August 5th, 2013

Preferred glass shape for sparkling wine

I still remember when the Champagne coupe with the shallow wide bowl was de rigueur.

It was not that long ago when I enjoyed a sensational balanced still young 1988 Krug Vintage poured by the late Henri Krug at the late Thierry Manoncourt’s Chateau Figeac. The preferred vessel that evening was a lovely delicate antique Lalique coupe. The wine was fresh with lots of bubbles so the fact they dissipated quickly wasn’t crucial but the aromas were not focused in that glass shape.

Now the preferred shape seems to be the flute to retain that stream of tiny bubbles. However for me it works best where you are emphasizing the festive social occasion with perhaps a younger very cold Sparkling wine showing little if any complex developing bouquet to appreciate. Anyways it also is difficult for me to get my big nose right into that small opening of the flute glass. I now find myself continuing to prefer a more tulip shaped glass (even use your normal white wine glass) with a very thin lip to get the best out of the nose and taste. After all some experts are even recommending now decanting your Champagne so how important can those long time producing natural bubbles actually be! The bouquet and taste after all are the most important elements to fully appreciate – as they are for any wine.

Maybe we can get a straw poll going here as to those that appreciate flutes and those that prefer tulip shaped for bubbles. Express your opinion!

August 5th, 2013

4 Responses

  1. Alex Bielak says:

    thanks for the thought-provoking question. An experiment in the making next time we have a sparkler or visit one of our fine Niagara producers…

  2. Ian Westcott says:

    Hi Sid
    Like most wine styles the glass can make a great difference in the perception and appreciation of the wine. Champagne is no different.
    My preference all purpose glass for champagne is a large-ish tulip shaped glass in fine glass/crystal. However for the younger, vinous styles being produced by many of the small producers often a white wine glass works even better. However with more traditional styles and aged wines the white wine glass often lacks the precision for best appreciation. Money no object, I would have both Zalto champagne glass ( angular tulip) and white glass to cover both areas. One young gun producer, Cedric Bouchard, wishes to release his own design to best present his particular wines.

    I am not a huge fan of decanting champagne unless extremely young and overly effervescent however I do strongly believe for young, vinous and/or wood aged champagnes in opening them 30 – 60 minutes in advance of service and at a temperature not below 10oC – 50oF.

  3. I’ve always like the retro style champagne glasses better.

  4. I agree with Ian Westcott regarding the shape of the glass. I care more for the quality and complexity of the nose on Champagne than any other feature, and the tulip shape delivers this much better than the flute, and more focused than a white wine glass. Spiegelau makes a very nice glass in their “Adina Prestige” line.

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