Not all wine glasses are created equal. Whether you prefer white wine, red wine or a sparkling varietal, you’re going to want a vessel specifically designed for your vino of choice. And if you’re a red wine person, then you’ll likely want a balloon glass to drink it from.
Balloon glasses are ideal for reds because they have an especially large, almost balloon-shaped bowl. While the large bowl may seem like it’s just for large pours (or looks), its actual purpose is to let your wine breathe. It exposes more of the wine to the air, allowing the ethanol to evaporate and the tannins to soften. This accentuates the wine’s aroma and smooths its taste, making for a more satisfying sip. Chances are, you’ll also want a glass with a long stem so that your hand doesn’t affect the wine’s temperature.
In other words, if you love red wine, then you’re going to want to invest in a set of balloon glasses. Here are four of the best on Amazon.
1. Elixir Glassware Long-Stem Wine Glass Set
If you’re familiar with balloon glasses, then Elixir Glassware’s probably look exactly like what you’re envisioning. The brand’s gorgeous vessels have a large, 22-ounce bowl and an extra-long stem to really bring out the aroma of your favorite vintage. Each of the four glasses in the set is hand-blown, made from lead-free crystal and is durable enough to withstand frequent usage. Despite this, the brand still recommends that you wash each glass by hand, just to be safe.
2. Riedel Extreme Cabernet Wine Glasses
Riedel has built its name on producing some of the world’s most beautiful and effective wine glasses—and that’s especially true for red wines. The Austrian brand’s extreme Cabernet glasses have a beautiful, contoured shape that’ll look good either in the cabinet or in your hand. And even though they’re named for a specific varietal, they perform admirably with a wide range of reds. Despite their dramatic design, these vessels are also easy to clean, as their lead-free crystal is dishwasher safe.
3. Lenox Tuscany Classics Beaujolais Wine Glass Set
If you have a bottle of your favorite red that you want to share with some friends, then Lenox has the balloon glasses you’re looking for. The brand’s set comes with not two, not three, but four glasses. But this isn’t a case of quality over quantity, as Lenox makes a mighty fine vessel as well. Each Beaujolais glass has a large—but not too large—bowl and a long stem that are both break resistant. Despite this, you’ll still want to wash them by hand, as they’re made from lead crystal.
4. Waterford Classic Lismore Balloon Wine Glass
Waterford balloon glasses are perfect for those who want to invest in something a little fancy. While they’re far from the largest glasses on this list, they make up for it with their truly breathtaking design. The bowl on the brand’s vessels is more spherical than other balloon glasses and features the brand’s trademark diamond pattern carved into it. One thing to remember is that you’ll probably want to wash these crystal glasses by hand.