The shape and design of a wine glass, when matched to a specific wine, will allow the right amount of air to reach the liquid for the best flavor and aroma. Rose wine glasses are designed specifically for rose wine, a pinkish wine that typically is lighter or sweeter than most standard red or white wines. There are generally two types of glasses experts consider the best for rose wines: stemmed glasses that usually have a short bowl and a slight taper, and those with a short bowl and a slightly flared lip. Other possible varieties include glasses made from glass or crystal that is plain; colored; or decorated with paint, cut glass or etched designs.
Rose wine, often called blush wine in North America, starts out with grapes used for red wine. The grape skins are removed early in the process, leaving only a slight hint of color. This prevents it from becoming a red wine and gives it more tint than a white. Rose wine ferments in a similar way as white wine, so white wine glasses are generally considered acceptable to use if rose wine glasses are not available. Fans of these pinkish wines may prefer a thin-walled rose glass that gets cold quickly.
Choosing wine glasses for rose wine is not much different than choosing any other type of wine glass. Stemware is far and away the preferred glass for any kind of wine, with large bowls and openings for red and thinner bowls with more tapered openings for white. Rose wine glasses usually have a shorter bowl than either of these types of glasses. A slightly curved design that flares out a little at the lip is the style usually preferred for rose wines that are younger, crisper and less sweet than the more mature varieties.
The flared lip design lets the wine run out of the bowl and right onto the tip of the tongue where the taste buds are most sensitive to sweetness. This allows whatever sweetness is in the wine to be enhanced, giving crisp wines a more balanced flavor and minimizing any bite. Fine rose wine that is mature and has a more full-bodied flavor, however, is typically matched with the style that does not have the inward-curving bowl and flared lip. The bowl for mature rose wines is still short and rounded at the bottom, but shaped almost like a shortened red wine glass with a very slight taper.
Wine glass shapes are not the only possible variation in rose wine glasses, though they are probably the most important for subtle taste differences. Both clear and colored glasses are available, and choices also exist between plain glasses and those that have decorations, patterns and personalized designs. Most wine enthusiasts prefer clear crystal glasses that show off the pink, orange or even purple blush of the rose, with nothing to distract from the color or taste.