Ever wonder what’s up with all the different shaped champagne glasses? With holiday parties looming, this question always surfaces. Each shapes tells a history and purpose for their existence. Here’s the run down…
The Flute: The flute still finds the most prevalence on the table. It may not offer the most room for swirling and smelling the aromatics of a wine, but it sure does retain the most carbonation, allowing for a longer period of bubbles to stream from its base. Though most often seen in a long, tubular style, the trumpet offers another option (although more bubbles escape with this shape…and I find the chances of dribbling like a fool are greater). I would say for celebrations where lesser quality bubbles will be served, this is the glass you will want in peoples’ hands—more bubbles and people won’t be sniffing it out too much anyhow. (Note: if celebrating with wine geeks, you may change this selection of stemware.)
The Coupe: I love this shape for one reason only—it transports you to another place and time. Whether sipping Champagne in England in the 1600s, rubbing elbows with celebs post-Prohibition or dancing through the night at Studio 54 with a long cigarette holder in one hand, the shallow-bowled coupe was the way to go. Through the ‘60’s this was the choice glass for sparkling—the posh, hip stem to flaunt. Nowadays it has fallen out of popular favor. Not only does it cause bubbles to dissipate almost immediately, you can’t swirl them! They are fun for sure, but not quite practical.
The Tulip: If you didn’t know better, you may think this is a dessert or even white wine glass. Fairly slim at the base and wide in the stomach it becomes narrow once more at the mouth. This is the preferred glass for professional wine nerds. My recommendation is to not fill it to the brim—maybe halfway—so you can swirl and sniff to your hearts content and still retain some bubbles. Sparkling wine—especially Champagne—can offer some of the most complex, fascinating aromatics in the world of wine. To move right past them seems sacrilege! I know, the bubbles are fun, but while the tulip still lets you revel in some beautiful beading, it opens up your nose and mind to a whole other dimension you’ve possibly been missing up to this point!
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