Spring is the perfect time to pop open a bottle of Champagne. With Easter and Mother’s Day on the horizon, we might as well call it Brunch Season (with Wedding Season hot on its heels.) People often wonder about what is the best champagne or sparkling wine, but seldom do you hear about which glass is the best for your bubbly. It got me wondering about which is the best glass for Champagne.
The popularity of Mad Men has created an interest in all things vintage and retro, including the coupe Champagne glass. The vintage redux coupe has been showing up at many a soiree, and while it’s fun and flirty, it isn’t the best for your bubbles.
So why isn’t the coupe the best way to drink your Champagne or sparkling wine? In the simplest terms, your sparkly bubbles burst too quickly. Coupes are shallow and wide, which allows CO2 to rise and dissipate over the wide surface area very quickly. You have only a few minutes to enjoy your Champagne at its bubbly best. Champagne without bubbles is just still wine, and in the shallow coupe it can become still, warm wine very quickly.
The flute is much better for your bubbles. Because the glass is tall and narrow it has a smaller surface area. This slows down the loss of CO2, so your bubbles last longer and your Champagne stays cooler. Those things are good, right? Definitely. However, Champagne is wine, and wine is complex and needs air to fully develop its flavor. There is not much room to do that with a flute.
According to winemakers at Chandon, Roederer, and Taittinger, neither the coupe or the flute allows the wine to fully express its aromatic qualities. They recommend the tulip glass. The tulip glass is tall, but curves outwards to within a couple inches from the mouth, then curves inwards to the mouth. This design allows a little more space for swirling, and focuses the aromatics more towards the nose.
Finding the right glass is a bit more challenging than finding the right shape, but there are beautiful glasses to fit any budget.
1. Zwiesel 1872 The First Champagne Wine Glass
2. Dorset Champagne Coupe
3. Kate Spade New York Darling Point Crystal Champagne Glasses
4. Carl Rotter Champagne Flute
5. Chateau Baccarat Champagne Flute
6. Waterford Elysian Coupe Clear Champagne Glasses
7. Lalique 100 Points Champagne Glasses
On the higher end of the scale is this beautiful Saint Louis Bubbles flute, each one of which requires up to five days’ work, involving the skills of eight craftsmen to produce the shape and five more to complete the cutting. They retail for about $300 each.
You can also get beautiful stemware and Champagne glasses at stores like Sur la Table, Crate and Barrel and even at Target. Just as there is Champagne for every taste and budget, so too with glasses. What’s your favorite?