glass over an extended time (which is a good trick for warming up wine right out of the Sub-Zero), it is debatable that the heat transfer from your fingertips makes any more impact on the wine than the temperature of the room or the length of time since the glass was poured.
And that’s assuming your wine was poured at the proper temperature in the first place.
So the real question is, actually: What is most comfortable for you? Is giving your wine a few swirls easier with a stem or without?
If you decide to go stemless and want to preserve the wine’s temperature as much as possible, try to leave significant room in the glass and hold it closer to the top. Also, limit your swirls to a few good ones, just enough to release the aromas.