When we think about Champagne glasses it might be the classic flute that instantly springs to mind, but there are a range of options out there. Aside from the specific look and feel, their design will also transform the flavour of the Champagne and either increase or diminish your enjoyment of the wine in question.
Here we take a peek at a clutch of the classics and what they have to offer…
The most renowned Champagne glass; tall, slim and elegant, it’s the iconic vessel that we expect to see Champagne served in. The long stem allows the drinker to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the wine, while the tall, streamlined bowl allows for better appreciation and preservation of the bubbles – which is likely the reason for its rise in popularity. In spite of these factors, the flute is actually quite poor at capturing and holding aromatics and can make wines appear one-dimensional. So, whilst they are acceptable for less complex Champagne, at Sip, we tend to avoid them altogether.
The only wine glass we’re aware of that is rumoured to be modelled on a breast (Mary Antoinette’s left breast in particular), the coupe was actually designed and developed in England almost a century before the French Queen was born, and has fallen in and out of fashion for centuries. The broad bowl is the antithesis of the classic flute and, as such, develops the wine in a totally different way. The large surface area disperses bubbles and oxygenates the wine far more quickly, which makes Champagne softer and fruitier. It does, however, fail to hold on to the aromatics and is also far too easy to spill after a glass or two!
A shape more similar to that of a white wine glass; the Champagne tulip strikes the right balance between capturing the flavours and delicate aromatics of quality Champagne, whilst also holding carbonation and allowing an appreciation of the wine’s colour profile. As with wine glasses, tulips come in a range of styles, with wider or narrower bowls, which are sometimes broader at the base or at the top. Generally speaking, a narrow tulip works well with the majority of Champagnes, with larger tulips a better choice for complex, aged, vintage wines that have more body.
A note on materials…
Champagne glasses are made from either standard glass, lead crystal or lead-free crystal. Due to health concerns over leaded crystal, most high-quality glassware is now lead-free. Crystal trumps glass in both clarity and brilliance and it can also be made exceptionally thin, whilst retaining durability. This all allows for better appreciation of the wine’s colour and flavour, as there is less material interacting with your palate.
Our pick of the glasses…
As you can imagine, we’ve sipped from a fair few glasses in our time, but the one we’ve etched our name on (both figuratively and literally) is the Lehmann Jamesse Prestige Grand Champagne Glass. It’s the perfect choice to complement our superlative artisan Champagne.
A very thin rimmed glass works so well because what we appreciate as taste is affected by all the senses including sight and the feeling on the lip as we prepare to sip. Its very fineness prepares the brain to expect something very fine. I find that the Zalto sweet wine glass to be excellent for champagne. Maggie (CEO Krug) who tells me that she is "allergic"to flutes did appreciate this glass when I used it chez nous.