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Wine glasses at their best should be clear, and made from unadorned, uncut glass. Heavily cut crystal glasses, and glasses decorated with gold leaf, may be attractive in them selves, but they get in the way of the enjoyment and appreciation of wine. Coloured glass makes it impossible to judge colour. The best material for a wine glass is the finest crystal that cost and practicality allows. Crystal glass gives optimum clarity: its thin-ness means that your view of the wine is unimpaired.

This much is straightforward: what is harder to pin down scientifically is the enhanced tasting pleasure that a fine, thin glass gives compared to a thick-edged machine-made glass. Comparative tastings have left experts in little doubt that the fineness of the glass does contribute to our tactile and tasting enjoyment. But material is a lesser concern than shape or size, and many wine lovers avoid the inevitably costly fine crystal glasses because the worry of an expensive breakage impinges on the pleasure of the occasion.

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